Tag Archives: John Grisham

Imagicopter

One of the hardest things for a writer to do has nothing at all to do with writing. Actually, ask most writers and they’ll tell you writing is the easy part. It’s all the stuff that comes after that’s so hard! Even the most successful writers today who are blessed with hard-working marketing departments didn’t always have it that way. Many of them remember the day of doing all their own marketing.

At one of the sessions at this past Arkansas Writers Conference, I talked about the art of shameless self-promotion. The funny thing is that most writers aren’t the naturally super-social kind of folks. Most writers would prefer being stuck in a room full of books…alone. Just toss in some food every now and again. But in order to successfully promote, they gotta get past that and walk outside and see people…and the sun.

Writers have to aggressively do everything in their power to promote and sell their work. I could go on about that, but this blog isn’t about that. Maybe some other date, but in a nutshell writers have to do what they can to target newspapers, radio, television and the internet.

I’ve recently become associated with a loose conglomeration of writers (and a few artists) who have banded together in an effort to pool resources when it comes to marketing, especially for those in the small press. Imagicopter is the name of the group and is the brainchild of author H. David Blalock. Basically what happens is that authors join the group, supply bio material for the website (check out my page), and then participate in special “events.” The cool thing is that it can often be difficult for a single small press writer to have a signing as bookstores are often reluctant to put a lot of time and energy into a session for a single unknown or little-known writer. However, if they can promote 4-15 (depending on space available for them) authors at the same time, then that becomes an author “event” and they’re more likely to put time, energy and effort into it.

One of the neat things is the wide variety of authors there. One of my fellow BCW pals also participates in Imagicopter.

Over the course of the last near-year, I’ve participated in events in which Imagicopter was also there (that’s how I met them, after all) and I’ve participated in events with Imagicopter. I’m completely sold on this idea and wonder why this wasn’t done much before now. If you’re a writer in the southern area and your name isn’t John Grisham, I highly recommend you check out Imagicopter’s site and see what it’s all about.

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Coming to terms with Shakespeare

Shakespeare is one of the very few writers, historical or otherwise, that everyone knows but so few have read. Or, for many of those who did the required reading in high school, have forgotten everything they learned. When I read Shakespeare in high school, I hated it. The language was old “King James” English with the thees and thous and I not only couldn’t understand all the language, but I certainly couldn’t figure out what it all meant. Needless to say, I didn’t do well.

When I got to college, Shakespeare was a required course of English majors. It was a requirement that I take it…I dreaded it with a passion. As luck would have it however, I had a teacher who really loved Shakespeare and explained it so that it made sense to me. It wasn’t necessarily a lot easier to read, but I could actually make some sense out of what was going on. Then I liked it.

Both my high school teacher and my college professor talked about how brilliant Shakespeare was and his work is both brilliant and ground-breaking and all that other hooey. I’m not suggesting it wasn’t…but there’s more to the story.

Writing professors talk about how brilliant Shakespeare was and how we should emulate him (his brilliance anyway if not the actual words). HOWEVER, in the same breath, many of them decry “commercial” fiction as if it weren’t worthy. They praise Shakespeare and condemn (if not gently, cause Universities are now “nice” universities, everyone trying to just get along and all) the John Grishams, Stephen Kings and Andrew Vaachs in the same breath.

Truth of the matter is, however, that Shakespeare was a very commercial writer. He wrote for the masses. He wasn’t trying to create literature, he wasn’t trying to create “art.” Nope. Shakespeare was trying to MAKE MONEY—and if that isn’t the definition of commercial, what is? So, how then, can we reconcile that fact? Will John Grisham, Stephen King, et al., be considered “literature” in 400 years? Many literature professors would tell you that they certainly hope not. If that’s the case (and it generally is, right?), they how can they sing Shakespeare’s praises in the same voice?

What it all comes down to, really, is a matter of taste. If the masses like Grisham, does that mean he’s “bad?” Not at all. But why doesn’t that mean he’s high art? It all comes down to the old saying: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I’ve written comic books that have sold more copies than many of these so-called “literary” writers. As a writer, I’ve got enough ego in me (oh come on! ALL writers have SOME ego!) that I’d rather more people READ me than not. And, I’d rather them read my work…while I’m still alive! Of course, that’s just one man’s opinion.

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