If you just tuned in, you may wonder what the hell I’m talking about. It was not quite a year ago, in the wake of a couple of November marketing campaigns called Black Friday and Cyber Monday, that I tried a bit of counter-programming, proclaimed it to be Orange Wednesday, and gave something away. Wednesday has been intermittently Orange ever since.
Recently a friend reported an exchange at an online discussion group for self-published writers. Why, someone wondered, did Lawrence Block keep giving away stories? Didn’t the old boy value literature?
The rejoinder, by one of self-publishing’s true Poster Boys: “Maybe he values readers.”
Truth to tell, I value both. And on this most orange of Wednesdays it’s my pleasure to give away a story that puts a clear cash value on literature. “One Thousand Dollars a Word” ran in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine in 1978, and has had a lot of anthology pickups over the years. It especially seems to resonate with writers.
And for the next several days it’s absolutely free, and you don’t even have to wait until the middle of the night for Amazon to mark it down from $2.99 to $0.00. It’s already there, and a mouse click or two will make it yours.
Very generous of you, but I’ve already read it.
So? It’s even better the second time around. And there’s a little something extra that comes with it. The story’s ending is a surprise (though probably less so if you’ve already read it) but the real surprise comes afterward—in the form of the first chapter of a book you haven’t read. Ever.
Speaking of books you haven’t read yet, The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons is already generating a lot of buzz, no end of pre-orders for the eBook and HandsomeTradePaperback, and a steady stream of orders for the signed-and-numbered Limited Edition. At this point, numbers #1 to #224 are assigned—and so is #1000. (One of y’all, operating on the “If you can’t be first, be last” principle, asked for #1000. And yes, if you have a number you’d especially like, and if nobody’s already snapped it up, we’ll lock it down for you upon receipt of your payment.)
As you may recall, each book’s limitation page will bear, along with my signature and your individual number, a 33¢ US Personal Postage stamp, and because the manufacturer just delivered the stamps, it’s my pleasure to show you a sheet of them. Nice, huh?
A reminder—the Spoons Limited’s on eBay. That’s probably the simplest way to order it, but we’ll also accept direct payment by PayPal (to email@example.com) . Or, within the US, you may send a check payable to me to 299 W 12 #12-D, New York NY 10014. When we receive payment, we’ll email a confirmation that will include your book’s number.
Whew. While I’m not without experience in publishing my own work, The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons takes it to a whole new level—if level’s the right term for such a vertiginous landscape. Yesterday I picked the cloth for the limited edition. I’d settled earlier on dark green faux-leather, but do you have any idea how many shades and textures one has to choose from? Neither did I. Same for the special 80# stock for the limitation pages. The whole process is like an eye examination. “Can you read the top line? No? Is this better? Or this?”
And I seem to have interviews scheduled every day. (And if you’d like to book one: firstname.lastname@example.org.) In a couple of hours I’ll be sitting down with a reporter from one of the book industry’s leading trade publications, to talk about Bernie’s excellent adventure and my own leap of faith in launching it on my own. I don’t know what tomorrow might hold, but then I never do, and isn’t that the great thing about tomorrow?
Back to today, this unrhymably Orange Wednesday. One Thousand Dollars a Word is there for your Kindle, free as the breeze. (But remember, if you’re outside the US, to go to the appropriate Amazon site—amazon.ca, amazon.uk, amazon.de, amazon.fr, amazon.es, amazon.jp, amazon.br, amazon.mx, amazon.in, amazon.it—hey, what do you mean, world domination? They’re just bringing books and readers together, dude! You got a problem with that?)
Enjoy the story, and the sneak preview that follows it. And thanks for reading this. I appreciate it. See, the fellow was right. I do value readers…