The Cranky Agnes Logo and Other Ways To Exploit You

Mara Lubell does it again:

Cranky Agnes 2 Color Logo

Isn’t she the greatest? Both Agnes and Mara.

So the idea was to use this on the website and also on aprons as gifts within the industry, and then Mollie said, “Put it on merchandise and sell it,” and I thought, Ouch, exploiting fans. Except people are asking if there’s a Cranky Agnes apron as soon as they read the scene where she puts it on (beta readers, the book won’t be out until August) so is that still exploiting?

And I’d been thinking about other things, too, just for fun. Like a bumper sticker that says “Tucker for Mayor, More of the Same,” which given the way many readers feel about Phin and the dock scene, has that nice double meaning to it. And an advertising calendar from the Goodnight Gallery with one of Tilda’s paintings on it. Things that might have been in the books, fun things.

I don’t know why that seems less exploitive than a T-shirt with a bookcover on it. I’d still be charging for the stuff over on CafePress and making money, albeit not raking in the big bucks. Maybe because it wouldn’t be such blatant advertising? We’re going to do a T-shirt over there for the HWSW workshop definitely (“Nothing but good times ahead” on the front and “We’re doomed” on the back which pretty much describes the mental state of writers), but that’s another “real” thing, you get T-shirts when you go to writers’ conferences.

I can see Zelda’s business logo on the T-shirts her employees wear to work in, especially if we come up with a business name that’s really fun (I know Mara will come up with a logo that’s fun). Part of me loves the idea of making things from the book real, and part of me is still saying, “Ouch, exploiting fans.”

I think I like the idea of this stuff so much because it extends the world of the book into the real world. You get the Goodnight Gallery Calendar because you’ve been to the Goodnight Gallery. You wear the Cranky Agnes Mob Food apron because you’re a Cranky Agnes fan, not because I’m selling Agnes and the Hitman. I know, it’s a fine distinction, but I think that’s why it feels like play to me instead of promotion, even though it’s blatantly promotion.

So we’re cogitating on this and we’re probably going to do it. But I do want to know what you think of it all. Does the fact that the things we’re thinking about selling all come from inside the book instead of outside it (bookcovers, etc) make it different? Can you think of anything else that would be fun? Because if we’re going to do this, I want to do things that will make people smile when they see them, bring back the stories for them. It can’t be a T-shirt that says, “Buy everything Jenny Crusie ever wrote RIGHT NOW.”

Although that would be a damn fine T-shirt.

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114 thoughts on “The Cranky Agnes Logo and Other Ways To Exploit You

  1. Okay, Mara *is* the utter best, completely genius, and that’s why I want the Cranky Agnes apron. (Plus, that’s how I look on the inside most days, so…)

    So, no exploitation here.

    That’s the thing: If these are cool things in their own right, then it’s not exploiting fans, it’s offering them cool reminders of things they love.

  2. Uh, exploiting the readers would be where you hold a gun to our heads and MAKE us buy things. As it is, I think stuff from your books would be a hoot. I’d definitely buy a “Nothing but good times ahead” tee shirt.

    Lately I’ve been lamenting that only lame children’s shows do merchandising, and I can’t find fun stuff from GOOD shows for anything. It’s the same way with books. Be the first fun author to offer some book tie-ins. (There. It’s not merchandising. It’s a tie-in. Perception is everything.)

    And may I request a tee shirt reading “If you can’t be a good example, you’ll just have to be a horrible warning.” Perhaps with some fanged animals around the edges.

  3. YAY!! i think those are great ideas! i am just starting to cook (because i’m away at school) and i would love a Cranky Agnes apron. the logo is amazing! i also really like the bumper sticker idea because i LOVE that book! and no, i don’t think it would be exploiting your fans, because all of these things are important aspects of the book and will remind us why we love to read them! and they are definately way better ideas than a t-shirt with the book cover, even though your book covers are beautiful. ok, i’m gonna go and read Manhunting which i just bought!

  4. Hi Jenny,

    I don’t think it’s exploitive because I’d love to have a “Tucker for Mayer…” bumper sticker on my car–particularly because I always have political stickers on my car and having Phinn’s (& Sophie’s) sticker up there with the rest would make me giggle–and confuse others. I love the workshop t-shirt phrases too. Yes, Perfect for writers.

    The only suggestion I have is that you offer some t-shirts in the fitted girly style. The boxy unisex t-shirts are a problem for hippy girls like me. I need a Med from the waist up and an XL for my hips. I either have to cut it off or swim in the top half. Baby T’s please? They are not just for skinny teenagers. 🙂

    Oh, and what about dog t-shirts? 🙂 They have those on Cafe press a lot.

    Kim, pondering the other Crusie merchandise possibilities…

  5. Do it. Readers will love it, no one will feel exploited. On the contrary, it’ll feel like a treat, something special that only those who have read and loved the books will appreciate. TelevisionWithoutPity does this for shows they cover — bumper stickers and T-shirts and mugs with inside jokes from the shows. I think they’re great, and yours are even more fab with the gorgeous Mara logos.

  6. If you’re taking requests, I would love to see prints of Daisy’s paintings from The Cinderella Deal! I think taking things from the books and making them real is a wonderful idea.

  7. I have looked EVERYWHERE (okay, not everywhere, but lots and lots of places) for an apron with a fun saying on it and haven’t found anything I like, so a Cranky Agnes Apron would be perfect, even if I didn’t love reading your books. That’s a wicked logo you’ve got there! (Wicked’s still good, right? I’m not from Boston.)

    Your ideas are fabulous and I don’t think they are exploitative at all. I don’t think a Tucker bumper sticker would even make sense to anyone who hasn’t read WTT, but anyone who loves the book would love the bumper sticker. It’s like an inside joke that’s available to anyone who wants to read the book. Very inviting. Plus, since it’s not just a reproduction of the book cover, it’s not over-the-top in-your-face advertising, yet people will stop and say, “Hey, that’s cool. Wait, what does that mean?” And then they can go find out. LOVE IT!

    I have a Stewart/Colbert 2008 bumper sticker on my car and I’d love to add a Tucker for Mayor, More of the Same.

  8. Go for it. It is not like you’re blackmailing us with “Buy my stuff or there will be no new books.”

  9. I want an apron, the calendar, the bumper sticker, and…
    My favorite t-shirt right now says “Joss Whedon is my master now” in the Star Wars fonts. Most people don’t get it (someone once turned to my husband and said, “Oh, is your name Joss?” which was just wrong on so many levels), but once in a while, I’ll hear a squeal from some stranger off to my right who says, “Firefly,” or “I love Buffy,” or something. I feel happy when I wear that shirt, because *I* know what it means. I’d feel the same about that apron.

    Oh, and I want that t-shirt, too.

    It’s not exploitation unless you do something like, “Free book with purchase of $100 worth of merchandise.”

  10. Oh,what the hell…it hasn’t hurt J.K. Rowling any, right? And it’s not exploitation if people actually WANT the stuff.

    I’m seeing Moot. And the flamingoes. Hey, you could go all Martha on us and design wallpaper, bedding, dishes…

    The mind boggles.

    And absolutely, positively, definitely Woofie. That profile is just BEGGING to be immortalized.

  11. Mara Lubell is a genius. No seriously, a genius. I can’t believe how fantastic Cranky Agnes is. I would love to see cool merchandising from some of my favorite Crusie’s, (the bumper sticker and the apron are my top two) but I still think the coolest things I’ve ever gotten from one of Jenny’s books is donning a leather mini skirt and tying my hair up with a thigh-high stocking when I’m going out dancing.
    (learned from my first Crusie)

    I was wondering Jenny if you could provide a link or an email address for the amazin’ Ms. Lubell. I think I’m in need of her services.

  12. No, definitely not exploitation.

    It’s fun, you have a huge fan base that read and re-read your stories … that means they want more. They want reminders of what made them laugh, or feel good.

    And like a few of the commenters above said, it’s that insider joke thing. The thing that makes it special, like you belong to some neat group that makes you feel proud to wear and advertise their work. It’s a heck of a lot better than wearing some designer’s logo that you paid a fortune for and have no connection to, every time you put the item on you’ll feel great, you’ll smile … what’s not to like?

    I so want that apron.

  13. Mara: you kick ass!

    Rox: considering that we’d spend that much anyways, isn’t that just a free book? 🙂

    i want JulieT’s idea of a t-shirt of ““If you can’t be a good example, you’ll just have to be a horrible warning.” Perhaps with some fanged animals around the edges.”

    oh, and something about the donuts and muffins. you have to do something with them.

    you could make the calendars with all the dates your new books are coming out. not like we don’t mark it down anyways…

  14. ok, now i want something from each book.

    maybe a mug that says “what’s YOUR china pattern?” for Fast Women.

    and Moot and Cherise should be in a boxing ring, duking it out. i don’t know why, i just love that image in my head. though in reality it’s more like Moot at some bar schmoozing the bartender with a pink drink in hand and Cherise picking her way through a box of chocolates.

  15. I SO want a Cranky Agnes apron! 🙂 And I’ve realized lately that I have no cute t-shirts. All my college tees are running a bit threadbare now.

    Please, exploit away!

  16. Orangehands has a good idea with the mug…but can we get a mug that looks a little like Walkingware? Just a little. Not a total rip-off or anything.

    And I want something with Fred on it.

    And something with cherries on it goes without saying.

    Lulu, my bulldog, still wants her own Crusie T-shirt.

    what fun!

  17. It would be so cool to have things from the books. I want the Cranky Agnes apron, and the t shirt. Fred, Wolfie, Cerise and Moot- how about Action Figures! Or inaction- whichever the case may be. 🙂 Ok, maybe in some other form.
    I LOVE mugs and tote bags and if they are Crusie related-all the better!!
    To agree with Caryle, “Please, exploit us!”

  18. I rather like the idea of wearing a T-Shirt texted by “that Crusie woman.” 🙂

    I’m thinking of something along the lines of “Help! Help! I’m being oppressed!” and on the back “Come to see the violence inherent in the system of reading shamelessly fun romance novels”… okay, maybe the Muse was starting to wane toward the end of that thought.

    But something along those lines, anyway. I don’t mind being shamelessly oppressed as long as it’s either a) in a good cause or b) rather fun.

  19. Jenny, you’re fans are clamoring for this stuff. It’s not exploitation – it’s giving us what we want. Demanding? Us? No not at all.

  20. What Katy said. This is cool stuff you’re talking about, and I want it all. They’re in-jokes.

    I already have one cool apron – courtesy of my mother and the Women’s Institute, it says ‘The WI makes considerably bigger buns’ but there’s no logo, so Cranky Agnes would be an excellent addition.

  21. PLEASE EXPLOIT US! WE’RE BEGGING HERE!

    I absolutely love the idea of plot/character logos. And they would be a fun inside joke on the rest of the world, those sad sad people who don’t read Crusie’s.

    And we need a mug or something with the Dempsey rules on it.

  22. Yes please to everything.

    Exploitation is geared towards increasing book sales and getting your name and URL out there in the faces of the non-converts, while making the exploitees pay for the advertising.

    Cool Stuff from That Crusie Woman is a way of letting us members of the secret club find each other in a busy, crowded world.

    And I picture a tiny cherry logo in the bottom corner of each item.

  23. Nope, not exploiting. WKS. And I *love* Susan D’s idea of a cherry in the bottom corner.

    It’s not exploiting, it’s letting us have fun in the world of the book. I’m not an apron kinda girl, but Agnes’ apron would be fun to wear. “Tucker for Mayor, More of the Same” bumper sticker is my little joke to the world. Yeah, if someone asks, I say “Go buy Crusie, she’s fab.” But, mostly, it’s me getting a giggle when I lift the trunk to put in groceries.

    And that’s fab too.

  24. Go ahead, exploit me. I don’t mind.
    I want that apron. And I’ve been waiting for the We’re Doomed t-shirt since you mentioned it last year.
    Hmmmm, Agnes looks a little like me, glasses and PO’d glare. I like her.

  25. I don’t see it as explotation either. It’s an inside joke. I’m an avid O.C. fan and loved that they had a “I Love Seth Cohen” t-shirt available on their site.

  26. I agree with the masses, give us “stuff” to buy! And heck, while you are at it, what about some of those shoes from “Bet Me”? That’s what I’m talking about …

  27. All good ideas, no exploitation! I would love the Goodnight calendar, and the Julie suggestion of “horrible warning” with teeth! And as a coffee drinker – anything on a mug! About the t-shirts, I’m always looking for something kind of funky that shows some personality and isn’t the personality of the 22yo doing merchandising for her BGFs!

    Can’t wait to make Thanksgiving in my Cranky Agnes! That about says it all, until after the meal!

  28. Oh, yes . . . exploit away! It does make it so much more fun that it’s “inside” stuff. I don’t buy merchandise with just a title/name/book cover on it, but I love merchandise with quirky stuff from those people and books. Am I making sense? Probably not.

    I’d vote for Tucker. Uh, yeah. Bring on the stickers!

  29. If these are cool things in their own right, then it’s not exploiting fans, it’s offering them cool reminders of things they love.

    What Katy said.

    I’d buy practically everything you mentioned. Sign me up for a girly tee or three….

  30. I’d stand in line to buy this stuff. It’s like being part of an inside joke. And what a great way to talk about your books when someone asks about the merchandise. I’d actually prefer that over bookcover type things. Makes me feel more like I’m part of the “cool” group.

  31. Exploiting readers would mean selling badly designed, low quality product that was made with little thought beyond making a buck. That is obviously not the situation here. You’ve got a great logo and fun catch phrases that people will wear with pride. It would be a shame not to use them to their full advantage.

  32. It almost looks like we need an “Exploit Me” t-shirt. But yes, I feel like having something from inside the book moves it from advertisement to inside joke. It’s a fine line, but there you go.

  33. I’m not really an apron wearer but I would buy a Cranky Agnes apron, that logo is great. And a mug. And a Tucker bumper sticker. And a We’re Doomed t-shirt. And a Horrible warning with teeth anything. I like the idea of the calendar with Goodnight art on it too.

    You can’t exploit the willing.

    I’d buy out the whole line if Agnes’ name was Angie just so I could have a Cranky Angie coffee mug for work. I work with 25+ men and frequently look over my glasses at them like that. My glasses are even the same shape and pretty close to the same colour!

  34. The new Harry Potter will be $37. I consider that exploiting the fans. (Even though I know that as a writer she has worked very very hard – so please don’t take that as an insult to writers)

    By the way I want the Good Times/Doomed t-shirt. You’ll have that available when?

  35. Michelle G: All the stickers on my car are magnets. I go to the crafts store and buy a role of sticky magnets in one big sheet. I stick the magnets on, cut them out, and slap them on my car. Or my washing machine…cars gotten pretty full. That way I can swap out my accessories.

    I noticed there’s another plain Michelle posting now, so I’m switching to my Cherry name.

    Again, I’d love to have a Tucker bumper sticker. My car would be identifiable as a CherryMobile. Oh. Not sure I like that name, but love the idea.

  36. Exploit Me! Exploit Me! Exploit Me!

    The beautiful logos your team creates, combined with that signature Crusie snark? Where do I put in my credit card info?

    I’m all for that Goodnight calendar. The Agnes apron. The Dempsey Rules coffee mug (although, given I work with other peoples’ money, maybe I won’t use that in the office). The “horrible warning” t-shirt.

    And don’t forget the extra large sizes for us girls who are just round all over!

  37. “Lulu, my bulldog, still wants her own Crusie T-shirt.”

    My dachshund, Mr. Darcy, wants a Marlene (Fast Women) t-shirt!

  38. Sara (the other Sara),

    Mara’s name is a link to her site.

    And I’d buy any one of these items. But I especially would love a coffee mug for each of the books.

    Sara

  39. What Katy said first and everyone else agreed with. I don’t think it’s exploiting when it’s what we want. If it is, exploit away — we’re begging for it!

    Sharyn

  40. Honestly, I don’t think there’s anything exploitative about what you are suggesting. You are offering stuff for sale. Either I want to buy it or I don’t. Frankly, I love the idea of having the option to look for some of this stuff. (Can you offer plus women sizes on the t-shirts & aprons? And static cling or magnetic car window/bumper stickers, instead/in addition to of adhesive ones?)

    Exploitation suggests that you are somehow using fans in a bad way. Granted, by displaying logos of your work, we are assisting you with your advertising. But it’s not like you’re planning to forcibly tatoo logos on our foreheads and dump us in a crowded mall or amusement park. (Are you?) ;=)

    If we choose to opt into a potential shopping frenzy because we like the stuff you are selling, your benefit of free advertising is not exploitation. I say, stock the shelves and warm up the credit card reader, baby!

  41. I love coffee mugs. Can I get one with the Tucker for… logo on it? Of course, the down side would be that I would be trying to drink coffee and snort with laughter at the same time. I may need to get more keyboards…

  42. Clearly we faithful readers hunger to be exploited, so please do! Jenny, thank you for your blog. I laugh every time I read it and it helps me wait for the next book.

  43. I so so so want something from the “Bet Me” book…..ANYTHING as that was my favorite. LEt me know where to send my money!

  44. Like many others have said: Exploit me, exploit me!
    I’m doing a modified Snoopy Dance at the very thought of all this good stuff. And it’s only modified because I’m at a work computer.

    I was a member of a local sorority in college and a Girl Scout before that, so I tend to look at the Cherry and Cherry Bomb communities as a big sisterhood. Here’s my take on the tie-in/exploitation question, for what it’s worth.

    My Sorority didn’t go for traditional Greek merchandise from the big catalogs because we felt they were exploitive. The big companies all had exponential minimum purchase requirements, and as a small sorority unaffiliated with the big nationals, we didn’t have the numbers to merit those large orders. And we felt the big companies promoted consumerism (matching tshirts or flipflops or engraved but generic stemware) for each occasion over sisterhood. Yes, I know, it sounds corny, but we were young and idealistic.

    That didn’t preclude us from purchasing or making fun stuff on a small scale to highlight special memories or individual style.

    And Cherry t-shirts, in joke bumper stickers, or Agnes aprons are fun goodies. There’s no minimum purchase requirement or pressure, and no one is saying “showing up to National without your Bunnie Slippers means you are a miserable excuse for a Cherry and no one will sit with you at lunch.”

  45. As long as there are no black crotchless panties (from Tell Me Lies) I’ll buy anything you want to sell.

  46. JulieT requested “a tee shirt reading “If you can’t be a good example, you’ll just have to be a horrible warning.” Perhaps with some fanged animals around the edges.” this is an idea I like- but I’m thinking a picture frame- I can just see a three generation shot of my grandmother, my mom, my sister, and I in a frame like this-

    I agree that using lines from the books or from the blogs etc. makes it an “in” thing where you can identify others who also “get” it while being fun-

  47. Oh, can I be in the club?

    I have a T-shirt from every concert I paid $ to see. Something to rememember the experience.

    Book stuff would be WAY better.

    “Got Snark?” On a T-Shirt?

    Love Tote bags – doubles my book hauling capacity.

    Magnets? Key chains?

    Fred’s gotta have something of his very own.

    And something with really cool shoes on it

    And, I don’t feel exploited in the lease.

  48. Fred could be a stuffed doggie with a collar with cherries on it. He could be sized to fit into the pocket of the apron.

    How about a package of frig magnets of all the books?

  49. Make the hair a little longer and alter the glasses a bit, and this looks like “Cranky Jennifer” (me Jennifer, that is). This is awesome.

  50. As long as the merchandising ties in with the book and doesn’t feel too gimmicky, I’d buy it. I just don’t like the generic mug/t-shirt stuff much. And I don’t wear t-shirts with slogans on because I am not 12 so even the “Nothing But Good Times Ahead/We’re Doomed” t-shirt wouldn’t do it for me. But if you put those two damn fine sayings on a paperweight that I could stick on my desk and flip over as the mood took me so that my PA knows when to come in and ask me questions and when to slink off and cower, then that I’d buy, along with the apron and the calendar (love those teeth). Anyway, it’s not exploitative. No one makes anyone buy the stuff. We’re all grown-ups here.

  51. As Chelle pointed out, we already do word-of-mouth advertising. So this will just increase our chances – when anyone asks about our aprons/t-shirts/mugs – to say “Buy everything Jenny Crusie ever wrote RIGHT NOW.”

    It’s very high minded of you to try to avoid exploiting us, but since we’re much more likely to feel warm and fuzzy (and possibly cheerfully snarky) when we wear/ use our merchandise than hollow and used, I think it’s probably over scrupulous.

    I love many of the ideas, here, but you don’t want to get so busy making up merchandise that you get distracted from the books. Because I suspect that the books will make a better living. But you can use and we can enjoy some of the other aspects of your creativity, when you just don’t feel like writing, so – Have fun!

  52. yes, we need something from Bet Me. that one and Faking It are my faves. and don’t forget the earlier books like Charlie All Night.

    i love t-shirts with slogans and really don’t have enough so…when will this stuff be ready to order? 🙂

  53. It’s not exploitation, just fun. After all, nobody has to buy it. I love the extra stuff Pratchett does – Nanny Ogg’s cookbook, the maps of Discworld – just because, as you say, they’re items that have escaped from the book world into the real world. [Haven’t bought them, but I admire them from time to time as I browse.]
    And Rowling did a couple of mini-books for comic relief some years ago on the same sort of theme – Harry’s book of ‘Quidditch through the ages’.
    I just think it’s a brilliant idea.

  54. Not that we want this to get out of control (oh, what the heck, why not?) but what about Action Figures? After all, you can get a Jane Austen Action Figure (go ahead, Google it…) so why not Sophie Dempsey, complete with her own Dove Bar, Pool Cue and, uh, Dock.

  55. PBS has done well with their merchandise, and I spent too much money on DR WHo stufff fo rmy hubbie at Christmas….its not exploiting if its classy.
    Or really fun tacky.

  56. Tucker for Mayor? Oh I LOVE it! What a sneaky way to find other Cherries–just look for the bumper sticker! I wouldn’t mind a logo/window sticker for the Cherries for my car, either…. And I think the apron would be great fun and would lead to great conversation starters where we could rave on and on about how much we like to cook and read and then subtly drop Jenny’s name into it. Goodnight Calendar? I am there! I think these are all great ideas and a lot of fun. If you think it is exploiting, look at it this way: most clubs have things that only members can buy/own–jackets, t-shirts, mugs, stickers, etc–why should the Cherries be any different?! I say go for it!

  57. Hmm. Encarta defines exploitation as:

    1. Unfair treatment or use of somebody or something, usually for personal gain

    2. The use or development of something to produce a benefit

    What you’re suggesting doesn’t fit the first definition, but no one can say with any honesty that it doesn’t fit the second. So yes, it’s exploitation. And aren’t you damned lucky to have people who care about you and love your work and who are so very willing, eager even, to assist you in that effort?

    So consider us your partners in exploitation. We sure as hell aren’t victims of it.

    I’m much more likely to buy something I can use, as opposed to something I would (not) wear. I’d buy a calendar and a mug or two and probably a bumper sticker, but why stop there? I’d also buy a framed print from the Goodnight Gallery. Maybe even a footstool.

    But, you know, what I’d really like is to get my hands on Shane’s training manual. Or just Shane — except there might be just a bit of exploitation (see 1. above) involved in that.

    Just saying.

  58. What they said.

    A Dempsey mug, a Good Times T-shirt, a Horrible Warning T-shirt, and as many of Tilda’s pictures as you thought you might make this year. Please?

    Tilda’s pictures are informing my quilt journal pages for this year.

  59. I made some merchandise based on the book I was working on a couple years ago, in fact, an apron, a tile coaster and a mug, IIRC. I never actually subbed the book (because I’m still not happy with it), but people buy the merchadise in my CP shop. It’s “from the book” but not a cover or book title, but they obviously have no idea of that. Heh.

    Just seems like a good idea and a fun one for someone like you, with your art background. Besides, it’s fun for us to play secret society. ;+)

  60. I went to an Evanovich signing and Janet’s daughter passed out “Plum Crazy” bumper stickers. I was working at a library at the time. Plenty of patrons in the parking lot would chat with me about how much they loved her books. Others didn’t know what it meant–or they thought I was plum crazy–which I sort of am. I always thought It was fun to see who got it and who didn’t. You’d be surprised. 😉

  61. I just thought of something else, from “Strange Bedpersons” … An ad for The Levee and under it the slogan “Uh, waiter? It’s not a fork this time.”

  62. Paying $40 a ticket plus $7 per beer to see an aging ’80s band at Riverbend is exploitation. As far as merchandising goes, you are only as exploited as you want to be.

    This, however, is fabulous!

    I have this old picture on my desk that I found at a flea market that has the “Horrible Warning” quote on it. I get asked about it all the time and I always start with, “well I read this book…”

    Exploit us, please! We will love it!

  63. Oh My Bob, if it appeared in time, we could wear Cranky Agnes gear as we storm the Bookstores this August. (It is coming out in August isn’t it?)

    Since we don’t have the “TADA” cover to bring attention to the stack of books in our arms, we could have people asking us why we are wearing an apron in the store….
    “Because you should buy EVERYTHING that Jenny Crusie ever wrote RIGHT NOW!”

    Yes, that would be very fun. I would cheerfully turn in my Mickey Mouse Apron for Agnes.

  64. Becky, I agree with you. I thought Agnes looked like Jenny too. It’s that “The teacher is talking so don’t you” look.

    I would love to see something with Fred walking down the fire escape and the two open windows or have him sticking his head in one of the windows.

    For Zelda how about the slogan “Perenially yours”.

  65. in the other post, Jenny wrote “how you can’t plant perennials under walnut trees because the roots kill them, and I’m thinking, “Malcolm is a walnut tree, Zelda could look at him and think ‘walnut tree,’” (oooh, maybe I should change his name to Walter)”

    i like that for Zelda. i read that and just laughed and laughed. a shirt with something like “no, not you, your a walnut tree”

    i love MCB’s idea for Strange Bedperson’s.

  66. I buy all the time cherry car airfreshers, they hang from my rear-view mirror, it my own little inside joke but if I can have a T-Shirtthat says, Warning: I eat frozen brownies with a knife, I’ll have a inside joke with every Cruise fan.

  67. definitely want! especially would like “if you can’t be a good example, you’ll just have to be a horrible warning” or a Goodnight calendar- its a fun reminder of great books 🙂

  68. Since I buy anything and everything that Jenny Crusie has ever written or will ever write anyway, and since I am a shameless promoter of her work to anyone I ever meet, a “Buy anything Jenny Crusie ever wrote right now!” t-shirt would work for me. But I ADORE the idea of the bumper stickers and every single thing else mentioned here – and would probably shell out for that stuff too. Anything that makes me feel as good as her work does is worth it.

  69. Maybe you could branch out into jewelry as well? I know of a Cherry who went out and had a jeweler design two rings for her. One reads “Free Will” and the other “Destiny.”

  70. “If you can’t be a good example, you’ll just have to be a horrible warning.”
    I had no idea my life had a theme until I read that.
    A coffee mug, please, and if I could get the fish shoes from Bet Me? All the better.

    Just remember that consumer spending drives the largest part of our economy. It’s really your duty as an American to further consumer spending.

  71. I love the apron. I wish I could cross out Agnes and add my own name. I’ve been looking for an apron that has plastic over the cloth so you can wipe it down rather than washing it; they used to be popular but I haven’t seen one in years.

    My favorite tee shirt is dark green and says *Stop Plate Tectonics* in large friendly letters. Even living in earthquake country most people don’t get it.

    I don’t see this as exploitation, go for it.

  72. Jenny, I have no idea if you read this far into the comments, but, as one of the many who will be attending your HWSW in Australia in August, will there be sizes in the t-shirts for bigger women? And what are our chances of organising a Cherrybombs/Cherries lunch or dinner with you and Bob? – although, both of you might be too tired or stressed out for something like that.

    On the other stuff, I love the ‘Tucker for Mayor’ stickers. I would definately buy one of those 😀

  73. Of course I read the comments. Jeez.

    Mollie’s doing the planning for all of the merchandising and she’s reading the comments, too, so I feel fairly secure in saying that there will be large sizes avaliable.

    As for Australia, we usually do try to do something with the Cherries/CherryBombs, but the logistics may defeat us this time since we’re scheduled really tightly for both conferences and we don’t know what the chapters need us to do. So I can’t promise anything at all. Sorry.

    And thank you to everybody who’s giving us feedback. This is terrific.

  74. PLEASE EXPLOIT ME!!!!
    I want all the tees, the Dempsey mug, the Tucker bumper sticker, the tote bag with “Got Snark” on it…
    OMG… Can we get a discount if we BUY EVERYTHING AT ONCE? LOLOL
    I love these ideas and I can’t wait to start confusing people and finding other “hidden cherries” in my area!

  75. Oh and I forgot, must have the apron and the tee or something with Gwen’s “horrible warning”… For ME, yes, those are MUST HAVES. And if Min’s shoes show up, count me in.
    I’m getting too excited!

  76. I would so buy that! And why not have a t-shirt or apron or whatever with the logo on it so fans can buy it. It’s up to them to dish out the cash and if they do it’s because they want it, not because you’re exploiting them. It’s the equivalent of purchasing a t-shirt at a concert. It’s a physical momento of a great time (or read!).

  77. If a fan feels exploited, he/she won’t make the purchase. Don’t let that keep the rest of us from having the opportunity. I used to have eight different Springsteen T-shirts. Never once felt exploited by the fact that they were sold at his concerts. I like the idea of product tie-ins with your books, particularly because the ones you’ve mentioned are fun and clever.

    Hmmm. Thinking back to Faking It, how about a set of T-shirts. The woman’s shirt says, “I’m with the Donut” with an arrow pointing to the side. The guy’s shirt says, “I’m the Donut” or “I’m not a donut, I’m a muffin”. Yeah, sure. I can see Bob agreeing to wear that at a conference.

    (Obviously, I’m kidding about the whole donut t-shirt thing.)

  78. EXPLOIT ME!!!

    My suggestion for merchandise is a t-shirt with the line: “I want to be a Dempsey.” (My favorite line in any book OF ALL TIME!!) That would open all sorts of conversations like: What’s a Dempsey? And why would you want to be one?

    That way we can lure non-Crusiefied people in, those poor souls who have not read the wonders that is a Crusie novel.

  79. Brooke: LMAO. that was said beautifully.

    and erica, the smiley looks slightly demented, which means it’s in good company among us.

    a t-shirt saying: Have You Read Fred’s Book Yet?

  80. Fans love to be exploited. If you look the word “fans” up in the dictionary, it would probably say, “People who appreciate the work of another person and who are willing to be exploited by that person.”

    Plus, it’s not really exploitation if people want stuff just because your books are so freaking great.

  81. I’m definitely with the set of coffee mugs, especially the Dempsey Rules mug. What about decals from Faking It that could be used on furniture or mirrors or whatever? Don’t worry about exploitation, I’ll probably pay as much for postage to australia as the merchandise costs and I don’t care!!

  82. Ohhhh, maybe you can get a licensing deal with Dove bars!!!

    That would be “sweet”!

    (wink wink, nudge, nudge, get it? Sweet? 🙂 I crack myself up.)

  83. I don’t think it’s exploitation. I would guess you’d want your readers to think of your character as a real person, or as real as possible. That would be flattering. And then they’d want to be able to be reminded of that wonderful friend – Agnes, Phin, etc – with tokens. Kinda reminds me of Prairie Home Companion and their items.

    Just today i was baking cookies for Valentine’s Day and wondered, “What would Cranky Agnes have to say about licking the beaters?” Maybe the Agnes website could have an online ‘question to Cranky Agnes’ – it would be a wonderful way to keep the persona alive and kicking.

  84. Yes, yes, yes, I want everything that has been mentioned. Definitely girly Ts, I never wear the big boxy T-shirts. How about a “Manhunting” t-shirt with a picture of the lodge on it, like one of the old vacation type ads… people will want to go there!

  85. I would wear a Cranky Agnes apron. This is a big deal because I despise aprons; they’re the most badly designed things on the planet. Pockets and plus sizes, please.

    And I want all the other stuff too. I especially want Sophie’s rings. (Who suggested that? It’s a good idea.)

  86. has anyone suggested the kitten heals with the cherry on it from “Bet Me” yet? Okay, maybe not actual shoes, but little cherry clip ons to ad to heals? Or maybe stationary with these different things on it? Checks maybe?

  87. This is making me want to embroider little animals with teeth onto tea towels. Is that exploiting Jenny? Or plagiarism?

    I already have a tea towel with a crosstitch of a small kitchen fire and the words “No Place Like Home”, and some pigs with wings, from my previous days of childfree leisure. Little pointy teethed animals would go with those.

  88. It just occurred to me that there are a lot of Jills in the world.

    That was meant for the woman who sent me Flamingo Jill. If you are not she, I apologize for being rude. If you are, no, you can’t have a frying pan.

  89. “Sanity is overrated”!!!And, if you do the cafe press premium site, you can organize it by slogan/graphic and have everything for each slogan/graphic you select!

  90. what about a calendar? I know that is kind of off the merchandising deep end. One of those 365 peel a page deals with a book quote, something from the Cherries, Jenny thoughts, or the like on each day? Maybe that’s going a little overboard. I would just love to peel off a page on some random day in March that says, “I know what your doing on your lunch hour!”

  91. Jenny, if you let us know there are book related goodies available for sale at [Cafe Press or wherever, that’s not exploiting us, it’s giving us more fun options. We can choose to head over there in droves and snap things up for ourselves and as gifts for our cherry friends, or not. It’s not like you’re asking us to drop $80 for a Tshirt with your name emblazoned on it. And since it sounds like you’re making the book references less than blatant, you’re hardly advertising, since the only people who will recognize the items will be your readers. Sounds like a ton of fun to me, and thanks to you and Mollie for giving us more to play with!

  92. You think, “exploiting fans”.
    I think, “Birthday presents for my sister for the next twenty years”. Go ahead and exploit me. It’s win/win!

  93. I absolutely loved Agnes and the Hitman and would really like any sort of t-shirt or apron with the logo. Especially since I wear similar glasses and am also similarly cranky (try saying that fast). I would also like to try my hand at using my frying pan, but I digress 😉 Love to you Jennifer and please write another book asap! Heidi in Texas, at 45 with a 3 year old who is making her crazy

  94. Hi Jenny! LOVE your books. All of ’em.

    As an insider to the industry of merchandising, logos, design and the dark side of creative (being advertising), I say go for it. It’s a perfect way to give readers a little memento of your works – something lasting and fun. It makes the tales you’ve told a bit more tangible – a physical “somethin’-somethin'” as a reminder of the joy your writing brings.

    It’s also a great way for you to be able to branch out, explore and be part of another process. In the whole “exploitation” realm – you really have nothing to worry about. Merchandising is a free-choice purchase. Folks don’t have to buy – but probably will. Your fans love you, love your characters. It’s a nice break from reality.

    More of the same… 😉

  95. Speaking as someone who feels that Calvin can pay for his own damn advertising – If I want a product I will buy it, you are not forcing me to do anything. But if I love your Agnes logo and want it on a mug, I can only do it by making a bad copy for myself or waiting for you to do it for all uf us. Tks

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