You wouldn't expect the busiest pizza place in town to be the one that doesn't deliver, doesn't accept credit cards, and fails to have a customer-friendly demeanor, but Sal's in Mamaroneck, NY is hands-down the best pizza joint for miles. The competition is fierce, as just within two blocks of this establishment are no fewer than three pizza-dishing restaurants.
So how does a place become the unequivocal leader, the ultimate brand pace-setter? How can authors separate themselves from the pack in a similar fashion?
I don't even think Sal's advertises anywhere. It simply makes great pizza and its word-of-mouth has spread -- pun intended. They let their product be their spokesperson.
If you write a great book, that is the basis for getting raving fans. Without that, what word-of-mouth is being spread?
Now food and books are very different. You need food to live. Books may seem like your lifeblood but theoretically you can survive without books-- or can you?
Consuming food becomes a public experience, whereas reading books is more of a private thing.
Pricing varies wildly on food, from a slice costing two-and-a-half bucks to fifty-dollar dishes at high-end restaurants. Books are not expensive and digital books are dirt-cheap.
Whenever I talk to people about restaurants and pizza, almost everyone agrees Sal's is the best. This popularity is validated every time I wait on a line that often is out the door at Sal's. But many will also comment about the attitude its staff seems to take. They have a chip on their shoulders. You would think it is a negative, and one friend tells me he refuses to eat there because of their blatant disregard for the paying customer, but I think Sal's thrives in part because they remind you in their own way that their food is so good that they can practically tell you to get lost.
Remember Seinfeld's Soup Nazi? Welcome to the Pizza Nazi.
I think all aspiring authors should take a trip through the door at Sal's and see firsthand how to build a brand -- and enjoy a slice or two or three of the greatest pizza in Westchester.
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