The Guilty Party

Sunday, October 24, 2010

What Authors and Blanche DuBois Have In Common

It is more than a bit humbling to realize that, as an independent author trying to get his book some attention (not to mention actual sales) one's motto is very much like the second most quoted line from Tennessee William's classic play "A Streetcar Named Desire." The first most quoted line, is of course, "Stella!" It's easy to remember and fun to say. For most of us, it is one half of our Marlon Brando repertoire, the other half being "I coulda been a contendah." from the movie "On the Waterfront."

But it is not the fate of most writers to be Stanley Kowalski. At least at the beginning of our careers we are doomed to be Blanche Dubois, doing the best we can in a world not very much to our liking (why else are we so persistent in creating our own?) and depending so very much "on the kindness of strangers."

It matters not what a writer might tell you about his work, this sort of testimony, quite rightly, carries little weight in persuading potential readers to have a look, plop down the ready money, invest in an unknown. What works is when strangers, real life, honest to gosh strangers who don't know the writer in any way outside of the book(s) he has written, who not only enjoyed it themselves but took the time and trouble to pass the word. Although the dominant method nowadays is no longer actual conversation, but posting reviews at Amazon and other bookseller sites and making nice comments on social networking sites, it is still known as Word of Mouth. And to my mind Word of Mouth is a sterling example of The Kindness of Strangers. It is, as I said, humbling to rely on it, but really, it's the most effective, honest method of advertising around and when it begins to work it is a wonderful thing.

So to the strangers out there who have taken the time to tell others that they have enjoyed Boomerang, may I say Thank You. You are very kind, indeed.

A Bit About Me

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I am a writer with a longtime interest in photography. I'm a dad, husband, photographer, and not very good guitarist. My first novel, Boomerang, is available in both paperback and ebook form at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords.com. As a matter of fact, my second novel, The Baer Boys, can be found at exactly the same places.