The Reluctant Bookmonger

When I was in high school, NBC bought the rights to air Jurassic Park, and for weeks leading up, they told everyone it was their “dino duty” to tune in that Sunday night and watch.

Nobody ever got boiled in a deep fat fryer for that. Decades later, I still wonder why.

Dino duty.

My novel comes out two months from today. As I get the word out, I’m anxious I might commit some marketing atrocity.

The Killbug Eulogies: part of this complete breakfast!

(FYI: I totally started a fire in the kitchen making that.)

Writing books, for all the mysticism surrounding it, is mostly showing up to work and putting your time in. The selling of books, on the other hand, is striking the earth and hoping something valuable wells up. If it doesn’t, am I having bad luck, or am I looking in the wrong place entirely? I may not have enough experience to know for sure.

A book is a product. You have to package and promote it like every other thing on the internet’s digital shelves. If you don’t do this, all the work is for nothing.

Work that starts when you sit down to create a goofy story you hope will distract and entertain. Somewhere in the fourth edit, you discover things about yourself, like how you are both stronger and more damaged than you imagined. The jokes you tell are sad in ways you hadn’t noticed, your tragedies have a witty insolence that makes them a joy. When you share these stories, you are delighted to find that some people get it: they’ve experienced the same wonder, the same life-fatigue, the same desire to twist and break the frustrating bits of reality. This connection becomes the purpose of what you’ve been doing all along.

But you realize if you want to get the book out there (and have the resources to write a sequel), you have to knock on a lot of doors and ask a lot of favors.

The conundrum: you can try to have a human moment with someone, or you can sell them something, but you can’t do both, right?

You kinda have to do both.

Look, I know this isn’t the rift in time and space I am making it out to be. If books don’t look for readers, readers will never find the books they are looking for. Everybody knows this. But I still feel like a T-rex with dino duty in his teeth.

Here’s my solution: I’m going to try to “art” myself out of embarrassment. The Killbug Eulogies is about a deep-space mission to a eradicate a hive of six-foot praying mantises in the far corner of the galaxy, so I’d like to do a promotion in the form of a news article covering the outset of the venture: who is involved, where and why they are shipping out, in what cartoonishly gruesome ways they can expect to die. Everything you’d need to know about the plot and characters. Plus the impish graphics and photos I like to use on this blog.

Unfortunately, I had this idea ten minutes ago, so it’ll have to wait for another week. To convince you to go buy this. (No pressure.)

Leave a Reply