Monday, August 27, 2012


Or, “Getting your Hustle On”
Never a comfortable subject for an author as we so revel in being introverts that we adamantly shun drawing attention to ourselves. Though a clever person could argue that by the mere virtue of sending our stories out into the world we do draw attention to ourselves and interact with the public on fairly intimate level. But, for argument’s sake, let’s pretend no such clever person is around to point that out.

My lovely publishers, Untreed Reads, have given me some pointers on helping them, and me, promote my work. They’re quite good at getting review copies out and the pitch emails and other marketing things I know little of, but there is an area where an author can help out, namely: Libraries!

I have a list of all the libraries in the country and I’m slowly contacting each and every one of them - those that carry e-books - and asking them to please carry “The Fountain Pen”.

It’s a slow process, but not without it’s own interest. I’m finding such a variety of public libraries out there; some are small but deeply involved with their community, almost like a focal point, others are very large in major metropolitan areas where I run into very different attitudes. One big, library system sent a nice note to my query, while another large library sent an almost snide one saying they only buy materials that have gotten favorable reviews by the major reviewers.

Does that mean their library is smaller on the inside than the outside? Or does it mean those small libraries, one of which very excitedly emailed to say they were adding my story to their collection, are in fact much bigger on the inside than on the outside?

Either way, I am enjoying being part of the process that gets my stories and my name out there. If you like “The Fountain Pen” perhaps you could suggest it to your favorite library.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Memorable Lines

A recent article in the New Scientist mentioned a team at Cornell University had taught a computer to identify memorable movie one-liners. Such as “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine”. We all know that one from Casablanca.

Apparently the goal of having taught the computer to ferret out these memorable lines is to - possibly - help politicians come up with truly memorable slogans to boost their campaigns.

What researchers found is that the quotes that stick in our minds ‘contain surprising combinations of words but at the same time use a structure that is common’.

I wonder when some enterprising writer will decide that this software is just what (s)he needs to come up with a memorable book title. Another catch phrase to boost sales. Or how about more catchy chapter headings and while we’re at it, how about those first lines of each chapter? But if all our lines are memorable won’t that mean our audience gets overloaded and won’t remember any?

Even Casablanca only has two memorable lines in it. The one I quoted at the top from the beginning of the movie and then the one at the end, ‘.. this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship’.

More than that would be too much of a good thing and spoil the fun.