Thursday, March 03, 2011

Answer from Limbo: Don't get a publisher--get a client! Get many clients!

It has suddenly dawned on me after forty years in the vinyards (and sometimes alleyways) of the writing profession, that it may not a publisher, but a client that you seek.
It seems that there are people out there who have been following your work, in blogs or leaves (treeware?), and more often than not, unbeknownst to you, they have enjoyed your writing, have been passing it around, sometimes hand-to-hand among friends, family and acquaintance.

I guess they could be called fans.

Sometimes fans can be clients.
Recently someone has asked for all of my printed books in my possession.
Well, lucky man. Lucky for both of us.
I had, on hand, more remainders than a bad math student.
Twenty copies of my The Black Icon, twenty more of Light Over Newmarket, and a whole kaboodle of "The Fire in Bradford", a wicked novel of love, betrayal and revenge--Take that Ryder Haggard!

"I want it all," my client had written. Every last thing you've ever done. I will pay, but not at retail. If I get twenty books from you, I will expect a discount.
Twenty books?
Sales of my Light Over Newmarket were so bad recently that I was giving them away, and in one instance was so disgusted with the book's performance that I threw some copies into the garbage.
A strange synchronicity happened. Someone in the literary press was saying that Ivan was throwing entire novels into the dumpster and this was somehow depressing the value of Canadian books. (Heh. As if those books could exist at all without government help, possibly the reason for all those Canada Council- published dogs that some Canadian writers claim as high literature).

But migod, I had been committing hara-kiri by throwing some of my books out.

I had no idea that there existed clients, some overground, (as they had written to me), and some, perhaps like any number of women (and some poettasters?) around town-- were just sort of harboring you as a kind of ghostly literary lover.

It seem that recently, I have had not so many publishers, but, it would seem--clients.

Clients come in all sorts of colours and flavours.
A recent client from Australia wanted twenty copies of Light Over Newmarket and I had to chase the garbage truck to retrieve them. Thank god I am still an hysterically young seventy-two and can still chase garbage compactors on wheels...Who was that masked man?
And more recently, a wonderful man from Alberta wanted ten copies of my Black Icon novel....Man, did I have to lace up my Adidas for that !
And I sold a copy of my Light Over Newmarket to "Benjibopper" at his own signing party for his debut Canadian novel, Drive-by Saviours.

(Heh. It is not for nothing that Norman Mailer says the young novelist is always a prick...Hey, even old novelists)!

And to add, I suppose, insult to injury, Benjibopper said his copy of Light Over Newmarket was so tobacco -(and booze?) soaked--that he had to leave it in open air for a week before he could read it without holding his nose.
Well, some have said that my work stank.
But Benji thought the book had worth--at least after it was fumigated. I had to reply in kind and have praised his work as well.
Quite frankly, I was a bit jealous of Benjibopper's publisher.

I had to get clients at once.

Happily in the mysterious ways God works, the woods seem suddently polluted with clients.

Hey, it's working. It ain't broke, and recently neither am I.

Suddenly, there's gold in them thar clients!


I have been told I'm a little like Franacek Kupka, the antique Czechoslovakian painter, but that's too presumptuous of me to even compare myself to that genius.

Somebody added, it's more Like Frantic Cupcake.

In any even, my site is going to hell, I can't access my own comment space, nor any other blog.
Hope this bit of info goes through before I pull all the plugs and take the machine into the shop. Again!


Charles Gramlich said...

Hum, maybe I should throw some of my copies away. said...


There's gold in them thar dumpsters. :)

the walking man said...

I could throw some of your novels away but you have to pay the postage to get them to me. I after all am doing all of the hard work. What would you have chased if you burned them...even a spry 72 year old can't fly after ash. said...


Your generosity and outlay in time for other writers is probably legendary by now.
You have been incredibly generous to me and my own stable ( maybe unstable?) of writers.
I think it really is payback time, and for openers, you will get a copy of my first novel, The Black Icon, followed by Light Over Newmarket, and The Fire in Bradford...I know that you have already read The Fire in Bradford, are probably tired of it, but it migh make a good doorstop for when you let the dog back in these cold mornings.
Take care.

ivan said...

Chris, (Benjibopper),

I'll have to visit your column as soon as this current rash of business hereabouts is over.

...Certainly curious how Toronto ranks, as new high-rise condos continue to obscure the lakefront, which is already half-fill and rock.

Mona said...


I just hope you did not run out naked like Archimedes! :) said...

No! Not!
On Principle! said...

I'm having trouble posting my own commonts. This is an attempt. said...


There is something wrong with my blogger account. I can't post.

Looks like the computer will have to go into the shop. Drag.

benjibopper said...

The ciggie scent on your book was aprapos, matched the narrative well. I figured they all smelled like that - part of the package. Took you for a marketing genius which, given the outcome of your dumpster stuffing, clearly you are. It is I who should be jealous of you, and I am, as all writers always are. So it goes.

Btw, Toronto ranked very high - I think they were first in the big city category. But as my column alludes to, the methods are imperfect to say the least.

JR's Thumbprints said...

And here I thought e-books were the wave of the future. You can't toss an e-book in the dumpster.

Clients. I'll have to remember that.

Sounds too clinical though.

Clients ...

benjibopper said...

customers? said...


Clients, I say, clients. :) said...


I have, of late, become clinical.

Ask the doc.

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