You Spead For Me Now

Evolution of You Speak For Me No

(A long, tortured path. )

The difference in living and operating styles between extroverts and introverts has interested me for years (perhaps because I’m an introvert). An introvert nature is sometimes confused with shyness simply because introverts like time alone and are happiest beavering away in solitude. Technically, a shy person is one who is afraid of human interaction.

This interest prompted me to write a novel with leading characters at the farther ends of the spectrum: a musically gifted extrovert and a deaf introvert. Written in 2015, it came at a time when the political climate in the United States was taking a direction I found very disturbing. The two themes or issues came together in Ickee Mushta, a humorous yet poignant coming of age story for my two contrasting characters. It quite accurately foretold the outcome of the 2016 election.

Unfortunately, real life events obsoleted the novel and it was apparent that fiction could not keep pace with reality. I decided to try a serial approach a la Charles Dickens rather than attempt a sequel. A chapter a week was added on this blog for a while but ended when it was clear that less than twenty readers followed it.

With the political situation worsening (in my mind), the next stage in the evolution was to unpublish Ickee and use a condensed version of it along with a continuation of the story (what would have been a sequel originally). The result, Eclipse of Our Soul, was published in 2018. It received a few good reviews but didn’t sell. Deciding it took too long to get into the real story, I put out a second edition with sixteen early chapter removed. Soon after it was released, I began to fear the escalating extremism might lead to a physical attack on my family and property. Feeling deprived of my freedom of expression, I pulled it off the market.

Deeply concerned with the parallels between the U.S. situation and that leading to a Nazi takeover in Germany, I revised the book to appear the situation was being watched by the ghost of Anne Frank. I soon learned from knowledgeable sources that I was treading on forbidden territory, so that detour was abandoned.

By now, you must be thinking even the description of this evolution is tortuous. Fear not, the end is in sight.

Still unwilling to give up on the extrovert/introvert theme, I removed all mention of the Trump administration and instead focused on the societal aspects of democracy versus authoritarianism. And the earlier pontification was dramatically reduced. Acceptance of the result, You Speak For Me Now, will still suffer from the partisan divide in America but, hopefully, will make both sides think a little more about bridging that divide.

Reviews, Interviews and Giveaways

For the first time, I invested in use of a publicity agent to help market a book. In one way it’s been a success, in another it hasn’t. Success came in terms of good reviews by some highly respected reviewers and a couple of radio interviews, one of which was particularly flattering. You can see the reviews and listen to the interview by visiting my website. On the downside, almost no books have been purchased and only a few Kindle books have been read. For a while, I faced the prospect of having created a $6,000 book.

Recognizing publicity must be augmented with marketing effort, I “refreshed” (the word now in vogue for renovation) my website and author pages on Goodreads, Facebook, Amazon and LinkedIn. Also, I did a Kindle countdown and I’m giving away 100 free Kindle copies on Goodreads. Neither technique has contributed significantly ever since Amazon took over Goodreads. Their focus is entirely on customers (readers) as opposed to suppliers (authors). I shy away from book signing events because a rogue nerve in my right arm renders writing illegible. I would have to show up drunk to write anything readable.

Time will tell if these modest measures can combine with reader recommendations to create the market reviewers indicate the book deserves. The sad reality is that book sales are a function of celebrity status rather than story quality. Perhaps when I move into my 90’s, I can borrow the kind of fame Grandma Moses enjoyed in the art world. Commentators will marvel, “Can you believe Grandpa Graham is still publishing novels at his age?’ Then, perhaps, the public will delve into ones published in his 70’s and 80’s to discover what they missed.

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