While watching the musical version of Bullets Over Broadway, I couldn’t help but identify with the frustrated playwright, David, who stars in it. After he spends years perfecting his plot, character, and dialogue, a luddite gangster fixes all its shortcomings with only half-attention. I think all artists fear the emergence of someone both more talented and less self-conscious than themselves who reveals their own fatuous self-absorption.
In The Big Short, the screenwriters pull off a remarkable trick: getting the audience to root for a bunch of guys who got rich betting we’d all lose our jobs & houses & 401Ks.
I’ve always wanted to write a story starring an anti-hero. Now I have a new class of villain to consider: the winner-take-all capitalist.
After sending out a dozen review copies, I saw my first result today: 4 stars (of 5) from crime thriller hound. Not a bad start. Thanks to the reviewers for the approbation.
A dozen friends, family and coworkers joined me to celebrate the release of my first book (though I think my wife’s shortbread was the real draw).
Finally laid hands on my new book. Feels good.
Several weeks ago, my wife sent notices to every mystery bookstore we could find (nearly fifty) about my new book. Days later, they started coming back marked “Return to Sender, Address Unknown” (cue the Elvis soundtrack). For the next several weeks, they kept coming, until nearly a third returned. At first, I felt depressed at the failure of my marketing plan. Last time I trust the internet, I thought. Then I found another website listing a dozen more, and all but a few proved current, so I took the old fliers, stuffed them in new envelopes, and rereturned them. Recycling at its best.
A week before my first novel was set to debut, I learned that my website had been hacked. Apparently, I also sell pictures of little boys. When I tried to fix it myself, WP gave me an unintelligible strand of directions, so I enlisted my friend Don, who helped me build the site. Even he was stumped how to fix it.
This reminds me of an anecdote told to me by a friend who worked in Silicon Valley during the first boom. Computers now are like cars 100 years ago when there were no service stations or roadside assistance to help if things went wrong. Instead, everybody got to be his own mechanic.
Unfortunately, all I ever wanted to be was an author.
From watching “Younger,” the funny new sitcom about a single mother in her 40s who pretends to be 28 so she can land a job in publishing, I’m learning a great deal about selling books. For example, I knew that social media was key, but I didn’t know it had to involve nudity. On the show, Joyce Carol Oates uses “Topless Tuesday” to promote her latest release. Maybe I’ll co-opt the idea, such as with Wicked Wednesday or Murderous Monday.