Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Bullies, books & bikers

An area bully was arrested recently at the local Barnes & Noble that’s been so pivotal in getting “Use All The Crayons!” noticed by company evaluators who now tout its potential.

It took two state policemen and an untold number of volts to subdue the man, but not before he caused $500 damage.

Concerned friends called to ask if my books were among the victims. They were not, I said. If they’re anything like the man who authored them, they probably fled at the first sign of trouble to duck behind a thick stack of Tom Clancy he-man books.

I thanked them for their concerns, but couldn’t resist the opportunity to use the event as a sales pitch.

“If you really cared,” I said, “you’d rush right up to that store and find good homes for any books of mine that are on the shelves.”

The world’s a dangerous place and my books have no way to defend themselves. I really should do something about that.

You know what they say: The only thing that stops a bad book with a gun is a good book with a gun.

If that sounds like me endorsing arming The Bible so it can defend itself against “50 Shades of Grey,” then I’m not making myself clear.

I just want more people to buy my book.

I despise bullies and hope they throw the book at the troublemaker. Not my book, which is light enough to float away on the breeze. Maybe a dictionary. Of course, heavy books are all surrendering to e-formatting.

I can envision a day not far off when angry judges bent on bestowing severe punishment will throw the Nook at miscreants.

It would be nice if the judge sentenced him to read my book, which might improve his disposition.

Reaction to the book has led me to shed all my default self-deprecations and humilities.

I apologize for the apparent pomposities, but on this I can’t help it.

Everyone who gets their hands on the books loves it -- and some of them are resorting to outlandish displays to prove it.

First, some bottom-line good news.

I was at that very Barnes & Noble last week, as I often am. For about the past three months every single time I go in there I emerge with a smile and warm feelings.

The people there treat me and my book so well.

You probably have no idea what that means to me.

Trying to get a book -- any book -- published and sold is a process fraught with rejection and humiliation.

You can let it either defeat or fuel you.

Tattooed on my brain is this rejection from one esteemed publisher: “How are we going to sell a self-help book by a guy who seems incapable of ever even helping himself?”

That line alone provides sufficient fuel for me to reach book stores on Pluto.

So when Barnes & Noble HQ said it would sell my book on a trial basis it already felt like vindication.

And thanks to enthusiastic support from store employees, the book became a mini-sensation in Greensburg over the holidays, enough so that the district manager noticed and ordered the book sold at all seven area stores.

Then just last week came this news: Barnes & Noble stores in West Virginia and Connecticut are now stocking the book.

West Virginia, I can sort of understand, but Connecticut? How does that happen?

And what’s next?

That’s all very encouraging, but this weekend came some, well, let’s call it top-of-the-head confirmation my book is really clicking.

My book is changing the fashions with biker chicks.

The picture above is not a hoax. 

Barb Smerkar sent it to me over the weekend. She said she noticed her son, an avid video gamer, reading my book. 

“The fact he was reading a book impressed me enough to want to find out more about it. He read the entire thing! I glimpsed through it, loved what I read, so I bought it for my Kindle.”

She loved it so much she had her husband paint her motorcycle helmet as a homage to my book and her cheerful lifestyle.

And I’m tickled pink.

And mauve, periwinkle, vivid tangerine, hot magenta and, well, you get the idea.

Which brings me back to the bullies I loathe.

Now’s a good time for you to become one and bully your friends and loved ones into buying copies of my book for themselves and their friends.

This is the slowest book-buying time of the year. A surge of people buying “Use All The Crayons!” will draw positive attention.

Who knows? Maybe the self-help book by the guy incapable of ever even helping himself will really take off.

And you know what that means?

Look out, Pluto, we’re on our way!

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