Post Vacation Thoughts – and The Types of People Who Should Buy My Book If You Haven’t Already Done So

MaineI went on vacation. We went to Maine and ate a lot of things from the ocean that once lived in shells. As in, if it was in a shell at some point, I ate it. Or tried to. And pizza. Don’t ask me why, but pizza in Montreal is mostly bad. Maine isn’t quite on the Pizza Belt but we found enough good pizza to wonder if perhaps Maine shouldn’t be included. Perhaps it’s on the periphery. Or the shadow. Or the shadow of the shadow. The Pizza Shadow. Sounds like a bad noir involving a hard-bitten Italian gumshoe. Pizza and shell fish. One day, I ate a one pound crab roll as a snack. As a filling crazy delicious snack. It was a good vacation. I read a study about how productivity rises post-vacation and I look forward to that because I have some things to finish, including the first draft of my next novel. Which is, maybe, a third of the way done (first draft only so…), if I’m being charitable. And not beating myself up. (Waiting for the Man went through 9 drafts just to put the above in some kind of perspective.)

maine1

I went to some lovely bookstores in Maine. None of them carried my book. This bugged me. I want to be more than a chain store guy in the US (and I know that a large number of Barnes & Nobles carry the book). Then again, the book has hardly been reviewed in the US. I’m published by a smallish Canadian press so I’m not surprised. Even though 98% of the book takes place in the US. So this got me thinking: who would like my book? I thought even of making a Venn Diagram, or any kind of diagram, because diagrams make difficult things more palatable (or pretty), but this isn’t a diagram thing. A look at the list below will tell you why.

These are the groups of people who might enjoy my book:

People who like reading books.
People who are heading to the beach.
People who need a summer book.
People who live in New York City.
People who live in any of the places along this map.
People who have had sex in public restrooms. In Wyoming.
People in Montana.
People who work in marketing.
People who work in advertising.
People who work in social media.
People who think about marketing, advertising and social media.
People who kind of liked Joshua Ferris’s three books and want to kind of read all three in one place.
People who drive a Honda Odyssey.
People who have been to a dude ranch.
People who have been to especially fancy dude ranches. Like four star dude ranches. With spas.
People who eat food.
People who have picked up Japanese hitchhikers.
People who have wondered what it would be like to pick up a Japanese hitchhiker.
People who have eaten at a family-style restaurant.

I’m not surprised the book isn’t in as many stores as I’d like. There are a lot of books out there. I walk into a bookstore and I freak out a little. Because the marketplace of ideas is crowded. The marketplace of entertainment is crowded. The marketplace of diversions is crowded. The marketplace of time is crowded. We never have enough time. Even when you’re going up and down the coast of Maine stuffing yourself with lobster rolls. Or crab rolls. Or both.

And then you realize, well, your season’s over, your publisher has other books to publish, other deserving writers to pay attention to, bookstores need to stock up with more new books, because there are always more new books, writers keep writing, and as a writer, unless you’re someone like Stephen King (to stick to Maine for now), your book is “so last season” very very quickly and then, bang, you better be coming up with something else to remain new. Because if you’re not new, you’re old.

Our economy is based on growth, right? Even if eternal growth is a BIOPHYSICAL IMPOSSIBILITY. (a great turn of phrase I picked up here). I’ve always said no one writes because they want to. I feel that every time I visit a bookstore, whether it be an enormous chain, a quaint indie in a quaint town, or, well, Amazon.

Carb Roll

I’ve also been told that my first rights sale took place (while on vacation!) to a Montreal house who will publish for the Canadian (french) market. That thrills me. I can’t tell you how much that thrills me. (It hasn’t been announced yet officially but this is the publisher – they publish great looking books). To be able to discuss this en fran├žais at some point in the future, chez moi – did I mention I’m thrilled?

I am also going to be appearing at Writers Festivals in both Winnipeg and Vancouver this fall. More fun. More details to come. And more things to announce, as always.

Young's Lobster Pound

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