Sunday Side Notes

Just possibly the worst SEO headline in the history of blogging.

But that’s what I have for you today. A couple of side note ditties. Meanwhile, I hope you’ll help yourself to the ongoing series on “The Help,” which should wrap this week.


The Small World of Writers

Early on – June 19, 2009, the first month of this site’s life — I did a post called “The Writing Tip That Changed My Life.” That tip was this: in the career of a real writer, nothing is ever lost.

Food for thought when the next rejection slip arrives.

The tip was given to me by a man named Dan Wickenden, then a Senior Editor at a firm (the forebear of the current paperback imprint Jove) called Harcourt, Brace and Jovanovich. No one knows what happened to poor Mr. Brace, but the other two names had a future.

We all have a guy like Dan Wickenden somewhere along our writing path. At least if we’re lucky.

After the post ran a reader dug up Dan’s obituary. He passed in 1986, and this was the first I’d heard about it. I’d even acknowledged him in the Forward of one of my early novels, saying, “… and for Dan Wickenden, wherever you are.”

He’d been gone for 15 years by then.

Anyhow, a pretty cool thing happened last week. I was reading myself to sleep with the latest Entertainment Weekly magazine (June 24 issue), when I noticed a name in a book review on page 79. The book was “Nothing Daunted,” which is getting killer reviews everywhere, including this one.

The author’s name caught my attention immediately: Dorothy Wickenden. I had a gut feeling, and I leapt out of bed and hit the search engines.

Sure enough, Dorothy Wickenden is Dan Wickenden’s daughter. Born and bred to the trade – not only has she published this bestselling memoir of her grandparents circa 1916, she is also the Executive Editor at New Yorker magazine.

Dan was right. Everything we do matters. And somehow, somewhere, it all connects. Maybe even for our kids.

Remember the iconic novel, “Catch-22” by Joseph Heller?

There’s an incredible article about the history of the book – not the history in the book, but the history of it’s writing and publication in 1961 – on page 114 of the August issue of Vanity Fair (the one with a smokin’ shot of actress Emma Stone on the cover).

The book was truly life-changing for many people, and the publishing industry, which didn’ know what to do with it at first. And that includes me (I was barely in grade school when it was published), when I discovered it some twenty years later.  It and “Catcher in the Rye” made me want to write stories someday.  Mainly, I suppose in retrospect, because they were both narrated by smart asses.

Late to the party, still got an eggroll, though.

Check out the picture on page 118. It’s a close-up of Heller’s story planning chart.

And you thought I just made this stuff up.

“Bait and Switch” is now available on Nook.

You may recall me mentioning, I’ve re-launched my 2004 novel, “Bait and Switch” as an ebook, and running a July promotion for only 99 cents.

Some of you jumped me for not immediately making it available on the Barnes & Noble Nook platform – duly noted.

It’s there now. You can check it out HERE.  Please scroll down and read the review if you have an extra minute.

There are 19 other books there called “Bait and Switch,” so mine is in good company. Look for the blood spattered cover, and my name.

One of those 19 Bait and Switches (by a guy named Andrew McAleer) bears a selling price of $539.69 for the hardcover.  Must be pretty good, ya think?  The paperback, also shown, is only $8.94. 

Yet other books of the same title sell from $40.00 to $148.00.

I don’t get it, either. 

Thanks to all who have opted in on the “Bait and Switch” (linked to Kindle here) 99 cent deal. I hope you feel you’re getting your money’s worth. Just think, it’s $538.70 cheaper than that other book by the same name… and I bet it didn’t get a starred review from Publishers Weekly.


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5 Responses to Sunday Side Notes

  1. Pingback: A Novel Approach to an Indecent Proposal | Morpho Designs

  2. Larry, forget Publishers Weekly – I got your five-star review right there in the trackbacks.

    Whatever the results of your social experiment, you’ve got a fan for life. I enjoyed Bait and Switch and hope we get to read your deconstruction of it.

    Since I actually tried to view it through the filter of the six core compentencies, I saw something which made me realize that I just don’t get Writing 202, at all. I can’t discuss it, what with spoilers being frowned upon and all.

    Instead, I’ll keep reading through your instructive manual. I’m sure it will click for me, eventually!

    Well done!



  3. Thanks for the tip on the Vanity Fair story. I ran right over to the magazine rack and picked it up. (So nice to work in a library!) I’ll look for “Nothing Daunted”, as well.

    When are you going to tell us if your experiment with “Bait and Switch” is making you rich?

  4. Ah, dammit! I picked up the $539.69 version.

    How in the hell do people internally justify these types of pricings?

    I’d like to say I’m actively reading “Bait and Switch”, but that would be a lie. I’m about 5% in, but still need to finish the first draft of my fourth. And my writing was slowed by an introduction of the series “Breaking Bad” by a nephew (the little punk – cost me three days and a huge loss of sleep to get through the first two seasons).

    I did take the time to deconstruct the pilot, though, and it’s amazing how the FPP, pinch points (the second Pinch Point in the pilot is beautiful), midpoint and second plot point land like lasers, time-wise.

    I’m right at the point in my draft where my protagonist shifts from Warrior to Martyr, so I figure another week of solid writing and I’ll be able to get back to your book.

  5. Well, *I’m* feeling like the one late to the party, but I’m glad I visited in time to order myself a copy of Bait and Switch. I look forward to reading it, and I’ll go tweet about it right now. Thanks!