Friday, February 27, 2009

Being Gary Coleman: the Ben Tanzer Repetition Patterns Guest Essay

If you remember, I get to throw off my blogging least this one part of This Tour Will Change Your Life, Ben Tanzer's virtual book tour for his new short story collection, Repetition Patterns, published by the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography. Tanzer, of course, is the writer of the novels Lucky Man and Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine and is now publicizing the story collection. So appropriately enough, his topic for today's stop is marketing yourself as a writer, which naturally he entitled:

Being Gary Coleman
by Ben Tanzer

People will not find your work. Okay, they might, and they do, but mostly they won't, because there is a lot of clutter out there, waves of good to great writers, making noise and publishing, and you need to somehow rise above that clutter, if only for a moment.

So, try the following: self-absorption, saturation, compulsion, repeat.

You must love yourself and your work. Your work is a product. Like Tide, but more interesting. Your work is also an extension of you, the best you, not necessarily the most attractive you, bed head is fine, even the occasional lapses in the brushing of your otherwise pristine teeth, but your writing must rock, you must hone it, get feedback, tweak and re-tweak, and keep writing, writing, writing until you have a voice, any voice, as long as it yours.

And then you must celebrate it, like your very own Technicolor dream coat. Now, am I implying that you should think of yourself as Jesus, well Joseph? Yes of course, and Spiderman, Iman, Yoda, President Obama, Elizabeth Crane, The Ramones, Viggo Mortenson, Tom Brady, Gandolf, and even Gary Coleman if it helps. You are your brand and you must love your work. Love it so much that you want it out there because you know without question that people, some people anyway, will love it as much as you do. How do I know this? Because I do, this is how it works, even when it doesn't, see JT Leroy or James Frey.

Now saturate. And no, that is not the same as exfoliate. Well, it's kind of like that. Still, now you must blog, twitter, blog about twittering, update your Facebook status, more blogging, more twittering, get out, share links, blog about your links, make friends, shoot a video for YouTube, link to other blogs, leave comments on people's blogs, make more friends, be funny, swap books, be engaged, and available, and blog, schedule a reading, shoot another video for YouTube, twitter, Facebook, do interviews, ask people to do interviews, twitter about interviews, do more readings, blog more, be interesting, support your friends, join Goodreads, go on a virtual book tour, blog about that, and then twitter some more.

Do this compulsively.

And then repeat.

Any questions?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Me on Dogzplot

So my flash fiction piece "Sermon on the Anthill" is up on the daring Dogzplot. It's exactly what you think. If what you think is that it's a message of peace and love and ants. Lots of ants.

Monday, February 16, 2009

AWP Book Happiness

So back from the wilds of Chicago and the wonders and terrors of AWP with that warm weight of books wisely foraged.

From one of my favorite readings, I got four Dzanc books: Kyle Minor's In the Devil's Territory, Roy Kesey's All Over, Michael Czyzniejewski's Elephants in Our Bedroom, and Allison's Amend's Things that Pass for Love (technically an OV Book).

Also got my first issue of Keyhole. Plus, copies of Barry Graham's The National Virginity Pledge and Jason Jordan's Powering the Devil's Circus--two ultra-cool guys and gripping readers.

And, of course, Hobart had the best swag...what with the Jack that came in the shot glass.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Me on This Podcast Will Change Your Life

So...I've been in Chicago at the AWP conference--more about that later...unless I forget--where I met the indomitable Ben Tanzer. And then he graciously asked me to do an episode of his This Podcast Will Change Your Life, which he called No Screendoors after some silly things I said. Let me invite you to listen to me make no sense. Seriously, what is wrong with me? That said listen for my awkward shout-out to Heather.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What Rhymes with Orange?

Ever have people give you books just because you're a writer and a professor? Books no one wants. Not that anyone wants books anymore anyway. Books like Poets Guide to Publishing three years old, or How to Write a Children's Book and Get It Published, or The Writer's Digest Guide to Manuscript Formats from 1987 (that stuff don't change, right?).

But I have been given a Rhyming Dictionary, which is pretty cool and makes me think I should become a singer/songwriter. It's syringe, infringe, and scavenge, by the way.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Coming Soon: This Tour Will Change Your Life (virtually)

You know what the worst thing about blogging is? Blogging. That's why I'm glad to have someone else do it for me. But not just anyone: Ben Tanzer, who asks only that you experience things that will change your life. He will be doing an essay on marketing writing. The guest spot will be Feb. 27th, but it's a part of his virtual book tour for his story cycle Repetition Patterns brought to you by CCLaP. Here is the full schedule:


Monday, February 16th
Peter Anderson
Format: Guest essay

Tuesday, February 17th
Elizabeth Crane
Format: Interview

Wednesday, February 18th
Jason Jordan
Format: Guest essay on the inspirations behind each story

Thursday, February 19th
What To Wear During An Orange Alert
Format: "Author-to-author" interview featuring guest editor Pete Anderson (PeteLit)

Friday, February 20th
Tim Hall
Format: Exclusive new MP3 of a story being read

Saturday, February 21st
Michael FitzGerald
Format: Interview

Sunday, February 22nd
Day off

Monday, February 23rd
Amy Guth
Format: Interview

Tuesday, February 24th
Chicago Literary Examiner
Format: Interview

Wednesday, February 25th
Jason Riley
Format: Interview regarding the craft of writing

Thursday, February 26th
Nick Ostdick
Format: Audio interview plus guest essay

Friday, February 27th
S. Craig Renfroe, Jr.
Format: Guest essay on artistic self-marketing

Saturday, February 28th
J.A. Tyler
Format: Interview regarding the book's unusual publishing and pricing

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Me on Thuglit

You have always suspected that I'm tough. A bit of a bad-ass. I mean just look at my pic with me on the mean streets. And there was that time John Irving wanted to get into it with me. But now I have definitive proof because I'm on the ultra-cool Thuglit. My story "We Are All Bullets" is in the current issue (#29). It has it all, like paintball, Russian roulette, and a high school English teacher. That's pretty much all there is, right?