Saturday, February 16, 2008

Anything for Publicity, Even Work

You know him, The Famous Author is struttin' proud of his Guest Editorship at SPINETINGLER MAGAZINE'S Winter Issue. I, of course, know how he REALLY got the job. In fact, SPINETINGLER'S boss lady Sandra Ruttan let me tell the readers right in that Winter Issue. Thought I'd give you guys the straight scoop as well by reprinting my scalding expose' below.

(There's a link to the Contents page of that Winter Issue--click on SPINETINGLER--under TFA's favorites on the right. May I also recommend you read the first published fiction of Gene Sittenfeld, LAST WRITER STANDING. It's a hoot and a thrill, my favorite.)

From SPINETINGLER, WINTER 2008:

Profile: Jack Getze - Who is he and how did he land this guest editor gig?

BY AUSTIN CARR

How did Jack Getze this gig? That’s what I’d like to know.

If you ask him, this issue’s special guest editorship came by way of Jack’s keen reader’s eye, his experience choosing scholarship winners for a well-known writers study program, and the strength of his debut novel, BIG NUMBERS.

Horse shit. He’s been kissing up to Sandra since last February, at Left Coast Crime in Seattle. Plus, everybody knows poor Ms. S. is swamped with work these days, and that she’s always so worried about everybody’s feelings, she didn’t want to ask any of her better known friends.

She must have figured Getze would jump at the chance. Just for the publicity.

Gosh, Ms. S is smart.

Sandra asked me to talk about a typical day. On my blog, and around his house and the office, we call Jack Getze The Famous Author, or TFA for short. Not because he’s famous, of course. But exactly because he’s not. Anyway, TFA’s day is pretty boring, but here goes:

Coffee is a very big part of my boss’s life. He owns a collection of beans from twelve countries and three continents, and first thing every morning--two, three, four o’clock in the darkness--TFA carefully decides which he will grind and cook into high octane coffee. Depends on his mood.

Let’s face it, coffee is the drug of last resort for those aging children of the sixties. Caffeine is the only chemical left they can safely abuse. And TFA is definitely a child of the sixties. The only reason he didn’t run off to the north shore of Oahu in 1968 and live in a tree house was devotion to his rock and roll garage band.

So TFA drinks coffee and writes fiction for several hours seven days a week. I do most of the heavy idea work, but I let him think he’s The Man. When he’s done writing fiction--there’s no time limit, or clock-watching, he says, just a feeling, a sense of completion--then I take a nap and TFA works on business and marketing stuff. Hopefully, there’s time for him to take a nap, too.

With me and TFA, the writing comes first, but we spend more man-hours every week taking care of business. The boss doesn’t always like to admit this. He says he is an artist, that the work must always be number one.

Okay. Whatever. In the past twelve months, though, we’ve made nine trips out of state to appear at conventions, libraries or bookstores. Since TFA hired a new publicist this summer, there are radio interviews or signings almost every week, and we’ll be doing this most of 2008, too, because of our new book.

The way we look at the business end, publishing a novel is only half the battle. With over one hundred new mysteries published each month, a new author (especially with a small publisher) has to work hard to get readers. I mean, how are we ever going to know if the thing is any good or not if no one reads it?

Anyway, that's about it. Write. Market. Sleep. Like I said. Boring, boring, boring.

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