?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Howard Hughes vs. the Amazon Sales Rank

Hot yesterday, and it looks like more hot today. Summer finally found us, halfway through the summer.

A strange sort of day yesterday. I only managed 616 words on "January 28, 1926," before the swelter of the office got to me. I could no longer trust that I was putting the words where they belonged, or that they were even the correct words. So Spooky and I left the House, venturing Outside, where it was not quite so hot. We drove down to Beavertail on Conanicut Island. The wind was wonderfully cool. We followed the trail leading north from the northernmost parking lot, through the woods, along the fairy trail to the field on the other side. The tide was coming in, and the surf was rough, wild, sending white spray up and out across the slick black stone. We watched herrings gulls and cormorants and smaller sea birds until it was almost too dark to see. I think we reached Beavertail about 7 p.m., so it must have been well after 8 p.m. when we headed back to Providence. But it was only a little time with the sea, and I need so much more just now.

This book, The Red Tree, I don't think I've ever before had such a feeling that I was selling a book one goddamn copy at a time, by hand. And, here, I mean all the promotion that I've taken upon myself (because who else would ever do it?). Most of the summer has gone into promoting it, and I obsessively watch the sales rank at Amazon. It goes way up, then it drops precipitously. It goes up, and for an hour or three I have hope. Then it plunges again, and hope is pulled apart and scattered to the winds. This is the reality of publishing. None of the romance is left to me, I think. Only these numbers, the fear of these numbers. And I ask, if you haven't yet pre-ordered, please do so today. Thanks.

I'd not meant the comments I made yesterday to spiral into some sort of debate over "paranormal romance." I'd thought there would, instead, be discussion of Plate XV and a certain dubious bit of film. But what I intend to happen, and what actually happens...often they bear little resemblance to one another. I won't retract anything I said, because it was well thought out, and I meant what was said, and if I may not speak my mind in this blog, then it has no value, not to me and not to anyone else. I will add a couple of points, though. There were protests that it's not fair to compare what is obviously junk food to the gourmet stuff. That it's like, oh, comparing a B sf film to Dr. Zhivago. And yes, I will agree. I myself occasionally enjoy bad food and bad movies (though not so much bad writing). And this is fine. Just as long as we do not delude ourselves into believing that because we like Big Macs, because they make us feel good, that they are actually, you know, good food. And these books I speak of, they are literary candy bars, and if you subsist only on a steady diet of them, your brain will rot as surely as if it were only made of the stuff of teeth. Bah, I really don't feel like talking about this anymore. Though, I will add this, a marvelous quote from Liz Williams (mevennen):

I am occasionally asked to do a talk on the Gothic, and one of my pet peeves is the continual process of making the other safe. Once, unicorns were savage destroyers that slew anything that wasn't a virgin. Vampires were a horde of rats, or smoke. Angels eviscerated those who did not believe the word of God with flaming swords.

And now they're our imaginary friends, who have nothing better to do than schlep around being our 'totems.' I do, sometimes, feel that pagans have debased the great powers far more effectively than any Christian fundamentalist ever has. I work, on occasion, with Sekhmet, who is not to me a symbol of modern women's empowerment, but something huge and distant and remote. Like Aslan, not a tame lion. I think we need to get the 'awwww' out of 'awe', and pretty damn quick, too.


Which really gets to the heart of it all, much better than I managed to do.

The Very Special Auction auction continues. I should add, this is the only ARC of The Red Tree I will be auctioning.

And there are photos from yesterday:





From the field above the sea, looking south to the lighthouse.



Thistle!



Looking south across Cambrian slate towards the lighthouse.



View to the west, looking back up towards the field.



I cannot get enough of this view.



Homeward bound, crossing the Jamestown Bridge, driving into the setting sun.



One of my favorite lighthouses, Plum Beach Light, built in 1899; below the west end of the Jamestown Bridge. View to the northeast.

Comments

( 35 comments — Have your say! )
jtglover
Jul. 28th, 2009 06:05 pm (UTC)
My big question, which I was hesitant to ask yesterday but for which time has apparently given me courage, is how you feel about comparisons between the Gable film and things like Cloverfield or The Blair Witch Projects. I enjoyed the Gable film, and it was disquieting by its randomness (the lack of sound didn't hurt either).

In general, I'm curious to see how having considered the evidence will affect my reading of the book. Which then makes me wonder about whether any potential limited editions might have the evidence incorporated in some way...

In re: junk, Michael Pollan makes the very good point in The Omnivore's Dilemma that much of what lines grocery store aisles is not actually food, even if it may look like it at first glance. It's one or possibly even two generations removed from actual cut-from-the-cow or plucked-from-the-soil. Much the same could be said for the literary candy bar.
greygirlbeast
Jul. 28th, 2009 06:09 pm (UTC)

In re: junk, Michael Pollan makes the very good point in The Omnivore's Dilemma that much of what lines grocery store aisles is not actually food, even if it may look like it at first glance. It's one or possibly even two generations removed from actual cut-from-the-cow or plucked-from-the-soil. Much the same could be said for the literary candy bar.

Bingo.

My big question, which I was hesitant to ask yesterday but for which time has apparently given me courage, is how you feel about comparisons between the Gable film and things like Cloverfield or The Blair Witch Projects.

The comparisons are inescapable. And as I am a fan of both Cloverfield and The Blair With Project (first film; had enough sense not to see the second), not unwelcome, though I know people are jaded. I love metafiction, and I'm always willing the play along.
(no subject) - jtglover - Jul. 28th, 2009 06:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Jul. 28th, 2009 06:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
One More Question - jtglover - Jul. 28th, 2009 07:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: One More Question - greygirlbeast - Jul. 28th, 2009 07:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: One More Question - jtglover - Jul. 28th, 2009 07:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
edwarddain
Jul. 28th, 2009 06:14 pm (UTC)
I personally have always noted the link between "awe" and "awful" and pointed that out. Plus the great line that some character someplace made (I'm thinking it was in the old Hellblazer comic back in the 80's) where the character made the observation that in the Bible the first thing angels ever said was "Fear Not."

Which, I must admit, I've never fact-checked, but it always made sense to me.

I've made a similar observation about the whankfest that some parts of Neopaganism and Leathersex/BDSM has become regarding *cue scary music* doing Jungian Shadow-work. Unfortunately instead of using the Shadow to discuss fears and experiences of Darkness within us most of it has become self-absorbed discussion with the Shadow about itself.

Which entirely misses the point, and becomes masturbatory mirror-gazing.
greygirlbeast
Jul. 28th, 2009 06:41 pm (UTC)

Which, I must admit, I've never fact-checked, but it always made sense to me.


There's a quote from The Angels of Bastogne by Gilbert Morris, "Funny thing, every time an angel appeared to someone in the Bible, the first thing he'd say was, "Fear not." ... I guess they were pretty spectacular." But no, I can't speak to the veracity of that comment, either.

Edited at 2009-07-28 06:42 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - martianmooncrab - Jul. 28th, 2009 07:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Jul. 28th, 2009 07:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - edwarddain - Jul. 28th, 2009 07:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
philrossimusic
Jul. 28th, 2009 06:24 pm (UTC)
Promotion
Just a quick line--I follow you on Twitter (my handle is @philrossi) and I applaud how you are taking a big, fistful of the promotional reigns. I dig seeing established authors using social network tools to enhance their fan outreach. It's had an inspiring impact on my writing and self-promotion.

I believe you when you say it feels like you are selling one book at a time. I had my publishing debut several weeks back. With a marketing budget of '0' I still managed to reach #1 in Movers and Shakers, #5 in Horror, and #52 overall on the Amazon.com best seller lists when my fans "rushed the charts." Truly, it was an act of selling one book at a time. It becomes an obsessive activity and by the second week of July, I felt more like a pimp than a writer--minus the cane, fun hat, and white fur coat. I hate numbers, but numbers aren't going away.

Enough rambling.

Keep it up, you are kicking ass, and have inspired me to go preorder your book right now.

Oh..and another thing. My sister lives in Jamestown and now you've got me thinking about Beavertail and the Ganny!

Warmest regards,
Phil Rossi

-----
www.crescentstation.net
greygirlbeast
Jul. 28th, 2009 06:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Promotion

Just a quick line--I follow you on Twitter (my handle is @philrossi) and I applaud how you are taking a big, fistful of the promotional reigns. I dig seeing established authors using social network tools to enhance their fan outreach. It's had an inspiring impact on my writing and self-promotion.

Thanks for saying so. See, I have this dread that people are perceiving me as a spammer, and I've been worried about that, how I'm using Twitter.

ruly, it was an act of selling one book at a time. It becomes an obsessive activity and by the second week of July, I felt more like a pimp than a writer--minus the cane, fun hat, and white fur coat. I hate numbers, but numbers aren't going away.

I think it's weighing so on me right now because I've been at this since 1998, when Penguin released my first novel. Since then, they've released six (counting The Red Tree), and there have been many, many books from other publishers, and I'm exhausted, and it just seems it should have gotten easier, not harder. I know there's no truth to that. For most of us, it never gets any easier, but still.


Oh..and another thing. My sister lives in Jamestown and now you've got me thinking about Beavertail and the Ganny!


Jamestown is one of the places I wish I'd moved instead of Providence.
catvalente
Jul. 28th, 2009 06:41 pm (UTC)
I am personally dying to read this book. I can't afford to buy much of anything, but I'm going to buy this when it comes out.

And that excitement is due to your marketing efforts. So...it's not in vain?

Edited at 2009-07-28 06:42 pm (UTC)
greygirlbeast
Jul. 28th, 2009 06:47 pm (UTC)

And that excitement is due to your marketing efforts. So...it's not in vain?

Thank you. No, it's not in vain. On some level I know that. I'm just very, very tired, that's all.
(no subject) - catvalente - Jul. 28th, 2009 06:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Jul. 28th, 2009 06:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - catvalente - Jul. 28th, 2009 07:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mercurygrrl - Jul. 28th, 2009 08:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
ardiril
Jul. 28th, 2009 07:59 pm (UTC)
Keep feeding us quality content and we will continue linking to it and retweeting it.
greygirlbeast
Jul. 28th, 2009 08:11 pm (UTC)

Keep feeding us quality content and we will continue linking to it and retweeting it.

I will certainly try. There's something new in the works even now...
mevennen
Jul. 28th, 2009 07:59 pm (UTC)
You're very welcome! It was an extremely interesting discussion.
greygirlbeast
Jul. 28th, 2009 08:13 pm (UTC)
You're very welcome! It was an extremely interesting discussion.

The "get the 'awwwe' out of 'awe'" bit, that was brilliant.

Edited at 2009-07-28 08:13 pm (UTC)
sovay
Jul. 28th, 2009 10:41 pm (UTC)
I think we need to get the 'awwww' out of 'awe', and pretty damn quick, too.

Amen.

That is some lovely Cambrian slate.
greygirlbeast
Jul. 28th, 2009 10:43 pm (UTC)

That is some lovely Cambrian slate.

If only it were not so devoid of fossils.
(no subject) - sovay - Jul. 28th, 2009 10:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Jul. 28th, 2009 10:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cucumberseed - Jul. 29th, 2009 02:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
kennydoogs
Jul. 29th, 2009 02:16 am (UTC)
In regards to, "The Red Tree"...I have already purchased my copy. I work at a Borders here in NYC and we received our copies(without a laydown or strict release date)...so I bought mine a few hours ago.
greygirlbeast
Jul. 29th, 2009 02:47 am (UTC)

In regards to, "The Red Tree"...I have already purchased my copy. I work at a Borders here in NYC and we received our copies(without a laydown or strict release date)...so I bought mine a few hours ago.

Thank you.

Yeah, the reports of sightings keep coming in. So much for street dates.
(no subject) - alumiere - Jul. 29th, 2009 10:04 am (UTC) - Expand
lady_theadora
Jul. 29th, 2009 03:53 am (UTC)
I've also been wondering about how the Evidence will influence my reading of "The Red Tree." I often research allusions and references in books I've enjoyed after reading them. I think it will be a different experience, having this kind of foreknowledge.

That being said, this promotional campaign has me really psyched to read the book. New books should be able generate excitement and "buzz" just as well as new movies.

And the addition of the Gable film to the site has lent "The Red Tree" a Navidson vibe for me, and that is a good thing!
greygirlbeast
Jul. 29th, 2009 04:01 am (UTC)

That being said, this promotional campaign has me really psyched to read the book. New books should be able generate excitement and "buzz" just as well as new movies.

That was my thought, precisely.

"Evidence" will continue to appear on the website after the release date, by the way.
tinkbell
Jul. 29th, 2009 10:29 am (UTC)
I love Beavertail. It's my favorite beach in RI, so thanks for leading me back there. I'm sure there are others but this is because of the ways and circumstances I've gone there, usually along with a group of close friends at night once a year. Without a car or the ability to hang out much, I usually settle for two beach-visits a year - one in the day and one at night - so I remember most details of them...the woods, little dunes after which people have fires (our only one was borrowed from a leftover site), and the walking, swimming, and looking.
( 35 comments — Have your say! )