Travels with Myself
A Journal of Discovery and Transition
Doug Jordan, Author
Canadians can have an opinion about the complex issues that are the Middle East, and more particularly the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but to justify, not to mention celebrate, the terrorist acts of Hamas (or Hezbollah for that matter) is ethically, morally and even intellectually wrong.
Marshall McLuhan famously said ‘the medium is the message’ (by which was meant that the choice of means and transmission of the message was more impactful than the message itself) but this could also be restated as ‘the medium is the legacy’. If the creator hasn’t provided for the means to preserve their work, and retrieve it, it vanishes, and the longed-for legacy is lost. Hoping to be remembered is a mug’s game really, since in actuality the means to preserve and retrieve records is fragile and likely temporary.
That may sound like a stupid question, or at least one with a simple answer – just keep on revising the original draft – but you’d be surprised how many authors save their first draft and begin revision on a duplicate copy, renaming the file, R1 (or D2 if you prefer that nomenclature). (Of course, if you choose to make continuous revisions to the first draft, you never need to face the question of what to name the file in subsequent revisions.) But why do they do it?
When I start a new book project, I name the file with an appropriate title and mark it R0 – Revision Zero. I suppose the original file could be called Draft 1 and the revision would be Draft 2. Or it could be First Draft and then Revision 1 but that annoys me. So I call the first draft R0 and the 2nd draft R1. (I know, quirky.)
Each of these movies say something to me, or meant something to me at the time I saw them and the memory stays with me. Some of these titles will always be on the top ten list while others might slip to 11 or 19, depending on what other titles might come to mind at any given time. But for now, let’s accept these as my top ten.
But now it’s back to the movies and people are flocking to the theatres again. But things have changed. Now a pair of ducats cost at least 50 bucks and by the time you wind your way through the self-serve junk food court and pay too easily with your tap bank card, you’ve spent well over $100 bucks to see, to see, well, a mediocre film.
I’ve had experience with medical assistance in dying, with my dogs. Scoff if you like, but I’m sure the rituals and emotional experience of it is very similar. And the worst of it is, the trusting quadrupedal family member has no idea what is coming. For our pets, and severely injured and ill animals of any description, we have almost no reservations about euthanasia for them.
With bipedal family members the experience must be different. Sentience in the human makes the difference, and so we defer to the one who will die to make the decision? But what if they can’t? Or leave it too late?
Beyond the gift of god argument, attitudes to suicide may vary with cultural norms. In some cultures it seen as the ultimate in cowardice, and selfishness. In others, suicide is seen as the failure of society to rescue the suicidal individual from the social and psychological demons she or he is living with. In yet other societies it is seen as the height of honour. But mostly, suicide has been seen as a tragic end to an unhappy existence, and an outcome that society should do whatever it can to minimize.
Ageing happens every day of course but we don’t tend to notice, until one day. Somewhere around age 70 I began to notice changes in Dad’s skin, brown spots on his hands, and face. And jowls. Clear signs of ageing. And it bothered me.
His skin also became increasingly wrinkled. He’d take off his perma-pressed shirt and remark his skin needed ironing. Miraculously his hair never went gray!
Having an MBA and managing my own consulting business for 30 years, meant I had some sense of business management, including the imperative of effective marketing and distribution. So I applied this wisdom to my book business: I did some research, I developed plans, I made calls. I made progress. But not enough. I needed help. I joined the Canadian Authors Association.
Now that [Terry Fallis] is a successful published author, he has speaking gigs all over the country. I’m not sure if his fame has reached the US. He mentions enjoying Whitehorse very much, but no mention of Wabash. I imagine he no longer drives himself to give a Wednesday afternoon talk at the Campbellford Public Library, but I could be wrong.
The marketing strategy here is to attempt to lever the word-of-mouth angle (‘word on the street’?), by far the most effective method to draw attention to your book. It’s one thing to tickle somebody’s fancy on TikTok, it’s another thing to get that amused potential buyer to become an actual buyer; she needs one more bit of encouragement. People are much more likely to buy your book if her friend recommended it than if she only saw a video. You need to get people talking about your book, and then friends telling their friends about it.
Still, how many books will they sell? This is the classic queuing problem every B.Comm. student ponders in Operations Research 299. It’s the same problem every baker ponders when trying to decide the right quantity of buns to bake. Too many means wasted inventory and costs, too few and you sell out of product and have unrealized revenue. And therein lies the big problem with book fairs.
So in seeking retail channels for our book, ‘The Treasure of Stella Bay’, we abandoned the Indigo empire and sought out local independent bookstores instead, especially those located in Ottawa (local author angle) and the Lake Ontario/Kingston region (to exploit the Amherst Island/Stella Bay locale angle). You can see my strategy here: if my book could get traction with these parochial stores, I could then lever this reputation into indie stores in the ‘big smoke’ (i.e., Toronto).
To get noticed on social media, words are not enough; even pictures are not enough. You need more than pictures to get and hold people’s attention. You need moving pictures.
And we’re not talking about black and white Charlie Chaplin movies, we’re talking talkies.
In the face of this daunting market-place for books, most Canadian writers don’t realistically expect to become rich and famous, nor even become ‘best-selling authors’; they just want to be read. (I suppose that might be said of all writers. How many aspiring American authors also live in obscurity, their books languishing in their closets, unsold, unread and unloved.)
You don’t have to be a lifer to be a virtuous volunteer but you need to be committed; many volunteers, though, have other motives, or find out they aren’t as motivated to make a contribution as they first thought when they volunteered, caught in a moment of enthusiasm, or pressure.