Zen and the Art of Paperback Marketing

For my birthday I received an adult colouring book. I am fully seized of the benefits of adult colouring and feel no need to explain or justify it; however the author of the book may have felt such a need as a long list of qualifications succeeds her name, prompting OH to comment: ‘How many qualifications do you need to make a colouring book?’ before adding, ‘she probably felt she wouldn’t be taken seriously otherwise.’ That’s almost certainly true, but what struck me was the tag at the bottom saying ‘a zen colouring book.’

How is it zen? I’m not even sure I know what zen means – I suspect it’s one of those words which, if you think you understand, it you don’t – but I’m wondering in what way this is a zen colouring book as opposed to a non-zen colouring book? What particular qualities does it have that make it so? At first glance I can’t discern any, nor did the introduction give any clue. This does not, of course, make it any the less fun or beneficial, nor am I disputing that colouring can be a deeply meditative process, but zen? Hm.

One of the most disappointing books I’ve read is ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.’ Being at the time both passionately interested in motorbikes and also wanting to find out more about meditation, I seized a copy as soon as I could lay my hands on one, but was sorry to find little in it of either topic. It seems that zen is just a handy marketing term for something a little off-beat, hippyish or related to spirituality in a vague sort of way (and Robert Persig sure was vague*.)

Anyway whether it’s zen or non-zen, unzen or dezen, it’s a good colouring book, and that is enough. More of this anon and how it contributes to the writing process. In the meantime have a very happy Monday, stay cool if it’s hot where you are and don’t forget Wimbledon starts today! And Andy is playing again, as is Johanna Konta, so be prepared for a lot of match reports.

Yay!

*to be fair, he does say so himself, but I still think it’s a highly self-indulgent book

Kirk out.

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7 thoughts on “Zen and the Art of Paperback Marketing

  1. I thought the same about the motorcycle book. I couldn’t figure out why others were recommending it. The author just kept repeating the same things. I think the title alone made it famous.

  2. Maybe saying something is Zen is akin to saying something is such-and-such flavoured, when it doesn’t actually contain that thing it implies… one of those marketing tricks. Or it’s just a buzz-word. I recently partook in the colouring of a colouring mat. It was intended for children but I was trying to discourage one such child from straying from the lines and ending up colouring in the carpet, which he seemed intent on doing, leading the parent of said child from being anything but zen about it.

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