Attention, Please.

Question:  “What are you trying to say when you are up on stage?”

Answer:  “Look at me.”

Despite heroic efforts on my part, I cannot find the source of this quote, but I’m 98%  certain I remember Pete Townshend sayingtumblr_nmnqf2JrQD1twgs4wo2_500 it during  an interview some years or decades ago.

Whether that’s true or not, it certainly sounds like Pete.

It’s funny just how often people ask that question: what are you trying to say? It’s not so hard to understand perhaps when asked of performance artists or interpretive dancers, but people ask it of writers as well, and that is a little odd because most writers are already saying what they’re trying to say.

“If you could put what your’e trying to say into words…”

“Hmm…”

Of course, what they mean is other words. You’ve created this work of fiction. You must have a point, a purpose, an underlying message. That’s another version of the same question: what is your message? Continue reading “Attention, Please.”

Marketable Me

I think I know you.

Let me guess.

You’ve written a book. Not a how-to book or a technical manual on metal fatigue and stress damage, but a work of fiction. A labor of love. You crafted and plotted, wrote and rewrote. You had friends read it, and then you rewrote it some more. You had it professionally edited and professionally formatted. You hired a professional cover artist to make you a terrific eye-catching cover. And then, when everything was perfect, you released it. You told everyone on Facebook and Twitter and everywhere else you could think of, and everyone said the same things: It’s great! It’s beautiful! Congratulations! I’m going to buy it!

A lot of them did, too, and some wrote you nice reviews. It was great.You felt so good.

And then? Then nothing. A month or so goes by, and you’ve flat-lined. The babbling brook of occasional sales has slowed to a maddening sporadic faucet drip. You chewaiting gifck Amazon, waiting to see if your number has ticked up.

Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

All right, full disclosure: maybe you didn’t follow all of the steps. Maybe you didn’t hire an editor, and maybe you made your own cover from a CreateSpace template.  But my first book Spark was originally published by Lycaon Press before they went belly-up, so it got the full treatment. In spite of professional editing and the professional cover, it still languishes on the pages of Amazon.com, showing all the vigor of a disoriented tree-sloth.

Continue reading “Marketable Me”