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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Just a few days away

What good does advertising do? I suppose, in the long run, advertising does little to change the course of things. People, after all, make up their minds about what is a good book, or great literature, or not worth their efforts, or an assault on their senses. And they do so without anyone telling them what to read - or do they?

As a case in point, I'd like to tell (or actually to retell) my account of John Kennedy Toole, and his great book, A Confederacy of Dunces. This was a a book, written long-hand on yellow legal paper (yes, really). After writing this book, John Kennedy Toole tried to get it published. But can you even imagine what that took? Imagine, if you will, taking his tome to publishing houses, where the front office people found it so much easier to reject it outright, than to try to read it. Well, it didn't take too long for Mr. Toole to become discouraged with the whole process, and he did, in fact commit suicide. But fortunately for us, the story doesn't end there. His mother took up where he left off, but her will was more than the combined efforts of the publishing world could bear. In a bit of a pique, the publisher of one such house agreed, if this woman would simply go away, to read it (or at least the beginning of it), and then she could go back to her life, knowing that the book was looked at by one of the greats. Well, as it turned out, this publisher started reading those yellow legal pages, and he read, and he read further, and he couldn't stop. He then, with the mother's permission, agreed on the spot to publish the book.

With a final bit of irony, after it was published, the book won a Pulitzer prize - awarded to John Kennedy Toole posthumously. And I can promise you, that if you start reading this amazingly funny, humane and intelligent masterpiece, that you will, like the publisher, not be able to put it down. And like a great wine, it lingers on the palette for a good long while.

And what does advertising have to do with any of this? Well, once he agreed to publish the book, he had to figure on getting the word out about this unknown author and his great novel - and so he did, and the rest is history. And the world of publishing has now changed. Except for the few large publishing houses, book promotion is now pretty much left up to the individual authors, and many of us do not have the time (nor the inclination, nor the expertise) to pursue such things.

Which brings me back to my own efforts in promoting my own second trilogy. I'm going to have a book signing bash at Barnes & Noble, in Rogers, AR this coming Saturday (Aug 8th), from 1 - 3 PM.
So, what I'm telling you is that I would really like to see a great turn-out there this Saturday, and surprise the store manager with the number of people coming out to see this unknown author. 

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