I’m getting really close to having the first installment polished and ready for delivery. I’m also working on a blurb for the virtual book jacket, which will live in the column on the right where the About The Author bit currently resides. You can judge a book by its cover – people do it every day – and the jacket blurb is one of the best marketing tools that a publisher has. When you’re browsing through a bookstore, it usually goes like this:
- See eye-catching cover with intriguing title
- Pick up the book and read the blurb
- Make a decision to buy or keep moving
And all of that takes place in the span of about fifteen to twenty seconds, so that blurb is way more important than most folks think.
Another marketing tool a publisher has is the excerpt. In the bookstore example, if you get to Step 3 and still need more info, you just crack the book randomly and read a page or two. Awfully random and unpredictable. The luxury I have is that I can choose something specific for you to read. The downside is that if this chunk doesn’t float your boat, where does that leave me? A conundrum, to be sure, but we’re not here to tip-toe through life. As my wife and I constantly remind each other, you’ve got to go big or go home. Since I’m already home, I’m going big, regardless of the fact that I feel like I’m about to birth a litter of kittens.
Without further ado, please enjoy this excerpt from Speck Martin.
It’s not entirely true that I didn’t cry outside of chow time or when I needed a fresh diaper. I screamed plenty, just like every kid. The thing that was unsettling for the adults around me was that I didn’t cry very long. After a couple of months, lying on my back in a crib staring into space wasn’t good enough, and once I got ambulatory, I moved fast. My mother could not keep up. I crawled faster than my older brother could walk. Mom would turn her head for a second – quite literally one second – and I was gone, baby gone. As you might imagine, this lead to a great deal of opportunity for injury. Table and chair legs, doorjambs, the corners of bureaus and sideboards; everything was in play. While my muscles developed quickly, I was still only a baby, so the mental acuity needed to navigate a suburban home was simply not present. Head down, moving at top speed…crack! Kitchen door to the forehead. Night-stand to the skull. Liquor cabinet to the face. There wasn’t enough padding in the world to cover every protruding edge and hard surface I would eventually plow into. Sometimes I’d get up a head of steam and clumsily race past Michael, knocking him down, ass over tea kettle, with yours truly breaking his awkward fall. Crunch! Like any normal infant, the wailing would begin. Unlike every normal baby, however, it would stop as quickly as it started and usually before Mom got to the scene of the accident. She’d pick me up and console me, but I hardly needed it. She would bounce me in her arms, her gentle, sing-song voice in my ear, dutifully reassuring me that everything was okay. For possibly the first time in baby history, a parent was not stretching the truth. Everything was okay. I was okay. There was nothing to cry about. The pain was gone and forgotten and it was time for a new adventure. Through a hundred incidents like this, my parents, my extended family, and anyone else who witnessed the phenomenon eventually figured it out. I was healing. Fast. My body was a healing machine. Bruises lasted thirty minutes; cuts and scrapes an hour. Gone without a trace. No pain, no marks. I’d trash myself by knocking a dining room chair onto my cranium at noon and the evidence disappeared before my dad got home for dinner at six. No bumps. No scars. Nothing.