Yep, we're about to go and do the anniversary thing again -- it seems like it happens every year around this time -- so we're going to focus just a teeny bit less on writing this week. After all, there are presents to be exchanged, and smooches to be shared, and married fun to be had. Married fun is a lot like single fun except it's with someone who recognizes your flaws and is happy to take you home, anyway. Before we get to any of that, we thought we'd share the latest cover for our YA novel, Something Wicked.
Renee pulled the previous cover because she thought it appeared a little too horror-genre; truly, the story is much more of a YA mystery-thriller. Although there are horror elements. Oh, and more than a touch of romance.
No wonder Amazon can't categorize the thing.
To create this new cover, Renee went to her favorite stock photo site, played with the photos and textures there, and pulled the look together. If you've ever read the book (and, no, you haven't, we've seen the sales figures), you'll know this very scene occurs toward the end of the story. Just before...well, if you'd read the thing, you'd know. Then we added some new dialogue, some new scenes, bumped the novel up by about twenty pages, and we loaded the story onto KDP Select.
It is currently an Amazon exclusive. We made this move because we're hoping the "Free to Amazon Prime members!" sales pitch will cause some somebodies somewhere to download the novel. If people "borrow" enough downloads, or we sell enough copies, we'll be encouraged to write the sequel (Something Evil) and can
live happily ever after. There's another plus to KDP Select
: In exchange for exclusivity, Amazon allows us to give the book away as an e-download. For $0.00. It's only for a limited number of days, granted, but free is free. If the rest of the world is grabbing a copy for gratis, there's no reason why you, dear friends, should have to pay for our pages. Once we have the first free date locked in (it will be sometime near the end of July), we'll share full scoop. For now, it's back to K-I-S-S-I-N-G....
…and then, there’s the way the world does
work. In a just world, all evil would be punished, ANGEL would have been renewed for a sixth season, and talented authors could write what inspired them and still make a living.
As you know, the world doesn’t work that way.
We’ve never once heard a successful scribe say, “Write what you love, the money will follow.” If you pressed one of the big dollar novelists for the key to a happy career, we’re betting they’d say this: “Write what other
people love and the money will follow.” At least, that’s what we think they’d tell you.
This comes to mind because, as we mentioned last week, we had a surge of success a little while ago. For us, a “surge” counts as 300 copies of a single title sold in 14 days (and the story has continued to sell at a steady clip since then so life is good.). For a title that had no push, collected no internet buzz, and came out under an unknown name.
Why did this piece sell? It had a good cover, a nice edit, and it was in a popular genre. A genre we’d never written until now. Then we found a post on successful self-publishing
at Absolute Write. The author, the mysterious shelleyo, advised her fellow writers to pick a popular genre and stick with it. She wrote (among many good things), “The bigger the genre audience, the more self-publishers who're doing well, the better your odds. That's just a business truth (and once you decide to self-publish, you're running a business in a whole different way than when you're writing and submitting).”
Since we agreed with what she'd written, we thought we’d found the key to riches. Find a popular genre, write a novel in the popular genre, collect fans, sales, and a summer house in Maine. Even though we’ve never been to Maine.
Just to reassure ourselves, we thought we’d contact another writer and see if she agreed with us. Not just any writer but a writer who had a giant spike in sales when she changed genres for her novel, Slow Burn
. (And you ought to check out the reviews for the story, too. Seriously.) So we wrote VJ Chambers and we said, “Hey, we think we’ve found the secret to becoming super-successful writers and that’s to pick a popular genre and then write that genre and we know you think so, too, don’t you, since we’re so wizardly smart” – or something along those lines. Because Valerie is a lovely woman, she interrupted her writing schedule to write back.
Very nicely, she disagreed with us. “I think Slow Burn
took off because I compared it to Beautiful Disaster
in the description. Also because a writer named A. Meredith Walters
, who’s had several NA books in the Top 100, mentioned me on her Facebook page. (Thank you, A. Meredith!) And luck. I’ve been really, really lucky.”
Which wasn’t what we wanted to hear at all. We can pick a popular genre but we can’t control luck. (If we could, other people would soon quit playing the mega-lottery.) Also, there’s the whole “A. Meredith Walters” factor. We’ve heard A. Meredith only promotes novels that she actually likes – ones that display creativity and talent and imagination – and what are the odds we’ll write one of those?
Drat. Now what do we do? Quote o’ the day
: “I am a writer, but I love sex more than I love writing. And I am not getting paid for sex. But I don’t sit up at night thinking, should I do writing or sex? Because career decisions are not decisions about ‘what do I love most?’ Career decisions are about what kind of life do I want to set up for myself?” – Penelope Trunk
…just days ago and we had a great time. (No, there's no reason you should care. Just know that we care when you
are out and about.)
Although, you should know, Jerome, Arizona isn’t really
a ghost town. It’s an old mining town that made a lot of money out of copper and silver and gold until demand diminished and the mines fell upon hard times. When the jobs started to disappear – and houses began to be swallowed by the pillaged earth – the population dwindled. The miners left and hippies and bikers moved in. When the population of 15,000 dropped to less than 100 hardy souls, the city fathers realized they needed to make some changes.
They did some clever things to bring Jerome back to life. They had the town designated a Historical Landmark. They sponsored music festivals and car races (and provide some terrific footage of one of the races). They opened a museum.
And they proclaimed that their 0.7 square miles was a “ghost town”.
Tourists love ghost towns…safe, clean, non-ghost-filled ghost towns…and the ploy worked. These days, visitors can take a Ghost Van that will give them a tour of the hottest haunts. There are Ghost Tours and Ghost Walks. One of the hotels has a ghost hunt every Thursday, with their patrons given Emf meters to help find their very own spook. Every October, the place is packed. If you’re interested in spending Halloween in that part of Northern AZ, you need to make your reservation now.
Jerome's Main Street lives off of the tourist dollar and it shows. Art galleries and retail shops line the walkway. Restaurants and hotels are featured prominently. There’s a touch of the old hippy/biker vibe to the area but you have to look for it. “Give the people what they want” has become the town’s unofficial philosophy and Jerome is thriving because of it.
Lately, we’ve been wondering if, as writers, we should adopt the “give the readers what they want” philosophy. Because, judging from Amazon’s Best Sellers in Kindle
, not that many people are lining up for their daily dose of YA horror or YA suspense. While our book and novella sales have never been strong, they’ve remained steady but -- oh, sadness -- our monthly royalties have yet to approach a living wage.
Then, recently, we had our first "hit".
Not a Top 100 Hit, not even a Top 1000 Hit, but with enough sales to make us sit up and notice. If you didn’t realize we had a new story coming out, hey, why would you? We didn't mention it here or on Facebook, it came out under our pen name's other pen name, and we failed to do any proper promotion. Without any kind of push, this story has already sold more copies than any single title we have except for After Things Went Bad.
We puzzled over this for a bit. We think we know why sales climbed for this piece but we’re not sharing; not today, anyway. We want to reach out to a couple of our fellow writers for their thoughts, too. Once we've got our act together, we'll do a proper post and see if we've solved the mystery -- or if we just got lucky.
Until next week, then…. Quote of the day
: 'If the cash is there, we do not care'
. What kind of life philosophy is that, man?" (From the very fun movie, Deep Rising
...and who is to say whether one is "more" right than the other? (Hint: We are. We wrote the damned manuscript, we get to say which reader is correct on this one.) A couple of years ago, we wrote a young adult mystery novel incorporating horror elements and a
bit of romance. Something Wicked
was strong enough to find us an agent, not quite strong enough to find us a publisher. (Penguin Books said nice things about the story but they failed to say the nicest thing of all: "Contract enclosed.")
Later, the story found us an e-publisher (who was
kind enough to say, "contract enclosed"), but our relationship splintered right around our fourth editor...the editors kept quitting the company, not us specifically...so we took a giant step and became our own publisher. We enjoyed the process so much that we turned down a contract for The Atheist's Daughter and published it ourselves, too.
We just kept doing this and, today, we've published several titles, including a few we don't talk about here. Mostly, we've loved the process. The one part we haven't loved? Something Wicked never found an audience. It just keeps dropping further and further down the sales chart. No one has offered an Amazon review for two years. The last e-book download was three months ago. Unlike the fish in the photo above, our poor novel is dead in the water. It happens to writers all the time. Yesterday, Harrell wanted to find a novel by Ron Goulart. R.G.
was a prolific novelist in his day but his fiction has disappeared from our local library shelves. It's also missing from the shelves of the last bookstore we visited. If a good writer like Goulart can vanish, what hope have we?
Since we're our own boss, we decided to do a SW
rewrite. The changes are subtle -- tying SW into the world of Atheist's Daughter -- but significant. Then we edited, then we rewrote, then...we were confused. Was the book any better, really? Did it still flow? Would it grab an older audience? After reading and re-reading the pages, we no longer knew. We cried out for beta readers and, to our joy, a pair of them appeared. It took a few weeks but the results are in. The book is great. The book is boring. The opening sets the tone perfectly. The opening should be dropped. People can relate to our heroine. People will think our heroine is whiny and self-obsessed. So, yeah, two different readers, two different viewpoints. We actually -- this is so stupid -- checked to see that we'd sent each of them the same manuscript. One of our betas loved the book, highlighted the sections she really liked, and offered to share her feelings on Facebook and Twitter
. We declined...see last week's post about promotions...but we were flattered. The other beta hated the book, highlighted the pieces he really
hated, and offered some suggestions to try to save the story. He was sincere and did this out of the kindness of his heart. We're grateful to both of them. But, all things considered, we think we'll go with the lady that thought the book was terrific. In a week or so, the new version will be released into the wild. When that happens, we'll let you know (and we may make it free for a few days. We're still discussing it. We'll let you know about that, too). Currently watching: Storage 24
on Netflix. This
is how you do low-budget horror.... What the hell?:
The complete and unabridged audio edition of Aly's Luck
is available here
for $1.99. If one of our wonderful readers hadn't dropped us a line, we'd have had no idea. Last time we checked, Amazon wanted $19.95 for thing -- and now it suddenly cost less than the price of a Starbuck's coffee? Well, that explains our latest royalty statement.... Currently drinking
: Lagunitas Sucks
, BrownShugga Substitute Ale. Not wine, we know, but how can you not try a drink with "sucks" in the title? Quote o' the day
: “A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.” -- Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
...and we like those people. We don't read their novels -- after all, we haven't heard of them or their creations, so why would we be interested in their writing? -- but that's one of the downsides of avoiding book promotion. If people don't know about your work, they're unlikely to buy it. (Well, duh.)
We’re terrible at promoting our work and that’s why our own sales figures are so dismal. (Yes, that IS what we tell ourselves on a regular basis.) We mention this today because we recently picked up a free Kindle book, courtesy of eReaderIQ
, that promised to help us correct that problem. In this ebook bestseller, the author shares her secret behind tens of thousands of paid downloads.
What specifically does she do? She promotes her work endlessly. Specifically, she tweets. On the hour, every hour, and sometimes twice an hour. Every tweet includes a pitch to buy one of her books.
Her tweets go something like this: You know what's great? My book GUN-JITSU: ENTER THE FIST! Also, powdered milk! It's so handy! I bought my mother a copy of my book GUN-JITSU: ENTER THE FIST! She says it's the best thing since powdered milk! My kitty is named GUN-JITSU: ENTER THE FIST! Just like my book! Uh-oh, I think I'm allergic to powdered milk!
Personally, we hate the hard sell but not everyone agrees with us. Twitter is so happy with the idea, they’ve developed an auto-tweet, allowing the Twitter-pated to queue up their messages and send them night and day. If you’d like to use the auto-tweet, you’ll need to find it yourself. We think it’s the devil’s work and we refuse to help.
We complained to a writing buddy but he told us that all of the shouting is worthwhile. He admits he’s been a little obnoxious, pushing his first novel on Facebook, and we’d agree. His self-promotion has resulted in a low two digit sale number (as in, less than 20 buys) but he counts it as a win. We count it as a reason to avoid his Facebook page.
It was right about then that we wandered over to Absolute White
and found a voice of calm restraint. Specifically, we discovered Jane Wallace-Knight. In a forum devoted to book promotion, she wrote, "I have my first book coming out next week and as I'm British I hate bigging myself up and am full of self-deprecation." We liked her immediately.
We also liked the phrase "bigging myself up" and, since we're the best in the world at self-deprecation, we felt we could relate to her feelings. Also, on alternate Thursdays, Renee proclaims that she’s British, too. We immediately went over to Jane's blog site
, only to discover that her posts were as modest and polite as she is. She's joined Twitter but we aren't following her. Without even meeting the woman, we suspect she hates being in the Twittersphere and her tweets will reflect those emotions.
Jane will blog, because she must, and she'll tweet, because she should, but she'd much rather be writing. We've been in her shoes so we know she feels obligated to do some kind of promotion. Since her novel -- The Holy Trinity (The Wolves of Gardwich)
-- is about to be released into the world, we thought we'd lend a promotional hand. A sister-to-sister (and one brother) kind of thing.
We thought it best to approach things gently so we knocked softly on her electronic door but only asked three questions: How did a nice lady like you decide to start writing m/m erotica? Jane
: I started reading fanfiction when I was about nineteen and I found that there was so much more m/m fiction than there was m/f. I also found the quality of writing to be better and less self-indulgent. At first I would skip over the sex scenes, just wanting to immerse myself in the written world, but eventually the love stories written there would pull me in. I decided to start writing some myself and by then m/m just seemed to come more naturally to me, which is perhaps a little strange in hindsight as I am a straight female. Does your mother know? Jane
: No. She knows that I write and that I have a book series coming out, but she doesn't know what it's about, much to her frustration. The sex scenes in the book are pretty explicit and the thought of my mother ever getting hold of it and reading it is enough to give me nightmares. What's the storyline to your story and, since we're on the subject, why is it the best novel ever written by anyone anywhere ever? If you deny it's the best novel ever written, we'll just know you're being modest. Jane
: It is by no means the best novel ever written. I didn't set out to write a life-changing book that tops best seller lists. My book is a love story that will only appeal to a select group of people. However, if you are the sort of person who likes the idea of a werewolf, a vampire, and an angel falling in love then you might want to give it a read.
Jane's novel comes out in June from Siren Publishing
. Tell 'em "Renée Harrell sent me" and they'll look at you oddly. Reading:
Bill Fitzhugh's Pest Control
. Such fun. Quote of the day
: “The less you have to sell, the harder you sell it” – Tim Minchin, Matilda the Musical
...and, then, on the same weekend, our small town decides it's time for a little fun. To that end, they arrange for the Highlands Games out by the lake and a combo art show/wine tasting in the downtown district. Decisions, decisions. In case you haven't gone to a Highlands Games event,
the festivities exist to celebrate all things Celtic. There are bagpipers and dancers, herding dog exhibitions and athletic events (people toss heavy things as far as they can be thrown). There are booths selling food, drink, and t-shirts. This time, there was even a whiskey tasting. We decided to skip the Highlands Games for three reasons. One, both of us would prefer to be there as participants instead of observers (but we don't get to play. Damn our lack of Celtic heritage); it just seems like it would be a lot more fun. Secondly, neither of us really, truly enjoys whiskey. Even the good stuff. And, far from last, we would have had to buy tickets. It cost $16 a person to walk through the gate. For $16 a person, we reasoned, we could buy a pretty decent bottle of wine. So we went to the town's other celebration of life. We did this because, one, we like art; two, we like wine; three, and far from last, the show was free for anyone who came downtown. In case you haven't gone to an art show/wine tasting, the festivities exist to celebrate good art and delicious wine. There are no bagpipers or dancers, no herding dogs and the only athletic event is pretending to be sober when you've spent too long sipping at the tiny little cups that contain the grape squeezings.
When we arrived, we found booths lining the streets and vendors selling food, drink, art and wine.
We also discovered there were people selling jewelry and pottery, cowboy hats and bumper stickers. Wind chimes were available, meat seasonings merited their own booth, and there was a pasta company selling...well, pasta. We walked past every booth and all of the random musicians strumming on their random instruments. When we were done, we found very little actual art available for sale and most of those pieces were pleasant and a little, uh, boring. Why? "People who come to a street fair could care less about artistic merit," one vendor/artist told us. He said this without bitterness but, then, his flower-filled booth was directly next to the kettle corn vendor. He was eating kettle corn as he talked.
"They're looking for something sweet to eat and something fun to drink. If it's cheap enough, maybe they'll get some watercolor lilies. People want 'pretty'. They want 'pleasant'. These days, they don't want to be challenged." Well, now we know. Freshly enlightened (and intrigued by the homemade fudge at the corner booth), Renee has decided to put away her latest canvas (the layout currently features an early-1960s Ken doll and emphasizes castration). Let this be a warning to you, too. If your artistic project is dark, gritty or unnerving,
set it aside. Let the Chicken Soup for the Soul
series be your guide. Somebody somewhere has sold over 100 million copies of those things.
Meanwhile, our most popular Kindle title (sadly, dark and gritty) has barely crossed into the four digits. Currently drinking: Pillsbury Wine Company's WildChild Red.
If you can find it, you should try it. Currently enjoying: Better Off Ted
. Why didn't we know about this show when it was on the air? (We're watching on Netflix.) Quote of the day (just because): "
Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.'" -- Mary Anne Radmacher Kettle corn recipe: Thanks to the good folks at AllRecipes.com -- here
...and we've got the saddle sores to prove it. We mean this literally. Once again, a life experience has made us a little wiser in the ways of the world and just a tad bit disillusioned.
While you slept in this weekend, we got up early, drove for many miles, and joined over a dozen other greenhorns on a trail ride. Half of the team was eager to ride a horse again -- "You know, in case we ever write a Western" -- and the other half was too distracted by the televised NFL draft to realize that this was a bad idea.
Why was it a bad idea? Neither one of us had been on a horse since we were children. You know, back in the days when our bones tended to bend instead of break. But TravelZoo was offering a half-price coupon so how we could lose? We made our reservations, showed up on time...and discovered that the world had changed since either of us had climbed aboard a pony.
In the days of our youth, if someone had a horse, they'd throw a blanket on its back, toss an eager if unsuspecting child on the blanket, and see if the kid survived. For both of us, this had been a plan that worked. No longer. Apparently, there were no lawyers in the olden days because the 21st century ranch requires a few more rules and regs before they'll let you on their well-worn nags. Everyone is encouraged to wear a bicycle helmet (no one over the age of eight wore the bicycle helmet); no one is allowed to wear a hat that doesn't have a chin strap (several people wore hats without chin straps); and everyone is required to sign and initial three pages of legalese that indemnifies the ranch in case anything happens, up to and including the Apocalypse.
There were three categories of riders: Beginner, Intermediate and Expert. A "beginner" was anyone who'd ridden 50 times or less. With this stipulation, our particular collection of riders were all beginners. (One cowboy confessed they almost always have all beginners.) Then it was time to giddy-up.
If our experience is typical...and we both suspect it is...then our forthcoming Western will not be an exciting novel. It will go something like this: Twenty minutes into the trail ride, Tex Branigan began to pray something would happen to break the monotony. Even this early in the morning, he thought, it’s so damned hot. I should have worn my hat, chin strap or no. Oh, God, we’ve still got over an hour to go. Unless…could my watch be broken? Oh, please, let my watch be broken.
Just ahead of him, the beautiful Annie D’Orville straddled her steed with an easy confidence. She thought to herself, why does the horse in front of me keep pooping? I don’t care what anyone says, it really stinks. Oh, there it goes again. That’s like twenty pounds of product, green and chunky and awful. I should ask Tex how long we've been out here. The ride should be over soon. Right? Right?
On the plus side, it was a safe ride. There was a brief 30-second interval when the lead cowboy mistakenly had his horse move faster than a slow and terrible walk. The moment this happened, his supervising cowboy called out for him to slow down. "It's all fun and games," he cried, "until we have to fill out an incident report."
When we got back into town, we ran into an old cowhand. We mentioned that, as brief as our experience had been, we'd actually come up with a saddle sore or two. "Next time, wear pantyhose," he told us. "All the cowboys do. Cut 'em off above the knee, they really cut down on the friction."
Cowboys, incident reports and pantyhose. We're telling you, the fantasy is gone.
…but it has come up in the conversation lately. As Louis Armstrong said
, you say tomato, we say tomahto; you say we’re lazy, we say we’re pacing ourselves.
This comes to mind today because a friend of ours has decided to train for an ultramarathon. Actually, when he first brought this up, he called it an “ultra”. We didn’t know what he meant. Ultra soft? Ultra delicious? Finally, we were forced to turn to one of our top level internet resources (Wikipedia) and discovered this: “An ultramarathon (also called ultra distance) is any sporting event involving running and walking longer than the traditional marathon length of 42.195 kilometres.” 42.195 kilometres =
26.2188 miles. Double those numbers and you'll see how far our chum wants to race. Call it, ultra x 2.
We found this whole thing fascinating because our friend is on the high end of middle-aged and didn’t appear particularly suicidal until now. For the next six months, our buddy shared on Facebook and, thus, the world, he plans to sacrifice a good portion of his free time to preparing for the event. If his heart doesn’t explode, he then plans to go into the mountains, motor along on his own legs for 52 miles, and see if he survives.
What’s more, he’s looking for people to do this with him.
His request came to us in a roundabout way. When it did, we didn’t actually say, “Hahahahahahaha!”
but each of us thought it. If our friend happens to directly ask us if we’re interested in training with him, we’ll tell him we’re much too busy writing. We’ll imply that we have to finish our latest novel(s) before we ascend over a mile above sea level and get eaten by bears.
Just between you and us, a writer's secret: Sometimes, when a wordsmith just wants to be left alone to eat chocolate pudding and watch Ripper Street
, the writer will tell people she has to focus to get back to working on her latest novel.
So how is
our writing coming along?, you might ask. Well, since it’s you, we’ll tell you true: We’re pacing ourselves. All the great ones do.
Except for Cassandra Parkin. Since C.P. was wonderfully supportive of us and The Atheist’s Daughter
(when much of the world flinched whenever we said the title), we always think of her fondly. We also keep half an eye on her writing career. Which is how we learned that
she’s been quite prolific. In the last eighteen months or so, she’s written a collection of themed stories, New World Fairy Tales
, won the Scott Prize, wrote three hilarious reader guides
to the 50 Shades
trilogy, and -- just recently -- mentioned that her newest novel, The Summer We All Ran Away
, will be released shortly by Legend Press.
You'd think she'd have sent us a free copy but no, so, without reading it, we assume her story will be life-affirming and meaningful and touching and wonderful. Or possibly dark and depressing but still touching and wonderful. We mean this sincerely. Her New World
terrifically good, and her reader guides are really funny, so we know her newest novel will be amazing. We suspect the storyline won't involve werewolves or vampires, angels or shape-shifting garage mechanics, so it may struggle to find an audience… but the good guys win on occasion so we have our fingers crossed for her.
Won't we be surprised if we discover the new novel is all about shape-shifting werewolf angels who want nasty sex with garage mechanics?
Because of her prodigious output, we suspect that C.P. is becoming another Stephen King or Isaac Asimov, unable to get through the day without drumming out a quick 15,000 words on the word processor. If so, good luck to her and we'll continue to follow her career. Our average literary output? 500-1000 words on a good day. On a really good day, 1500 words. We haven’t had any really good days of late.
Now, if you’ll excuse us, we have to get back to working on our latest novel.
…and he’s an author, and a playwright, and a thinker of thinks. You don’t have to take our word for it. He uses those same words on his website
Anyone who bills himself as a thinker of thinks
has a sense of humor and, a few weeks ago, we started searching for someone who knew how to laugh. Most importantly, we wanted someone (a) with a sense of humor; who was (b) sane; and (c) willing to review self-published writing.
There are very few people who meet these standards. Here’s why: If you’re sane, why in God’s name would you ever offer to review self-published writing?
There’s no upside to it. If a reviewer is honest and loves a piece, everyone will dismiss what they’ve written because, hey, the thing was self-published. How good can it be? If the reviewer is honest and hates a piece, he or she will get nothing but grief from the author and the author’s fans. (This won’t happen with us, though. In order to develop an aggressive fan base, you have to have fans.)
There was nothing on his website to suggest that P.C. had stripped a few gears so we asked if he’d review Frankenstein, P.I.
The tale has sold a few copies here and there, but no one has ever shared their opinion with the world at large. We love our story and think it’s funny but we also think Crank: High Voltage
is hilarious so our taste is more than a little suspect.
We just wanted some input. Good, bad, or indifferent, we’d decided that even a bad review would be less depressing than no
reviews. In hindsight, we’ve decided we could be wrong about that last sentiment, by the way. We could be very, very wrong.
After we emailed Paul, looking for a review, he wrote back to ask if Frankie was really, truly polished and in shape for a review. This is not something a reviewer typically asks an author unless that author is also his own publisher. Clearly, P.C. had already been exposed to the indie world and he’d learned to ask a few questions.
When the review went live a couple of days ago, all he said was, Here’s the review!
with a link attached. He didn’t say if he loved the story or if he hated it so, naturally, we realized he despised our words and wanted us to die. Even before we read his thoughts, we knew we wanted to use our experience for a blog post so we asked him why, exactly, he was willing to review self-published writing.
This is what he told us: “I spent a few years reviewing theatrical productions while living in Chicago, and I really love it. I think reviewers can be such a fascinating, useful part of the process (as long as the reviewer is knowledgeable and fair). I’ll also admit that it’s a selfish thing: I’m currently writing a novel. Authors, readers, and anyone else who is picking up my review or your book would be a part of the community. When my novel comes out, I don’t want anyone to ask, ‘Well, why should I pick it up? What has the guy done for anyone?’ I want them to know that I’ve got the authority to write a novel because I read and love literature of all kinds. And finally…hey, free books!”
We get the “free books” thing but, on reflection, this really makes us look bad. Unlike Mr. Cosca, we don’t
read and love literature of all kinds. (Ulysses
by James Joyce? The Modern Library ranked it #1
on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. Renee threatened to stab herself in the eye if she had to finish reading it.) Plus, we haven’t done all that much for all that many people but, please note, we did put two quarters and a nickel in the March of Dimes jar last year.
Since our initial question was a bust, we tried to relate with Paul on a more personal level. Writer-to-writer, we asked him if he had any “forgotten treasures” hidden inside his word processor. You know, works that he’d written but that had been ignored by the world around him. Kind of like, y’know, Frankie.
He said, “The first full length play I wrote was an adaption of Christopher Marlowe’s Faust
.” We had to stop him there. We’re trying to connect with the guy but, seriously, FAUST? He adapted a masterpiece, written during Shakespeare’s time, filled with subtext and riddled with blank verse? This
was his hidden gem?
“I did a reading of it that was well-received,” Paul told us. “It had a lot of really great moments and some serious potential. But in the end, it will take a full rewrite to get it done.”
But, once he rewrites it, it’s going to be this hot action piece, The Faust and the Furious
, where Police Officer Brian O’Conner has to make a deal with the Devil, as played by Vin Diesel –
And that’s because his version is actually a lighthearted romantic comedy, 50 Faust Dates
, where commitment-phobe Henry Roth meets the Devil, as played by Drew Barrymore –
As it turns out, P.C. might like to laugh but he’s just a more serious writer than either member of our team. Always has been, probably always will be.
But can a thinker of thinks enjoy the nonsense that is Frankenstein, P.I.
? His review is here
...and we're guessing you don't, either.
We were having a very good day yesterday until, suddenly, it wasn't good at all.
Our thoughts and hearts and sympathies go out to everyone who was affected by the terribleness in Boston. Which is, really, all of us.
So, so sad.