Idle Eye 155 : The Modest Proposal

Ever tried to sell yourself? Seriously, have you? You’d think it would be relatively straightforward, seeing as you’re pretty much up to speed with all things you, and it should be just a question of getting the good bits in line, right? Well, I beg to differ. This week I’ve been trying to put together a book proposal for literary publishers and agents, and it’s like pulling bloody teeth. Using a crib sheet downloaded from one of the Bloomsbury fat cats, I somehow managed to get through the early parts unscathed. But then they wheeled in the heavy artillery:

Q)  Please outline the main pedagogical feature you plan to include.

A)  Hmm…It’s a funny blog I want done as a book. That’s it. And the only pedagogical feature I can think of is that it serves as some kind of a caveat.

It gets worse:

Q)  Where do you see the main markets for the book, e.g. UK/Canada/Europe/Australasia etc? Please provide any information that would help us promote it in specific markets, e.g. international case studies/contributors/author profile/possible endorsements.

A)  Hold on, isn’t that what you do? It’s not like I go round to WC1 and say ‘I’m having issues with a recalcitrant paragraph, could you sort it for me’, is it? Or tap you for meals I had in the local café whilst attempting to sound coherent online. My remit is to write the stuff, yours is to put it out there. Surely?

But seeing as I’ve had diddly squit published in my life, maybe it’s time I learnt to play ball. The possible endorsements bit is simple, I’ll just make a call to New Zealand and be the acceptable face of the next thin-skinned grape juice they export. It’s just, well, how exactly are you supposed to know where your main markets are if it’s not out there yet? Perhaps I’ll develop the Downton Abbey effect in the Ukraine (by the way, hello Ukraine stats person. Could you let me know what my USP may or may not be in your country? I’m afraid I haven’t a clue. And good luck with Vladimir), or nag the two people I know in North Carolina indefinitely until they set up an injunction.

It’s not in the nature of creative types to do hard sell. That’s why we have agents and managers and accountants. The whole crux of this symbiosis hinges on the left brain/right brain theory, both parties doing what they do best in order to achieve a mutually beneficial end result. I could no more flog the fluff I put out than eat my own earwax, and that’s as it should be. But it works both ways. If they find me butt naked on a carpet somewhere, dribbling and babbling incoherent nonsense, I shall remind them it is my duty as an artist to push the envelope. So they don’t have to.

Idle Eye 18 : (Spread) The Love

Have I upset you? Have I? Come on people, let’s have it out: Stats were down this week after what was, it must be said, a very promising start which petered off to virtually bugger all as it progressed. Now, I don’t mean to insult your collective intelligence as I know full well that a healthy percentage of UK cognoscenti are already following, but this ‘ere blogging business is not a one way street. Sorry. Here’s the deal: I sit up all night once a week (or twice if the muse is off-duty) constructing a tightly-woven, semi-articulate drawl linking my own sorry existence with that of Nibs and the Idle Hour. Somehow I manage to make this amusing and/or poignant, depending on your viewpoint. On cue. And the only task I require in return is that you read the bloody thing and occasionally drop me a line or two in the comments section so that I know I’m not pissing my God-given talent up a wall. It’s not a huge ask, is it? Or am I missing something here? Help me out.

Hmmm… In retrospect, probably not the killer romantic opener I’d been planning for the 2012 Valentine’s post. You see, as usual I’ve been on the phone to Nibs, trying to sniff out the lowdown on what treats he has in store for you lovebirds out there. From what I can gather, it’s probably something along the lines of special menu, candlelight, attentive yet respectful staffing and no Techno. Or Hard House. Or Death Metal. (Personally, I think this is an oversight: We are living through difficult times, and the days of a half-carafe of Mateus downed to Renée and Renato are mercifully behind us). I had planned a majestic, almost cinemascopic opening paragraph alluding to the great lovers and those who have lived their lives as if each day was their last: Anthony and Cleopatra, Romeo and Juliet, Bergman and Bogart, Frank and Betty etc…etc… From there I would make a contrived narrative leap over to Idle Hour Barnes where miraculously I would mirror these iconic figures with you lot, and this inexpensive literary technique would make you all feel a bit better about yourselves, thereby convincing you to spend a bit more money and consequently securing my position as a viable financial option. Yes, I was going to do all the above. I was. In spades. But then I saw the stats.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: ‘Oooh, get him! Has one bad week and he throws all his toys out.’ Well, no. I’m sorry, I thought we were all adults here and, frankly, that’s just a cheap shot. I expected so much more from you. And anyway, it’s not just about my so-called ‘bad week’, is it? It’s about love, it’s about respect and it’s about…er… Actually, screw it. It IS about my ‘bad week’. You want quality? Well, quality costs. And right here is where you start paying.