Tag Archives: self-promotion

The Beach Scene

Today I’m going to tell you the story of a story. I guess the first thing you should probably know is that I’m kind of weird. I have what some people would called “an active imagination” and what other people would call “severe mental problems.”

The other thing you should know is that I work at Wal-Mart. For a long time, Wal-Mart used to sell cheap knock-off paintings for around thirty buck a pop. Most of these paintings were terrible, but other than that they were mostly okay other than that. But there was one that gave me the creeps every time I walked past it. It wormed its way into my soul and sent chill bumps up and down my spine.

The painting looked like this:

No, I’m not kidding. This isn’t the exact painting of course, but it’s close enough to give you an idea of what terrified me. Just two wooden beach chairs sitting on an empty stretch of sand, facing the sunset.

But there was something….wrong with the painting, something in the perspective maybe, or the way the wash of pastels piled up together, or….something.

And since I’m a writer I started to think, “Hey maybe there’s a story in this.”

I got out my notebook and wrote down the words, “The Beach Scene” and a brief thought about a man driven mad by a seemingly innocuous painting.

But the story needed something more, something deeper. It wasn’t good enough that the painting be haunted, I had read too many stories in that vein already. But I thought back to my childhood and a story I had read called “Von Goom’s Gambit” in which a man discovers a series of chess moves that, when observed by his opponents , drives them utterly insane.

And from these humble pieces I crafted a story that I call, “The Beach Scene.” Like the painting that inspired it, the title is hardly evocative of terror, but if you look closer you’ll find that there is something more there, something utterly unnerving. It is a tale of madness and murder that will suck you into itself and change the way you think about insanity.

If that sounds like your cup of tea then I invite your to check it out in the Amazon Kindle store for the piddling price of 99 cents.

And while your there, don’t forget to check out my other short story Derelict, which has just passed four thousand downloads, and is still available for free.

As always, I hope that you will enjoy both of these stories as much as I enjoyed writing them.

The Musical Fruit

I’ve never been good at tooting my own horn. And don’t get me wrong, I try. My parents even had me taking lessons for a while. Maybe its the fact that my lips get tired after a while, or maybe emptying my spit valve is just too disgusting for me to think about. I don’t know what it is, but after years of trying I’ve decided that becoming a professional trumpet player just wasn’t in the cards.

So I decided, “Hey, I’ll become a writer. No tooting of horns required there.” Only I was wrong. The horn of need follows me, it HAUNTS me. It lives in my dreams, and I am forever falling into the darkness of its terrifyingly smooth and circular mouth.

That’s right. Because as a writer, I have to do a little something called, (gulp), self-promotion.

I have to get out there and tell people, “You know that money you were planning on spending a deep-tissue massage for your gerbil? Well maybe you should take some of that money and spend it on my book instead.”

And it terrifies me.

Why? Well for one thing there’s that tiny nagging fear at the back of my mind whispering that I’m really not that good. It doesn’t matter that I’ve had a number people who are not my mother read my story and generally conclude that it is of acceptable and even admirable quality. I still can’t help thinking of myself as a hack. A wannabe.

And that’s a terrible place to be. Because what self-promotion is saying is, “There are people out there who would love to read what I’ve written, and it’s my job to make sure they know about it.”

Wow. Just writing that sentence was hard. In fact, you know what? Writing this whole blog post has been difficult for me. I’ve been dithering away the morning by doing chores and finishing a book I’ve been reading all because it’s become increasingly apparent to me that I’m not good at this self-promotion thing.

That has to change.

It’s not that I need to become some egotistical windbag, constantly spamming my Twitter feed with how great my work is, but there’s no point in putting the work into writing the book if no one ever reads it. Otherwise I might as well stuff it in a trunk somewhere.

Because the truth is, if I’m going to have the balls to sell my work at all that means I have to believe that you want my story more than you want your dollar. That you will, in fact, find my writing to be worth more than many of the other things your dollar might have bought you.

Still, it isn’t easy. This isn’t an instruction guide. It’s not me telling you that I’ve solved the problem and here’s how you can too. But maybe just recognizing that I’ve got some issues is a good place to start.

If you’ve got some advice to share I’d love to hear it.

In the mean time, this might be the proper place to announce that I’m giving one of my short stories a nice official roll-out announcement on this blog tomorrow. I’ll be wincing at my keyboard as I try to say nice things about my own writing. So stay tuned for that.