Today’s Comment of the Week: The Paralegal Checks In

Wonderful Reader K.C. writes:

The Promotion is definitely my next read. My “day” job is as a paralegal and the description is genius. Can’t wait to read.

Oh boy! A paralegal! Reading about “when big law meets big trouble…” This should be interesting

promotion-final-cover

It kind of reminds me of that time I walked into the kitchen at work only to find a paralegal sitting at a table, eating potato chips and reading a book called Kill All the Lawyers. I made a joke about it, thinking she’d quickly try to hide the cover. I thought she’d be embarrassed, having been caught reading this book at a law firm.

I thought she might apologize. I thought her face might turn red.

Nope.

She looked at the cover, looked back at me, and shrugged.

And now, the powder keg of The Promotion rolls its way into a firm, looking for a good spark. I’m sure K.C. will find much to enjoy. I’m sure she works with some crazy people, and she will enjoy finding that all the lawyers in the book are crazy too. Unless only some of them are. Or maybe just one.

In any case, I hope she reports back on whether she recognizes anything familiar. (And for her sake, maybe I should hope she doesn’t…)

If you’re a lawyer and/or you hate lawyers, or if you just work with them and hate them (no or in that clause!), or if you’re indifferent to those questions but you just like the idea of a modern-day Edgar Allan Poe character let loose in a law firm to cause whatever mayhem he can while still trying to pretend nothing is wrong, you may enjoy The Promotion, the book that’s been called “an exceptionally fast read” and described as having “humor, depression, and hope all together in one short book.” Amazon’s running a sale on it, people. A buck for the Kindle version, and $4.49 for the paperback.

That’s right. It’s a promotion of The Promotion. A phrase I try not to overuse but which always reminds me of this, which makes me laugh, so I guess it’s okay:

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Amazon v. Hachette (or Whatever v. Whatever)

By “whatever v. whatever” I don’t mean to imply indifference. I know people care passionately about this. And they’re right to! It’s their livelihood, their passion, their art that’s at stake.

No, by “whatever v. whatever” I mean “traditional v. indie” or “print v. ebook” or “established v. new” or however else you view the transformations in publishing.

I’m not taking sides (except to say I’m on the side of readers and writers). And I’m not an expert in this debate. Frankly I find that most of the commentary reveals more about the person making the argument than it does about the issues. (Hello, Laura Miller!)

But I wanted to point out something I mentioned a year ago, when the debate was about gatekeepers and independent authors. It’s a story with a point, even a moral, but I’m not going to be so heavy-handed as to explain it. It’s offered here for you to take or leave, as you wish.

Here’s the post, in all its glory. Onward and upward, people!

*

This is a true story:

So the author writes a 30,000-word story and finds himself in literary limbo. Even though he’s achieved some success with his previous books, magazines aren’t willing to publish a story this long. They only have so many pages, after all, and adding extra paper will be expensive to print and ship. For traditional book publishing it’s too short. Asking readers to pay hardcover prices for such a slim novel does not seem viable.

What can he do? The story is what it is. It’s the length it needs to be. The author doesn’t want his readers to get a version that’s been chopped down or padded out. The other alternative is to leave it in the drawer. The readers get nothing. Continue reading

New Novella Release: The Promotion!

Another great day here on the Jacke Blog. I’m excited to announce the release of my new book, The Promotion: A Novella.

Officially, The Promotion “is the deadpan cri de couer of a lawyer trapped inside a Kafkaesque firm, tasked with recruiting new attorneys even as he himself slides into obsession and madness.”

Unofficially, it’s what happens when a modern-day Edgar Allan Poe tramples through the world of big law. A plot twist hinges on a daguerreotype. Hope you enjoy!

You can order copies for your Kindle or Kindle-enabled device (i.e., there’s an app for that!) by heading over to Amazon.com now. Prices are reasonable.

Or you can wait for the paperback version, which should be available very soon.

Onward…

…and upward!

Self-Publishing Literary Fiction – A Ray of Hope

Oh, it’s hard times for literary fiction in general, I know. (People don’t read it any more!)

And for indie publishers, there is the stigma. (Who do you think you are? You need to have someone else decide whether your book should be available to readers…)

But there’s hope! As David Gaughran, guru of marketing indie books on Amazon, points out, one of the problems in the past was that readers of literary and historical fiction couldn’t zero in on what they were looking for:

The problem with historical and literary fiction was that, until recently, there were no sub-categories for those genres. This meant that authors had to be selling 50 or 60 copies a day to even hit the back of the respective Top 100 – which most authors might be able to achieve during a promotion or new release, but would struggle to maintain outside of that on a single title.

The good news is that Amazon’s new subcategories make it easier for readers to find literary and historical fiction that interest them:

Well, Amazon has delivered. Historical fiction now has twenty-five subcategories and literary fiction has sixteen (see the left-hand sidebar)…. This is fantastic news for authors and readers. If you write literary fiction or historical fiction, life just got a hell of a lot easier. And it’s a big boon to readers too, who have sub-categories that reflect their interests, and who will, as a result, see a lot more churn on those lists, introducing them to new books instead of the same old stuff.

This is great. Now I can categorize The Race as contemporary, humorous, and suspense. Not as clear a genre as Sci-Fi, Romance, or Fantasy, but it’s a lot more meaningful than just “literary fiction.”

Jacke’s new credo: managing expectations, one reader at a time.

Self-Publishing Progress Update

Drafts complete: Yes (five)

Extensive revisions complete: Yes (four)

Assessment to move forward: Yes (two) (both novellas)

Website operational: Yes

Beta reader feedback incorporated: Yes (one draft, multiple readers)

Editing complete: Yes (one)

Formatting for Kindle finished: Yes (except for back matter) (one)

Cover design: In progress (one)

Preview on Kindle device: None

Uploaded to Amazon: None

Available for sale: None

Anxiety that I am forgetting something: Fever Pitch

Jonathan Franzen, Horse’s Ass

“In my heart I know you’re right. But my perfectly functioning brain says you’re a horse’s ass.”
(Photo Credit: Nicolas Rapold)

In anticipation of his forthcoming book, the Internet has been having fun with Jonathan Franzen’s astonishing recent article What’s Wrong With the Modern World. I’ve done my share of piling on. It might be time to remember just what a horse’s ass he is.

The Jonathan Franzen Horse’s Ass Quiz

Which of the following is not attributable to Jonathan Franzen?

A.  After insulting the organizer of the country’s most popular book club by suggesting that she and her readers would likely not appreciate his novel’s literary qualities, he offered as an apology “I like her for liking my book.”

B.  Described a period of youthful anger as being based on his “failure to have sex with a pretty girl in Munich, except that it hadn’t actually been a failure, it had been a decision on my part.”

C.  During an interview, dismissed a comparison between himself and Don DeLillo by saying, “I had a preference for rounder letters—c’s and p’s. I think of him as being more into l’s and a’s and i ’s.”  Went on to say that “I kept seeing a plate of food with beet greens and liver and rutabaga—­intense purple green, intense orange, rich rusty brown—and feeling a wish to write sentences that were juicy and sensuous…the roundness of b’s and g ’s, the juiciness…” before reassuring the interviewer that “Nowadays I have almost the opposite aesthetic.”

D.  Wrote an essay pitting “the narcissistic tendencies of technology” against “actual love” in which the example of “actual love” he describes is his own love for bird watching.

The answer is below the photo of the passionate technophobe (taken from his Facebook page).

Credit: Jonathan Franzen Facebook Page

Answer: All are true except B. The Munich girl was “unbelievably pretty.”

Rise of the Novella?

Ugggghhh… this goes on for twelve more minutes…

Some interesting speculation that digital publishing, with its lower overhead costs, will lead to the rise of the novella. And why not? Readers like reading them, authors like writing them, but most importantly: sometimes that’s how long a story should be. It’s the difference between Monty Python ending a scene abruptly vs. SNL stretching one out to fill up 90 minutes of airtime on a thin week. How many times have authors, plugging away to get to some arbitrary minimum that their traditional publisher demands, felt like Krusty in the Big Ear Family? And how often does that translate directly into boredom for the reader?