Saturday, January 21, 2017

“MAP:” Threat Or Menace?

     [I wrote this brief piece a couple of years ago for the defunct “Indie Writers’ Net.” Given recent developments in independently published fiction, it seems still to be relevant -- FWP]

     Say, I’ve got an idea...

     (Yes, that’s a rough Long Island equivalent to a Southerner saying “Hey y’all, watch this.”)

     The great majority of us are no good at all at what SF writer Tom Kratman calls “pimping my own works.” It’s easy to see why: it feels too immodest, and it’s usually greeted with amused skepticism by your “audience.” Yet promotion is the most indie writers need most. Without it, our works are “born to blush unseen.”

     So why not “pimp someone else’s works” -- ?

     Has anyone here ever entered into a “mutually assured pimping” agreement? I did it for a while, not realizing that I was doing so. My “co-pimp” was Martin McPhillips, author of the incredible counterterrorism thriller Corpse In Armor. I stumbled over his book, loved it, and started praising it to everyone I know. He noticed that I was doing so, read my novel Chosen One, and started doing the same for me. We both enjoyed sharply increased sales for a significant period.

     Of course, this strategy requires that one has intelligent and sincerely complimentary things to say about other indie writers’ books. Which itself implies that one must willingly read those books and remember their best features. But if you can steel yourself to so awful a fate, you might just discover that you’ve entered the shadowed world of Mutually Assured Pimping, in which the air of menace is unending and nothing is what it seems...except the pleasure of reading nice things about your books and even nicer things in your quarterly payment reports.

     Food for thought.


HoundOfDoom said...

BOught Corpse in Armor on your recommendation. Looking for ward to my next airline flight so I can read it!

Martin McPhillips said...

Both novels hold up well. They're innovative, paced to keep the reader charging through, and not the same old same old.

I wanted to alter the reader's sense of time and I wanted to -- particularly in the series of chapters involving interrogations -- put narratives within narratives to alleviate the restrictions of the first person story. And on the other side of that problem, I had the characters tell the reader what they were thinking, rather than have an omniscient third person narrator describing what they were thinking. At the same time, Mara, the storyteller, is in the dark about what lies beyond the outer perimeter of the story and that is what the other characters either refuse to or cannot tell her.

Then there are the recurring glass booths...