Or, for that matter, how galli is my maufry?
Which is simply (well, not very) to say that I have several things to recount to you, and that they’re quite unrelated, and the best I can do is number them, in the hope that this will provide an illusion of order. That helps me know how to begin, too. I’ll just start with #1 and move on from there.
1. If you’re a writer, you need to understand the business of writing. If you’d like to make a living, or even part of a living, out of your writing, you have to see it as a business and approach it in a businesslike fashion. Unfortunately, there’s no university I know of with a program leading to an MBA in writing. (What they do provide is an MFA, and that—believe me—is a very different matter.)
No, you have to earn this particular degree all by yourself. Toward that end, I’m going to recommend a ten-book StoryBundle that has just gone on offer. I’m not an uninterested party, as my own book, Writing the Novel from Plot to Print to Pixel, is one the bundle’s components. Have a look:
Here’s how it works: You click here and pay $15 for all 10 books, available in any format for any eReader—Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Apple, your smart phone, your toaster oven, whatever. (You can pay more, they do give you that option, but I can’t see why you would want to. $15 is all you have to part with.) Then you download all the books, and you’ve taken a first key step toward treating writing as a business. (My own book alone has never been offered for less than $9.99. There are two books included by Wesley Dean Smith and one by Kris Rusch that together provide as much solid business info as that mythical Writer’s MBA would give you. I’ve not yet read the others—though I certainly intend to—but know them to be clear and straightforward in their coverage of other essential aspects of the subject.
In another of my books for writers, Spider, Spin Me a Web, there’s a chapter called “An Investment in Pots and Pans.” It cites a story Zig Ziglar used to tell about a cookware salesman’s need to make a preliminary investment; you had to buy a set of the cookware yourself, he reasoned, if you were going to be able to sell it effectively. Writing doesn’t require much in the way of capital investment—a laptop, a card table, a coffee pot—but if you’re a writer with fifteen bucks to spare, you probably really ought to buy the cookware.
2. #MyFavoriteBooks. That’s a hashtag I’ve been using for a series of tweets I’ve been perpetrating every couple of days, as the spirit moves me. I don’t give blurbs, and I do my best to avoid saying anything nice about another living writer, but I’m often asked what I like to read, and thus this collection of ringing endorsements. They’re very brief on Twitter, out of necessity, and not much longer when I repost them on Facebook. But I’ve been gathering expanded versions of them into an ongoing blog post, which I update accordingly each time I pick another book to tweet about. Writers so far include Michael Shaara, Walter Tevis, Robert A. Caro, Pete Hamill, John Connolly, Richard Stark, and Thomas Flanagan. Have a look from time to time, and see if there’s something you missed—or that you’d like to read again.
3. A Walk Among the Tombstones. #10 in the Matthew Scudder series. The film (written and directed by Scott Frank, with Liam Neeson superb as Scudder) has been getting a lot of TV play lately, and no end of viewers who missed it during its theatrical run are discovering how fine a film it is. (No, it’s not the book. Elaine’s not in it, and there are some plot changes which may or may not have been a good idea. But it’s a movie, and a genuinely excellent one. The cinematography is such that they’ll be teaching this one in film schools for years.)
The film’s available in DVD in a range of formats at prices as low as $8.89. Carlos Rafael Rivera’s soundtrack can be had as an MP3 download or an audio CD. And, of course, there’s always the book itself, as an ebook or a handsome trade paperback. Finally, LB’s eBay Bookstore can supply paperbacks, foreign editions, or the movie poster—everything signed, of course.
And, to anticipate your question, there’s no prospect at present for a sequel. Liam Neeson would like to play Scudder again, and Scott Frank already has the next book in mind—but the box office numbers were not good enough to get a sequel green-lighted. (Green-lit? Never mind. If it ain’t gonna happen, who cares how we say it?)
4. Keller’s Fedora. You already know about it, and you may already have read it, but who am I to refrain from preaching to the choir? It’s the 24,000-word novella I wrote in March, sequestered in Jacksonville, and it’s on sale now as a Kindle Single for $2.99 (or free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers). My previous Kindle Single, Resume Speed, has been a bestseller, and this one’s off to an even better start—and that’s in advance of the special promotional boost Amazon gives all its Kindle Singles titles.
But will it be a book? I’ve been getting that question a lot, via email and social media, and I thought I’d answered it, but that’s no reason not to answer it again. Yes, as with Resume Speed, the ebook will remain exclusive to Kindle, with Subterranean Press scheduled to publish a hardcover trade and signed limited edition. (Subterranean’s Resume Speed has a release date of December 31, and you might be well advised to pre-order it now; their Keller’s Fedora will show up sometime in 2017.
Which leads us into…
5. New ventures in audio. I’ve found a voice artist to narrate and produce an audio version of Resume Speed, and I’ve heard enough already to make me very happy with my choice. My guess is the audiobook will be on sale before the end of June. I’ll let you know.
I’ve decided to do the same for Keller’s Fedora, which I’ve recently opened for auditions on ACX. If you’re an audiobook narrator with a home studio and want to work on a shared-royalties basis, feel free to submit an audition via the ACX site.
And if by some chance you’re a German audiobook narrator, I’d encourage you to audition for Die Sünden der Väter, the German edition of The Sins of the Fathers. While the ebook and paperback have taken their time getting a foothold in the German market, sales have picked up sharply in the past two months, and we’re encouraged to try it in audio. If we find a narrator/producer…
6. Speaking of German translations, and speaking of Resume Speed, it’s my great pleasure to announce that the latter is available in the former. Which is to say that Stefan Mommertz’s translation of Resume Speed, Mit leichtem Gepäck, is eVailable at all Amazon sites, including amazon.de and amazon.com. Stefan’s translations of the second Scudder novel, Time to Murder and Create, and the second short story, A Candle for the Bag Lady, will be along soon.
May we move from Deutsch to Español? With El hombre peligroso (their translation of Such Men Are Dangerous) on sale in ebook and paperback, the Carrington sisters have turned their attention to Matthew Scudder—specifically, the Scudder short stories. Salió por la ventana will be on sale in a matter of days, with the rest of the stories from The Night and the Music to follow. (And that’ll be La noche y la música when we bring out the entire collection.)
7. 51 Poems—or proof, if needed, that I’ve taken leave of my senses. I’ve embraced self-publishing with great delight, as y’all have no doubt noticed. But the last thing I ever wanted to do was publish something by somebody else.
Well, I seem to have gone and done the last thing. Through Facebook, I’ve become acquainted with the work of Marcus Bales, a Cleveland-based poet who composes light verse that rivals that of Ogden Nash and Morris Bishop and, oh, I don’t know. William Mackworth Praed? Marcus is a master of tricky verse forms, and wildly prolific in the bargain, twice undertaking to write and distribute (free!) a poem a day for a full month. But he’d never had a book published, and wouldn’t self-publish, and so I offered my services.
Thus 51 Poems. It’s a lovely little book, and at $9.99 that works out to less than 20¢ a poem. It is, I assure you, the first and last book of poetry I’ll ever publish, even as it’s the first and last book by someone other than myself that will ever bear the imprint of LB Productions. And yes, there’ll be an ebook edition, as soon as my Goddess of Design and Production is able to get it in shape. (And if you buy the paperback now, you’ll be able to add the ebook later at the Kindle MatchBook bargain price.)
You know what? I believe we’ve actually come to the end of our hodgepodge, that our mish is sufficiently mashed. If you’re a writer, pick up the StoryBundle—it’s available, as you might suspect, for a limited time only. If you’re a reader, pick up everything else. And, whoever you are, enjoy the long weekend and the eternal delight of spring.
PS: As always, please feel free to forward this to anyone you think might find it of interest. And, if you’ve received the newsletter in that fashion from a friend and would like your own subscription, that’s easily arranged; a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org with Newsletter in the subject line will get the job done.