Living with the Truth Stranger than Fiction This Is Not About What You Think Milligan and Murphy Making Sense

Monday, 26 May 2008

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible

Okay, Jim so where's your usual incisive and witty blog gone?

Good question. Normal service will be resumed shortly. In the meantime I've had the first honest-to-goodness review of my novel and I'd like to share it with all of you. It's by a guy called Steve Kane and, no, I didn't pay him an embarrassingly large sum of money to say nice things about me nor did I threaten to display photos of him engaged in embarrassing activities on my website for the world – or at least my small slice of it – to giggle over. So there.

Fair enough. So where do we read this review then?

Glad you asked. Here's a link to Steve's blog:

You think this'll convince us to buy your book, don't you?

It's called marketing, folks and this is the real world. I slogged away at that baby for five years and, it may not be Ulysses, but I think it has something to say that's worth reading.

So, you want us to read the review?

Yes, please.


If you don't mind.

And you'll post a real blog later?


You promise?

Would I lie to you?

You're a writer aren't you?

Just read the goddamn review, why don't you?

Hey, no need to get tetchy about it. We're going right now. What's that link again?


You're welcome.


Book Calendar said...

That was rather interesting. If Mr.Truth showed up at my doorstep I would assume he was something like Mr. Coyote or Mr. Anansi and try to trick him into leaving as soon as I could possibly manage.

Jim Murdoch said...

That was an interesting proposition, Book Calendar, and I have to confess that I did not have the trickster in my head as a template for Truth but that is, of course, precisely what he is. When I think of the trickster my mind jumps to Loki – probably the result of reading too many Thor comics as a kid – and so I tend to think of him primarily as a malevolent entity whereas Truth has Jonathan's good in mind, he is just not always that subtle or tactful in helping him along the road to enlightenment. The fact is he does play "tricks" on him all the time. Very well observed.

I had a look at the Wikipedia article on Modern day tricksters which was fascinating. What I was particularly taken by was the list of traits that Hynes and Doty say would identify a true trickster:

1. fundamentally ambiguous and anomalous
2. deceiver and trick-player
3. shape-shifter
4. situation-inverter
5. messenger and imitator of the gods
6. sacred and lewd bricoleur

That really is Truth to a T.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jim, The Truth About Lies is definitely on my toread list, but as you know ... I'm a sloooowww reader. Cheers.

Jim Murdoch said...

Thanks for that, John and I'm sure you'll savour it when you do. You know, this whole marketing feels too much like selling. Advertising is fine – design cute advert, stick on your blog, go about your business – but marketing is all this YOU NEED THIS, BUY THIS NOW, YOUR LIFE WILL BE EMPTY WITHOUT THIS and what the hell, it's just a book. I don't buy dozens of books every day. I didn't buy a book by the greatest living Flemish author only today and I can't even remember his name. And yet I still expect people to buy my book. Does that make me a bad person?


I'm heading that way now...

Anonymous said...

Marketing is always a tough racket, and the literate find it a bane because they would rather be reading or writing. But marketing is a good and honest part of the deal.

I don't know if you followed my dialog with Cliff Burns at my blog, but Cliff has had great frustration with publishers (and has vented quite colourfully about it at his blog). He has decided to take the step that many authors are taking these days to release a full-text version of their book on-line.

In my view, this makes perfect sense for a book of any length or substance, because anyone who is actually going to read the whole thing won't want to read it on-line or in a PDF. (Though if they own a e-reader, they might be able to convert to that format).

The full-text version generates interest. Some sites advertise the locations of free e-book downloads. Those who download it and get started might even buy the print version.

Cliff didn't make a print version available, which I didn't quite understand. My thinking is that the full-text version on-line is just a catalyst for print sales.

Other authors are making audio versions of their books available free on-line to generate interest. Cliff is trying this too.

Who knows? It's a bit of gamble, but it seems to be catching on.

Jim Murdoch said...

Thanks for that, Susan, hope you were as entertained by it as I was. It's always interesting to see how other people describe your work. I think Steve did a pretty good job personally.

And John, yes, I've read of other authors doing that and I can see why but to my mind, if they need more than a synopsis and a chapter then they're probably not going to want to read the book. I have done some work on a video, a book trailer, which was okay and I might stick that up on YouTube. There's just been so much else to do. But I really don't think people want to hear me read anything.

Anonymous said...


I am happy to see your new book out there in the real world. You must be a proud father. I hope to send for it soon. My reading list is such right now that it may take me a while to get back to you on my own take of your book, but I am happy to see it out there, amongst the readers of the world.

Again good luck with the book,


Rachel Fox said...

So are you sending review copies to any non-line magazines/papers...or are you hoping to get the book known via on-line reivews/mentions only? Just interested.

Are you planning any hoaxes to get attention for said book? Naked sunbathing? Defacing library books? Leaving the wife for a Cheeky Girl? Or will you come up with your own strategy?

Jim Murdoch said...

Robert, I don't know if you have kids yourself but you never just get to be proud of them. You also get to worry yourself sick about them. When I first started work on this book I let various people read draft copies and I did make a point of trying to find people who knew nothing about me so that I could get a true reaction, not that my friends minced their words, but sending the thing out into the world is another thing completely which is why I was so grateful that Steve's review was as favourable as it was. I know another couple of people who have finished the thing and I've not heard a peep from them but I'll just have to be patient. Get round to the book when you can and all feedback gratefully received.

Rachel, before I started this venture I read a huge amount about how to market a book and, on the whole, it's pretty off-putting and I have no illusions. The competition out there is huge and even if books aren't in direct competition they still clutter up the marketplace. The two main things I've done: a blog to attract customers and a website to promote my writing; there's also a MySpace page which is under the publisher's name.

I'm not doing any off-line promotion. There are lots of reasons why not but the main one is health considerations. I don't go on about that sort of thing on my blog because everyone's got something up with them but I simply don't have the capacity to cope with anything like that besides there is some doubt whether it is a worthwhile investment of time, money and energy. Vanessa Gebbie recently wrote about going to a book signing in Borders I think it was and not one solitary person showed up to hear her; that's soul destroying and she's not alone but it is her first book.

I'm aiming for the long haul. Unlike a lot of authors I have more books finished which I'll release gradually over the next few years and, with each new book will come an opportunity to promote the previous ones. Sites like Goodreads and Zoetrope have provided a good base to make contacts and do promotion; the jury's out on Gather but Authonomy, Author Nation and Nothing Binding feel like a waste of time – there's nothing there apart from other authors all plugging their own books. I'm expecting another couple of reviews and an interview is on the cards but it's early days.

So no hoaxes or stunts and definitely no Cheeky Girls; I have neither the energy, inclination, will power or time … besides they'd take one look at me, squeal something unintelligible and run a mile.

Ken Armstrong said...

I'll be a little slow finishing the book but I will move quickly to put up a review then.

Sorry to piddle around, Jim.

Conda Douglas said...

Wow Jim, great review--and I add my vote to your book being a must read.

Jim Murdoch said...

Ken, you just take your own sweet time. There's no rush and you're under no obligation to post a review. That said I can't pretend I'm not dead keen to find out what you thought but I can wait. I just needed to get one positive review under my belt. Since you're local and about my age I expect that the book's humour and references will work with you. What I'm keen to know now is how someone outside the UK and Eire copes with it. And a woman. The women who read the early drafts were rather protective and forgiving of Jonathan and I never quite got that given his proclivities and attitudes.

Jim Murdoch said...

Thank you, Conda, your vote is very much appreciated.

Tink said...

Thanks for convincing me to read the review! ;-) It was worth it! I added your book to my wishlist at Amazon.

Jim Murdoch said...

Well, Tink, I hope someone has the good sense to buy you a copy for your birthday. I had a wee look at you site. One of the girls I used to work with was nicknamed Tink for the same reason as you but I've no idea how it got started because it was only in our office she was called it. When I left I bought her a rather pretty Tinkerbell paperweight. I had no idea there were so many cool collectibles.

Jena Isle said...

It must be a good read. I wish I could read it too, just for the enjoyment of reading a new book. I just got done with "The Disappearance" by J.F. Freedman and I am scouting for another one to read.

Jim Murdoch said...

You can, Jena! The cheapest way is direct from the publisher's website: fv books.

You can order via but the postage and handling charges are extortionate.

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