There’s a conspiracy to get you to read this blog post…

Standard

My first idea for a blog was going to be about being a dad and a writer. Before I plunged into that, I looked around and not only did “Writer Dad” already exist, it was the launching pad for one of indie-publishing most prolific writers (look up Sean Platt, he’s got like 77 books on Amazon, and his serials with Johnny Truant and Dave Wright at Sterling and Stone are hugely successful). There was also Part Time Novel, doing an excellent job of conveying the plight of the working stiff, night-time novelist. Today I stumbled upon a great blog that started around the same time I did: Everyday Author: For Author’s Who Can’t Quit Their Day Job… Yet.

Honestly I never wanted my blog to be only for writers. I do hope that my writer friends near and far enjoy my blog, but I wanted a place to connect with my readers between books. To do that I just try to be some combination of entertaining and topical. I’m going to be me (when I’m entertaining and topical.)

I’m easily amused, so when I stumble on to an obscure topic, I get a huge kick out of seeing random hits on my blog from South Africa or Belgium because I’ve mentioned an author with ties to those places. I don’t know if these people are checking out my book, but I do hope they enjoyed landing on this page. (Still wondering if my Chemtrails comment got me on any CIA watch lists.) I’m a little mad at myself for ever mentioning them because they’d be a great vehicle for a plot twist, like the conspiracy in the The Grandfather Clock (no spoilers here, read the book.) Hell, where I live, the Tea Partiers briefly got FLUORIDE removed from the drinking water of hundreds of thousands of people because of a conspiracy theory (but they don’t buy climate change, weird.)

Great memes change minds, right?

Great memes change minds, right?

A writer friend said that a another author said that watching good television helped their writing. That makes sense… just as reading good writing, hearing good stories can help you be a better storyteller. (As opposed to right now, my wife has The Bachelorette on. As a man I am totally capable of tuning this out completely. I have no idea what Kaitlyn sees in Sean.) When we aren’t watching these ‘most shocking episodes,’ we’re binge-watching Mad Men, because we have 2 kids and are generally a half decade behind pop-culture.

But I do get a chance to read (print and audiobooks) and I want to talk about a book (with a conspiracy or two) that I’m very angry no one ever told me to read. It’s called Shibumi by Trevanian. It was recommended to me by our babysitter… not a teenager, but a hip child of the sixties who outfits our kids with “Haight Ashbury” and Rolling Stones shirts. Trevanian is the pen name of a university professor who hid his identity for much of his career. His best known work is The Eiger Sanction, which was made into a Clint Eastwood movie that is half way between James Bond and Austin Powers. (If you want a truly accurate accounting of who Trevanian was, you know how to use the internet.) Shibumi doesn’t bother pretending that the spy genre needs to be grounded in reality. It’s the anti-Tom Clancy. Clancy would spend ten pages telling you everything you need to know about surface-to-air-missiles, even if you don’t really need to know for the purposes of the story. In Shibumi, Trevanian creates an (absurdly) ultimate spy who could eliminate a room full of Jason Bournes without breaking a sweat. If you like the spy genre, read it, and never read another (unless I write one, then you can read another.)

Why am I telling you this? It’s my blog. I can say whatever I want. You read this far… so maybe you were entertained. Let’s review: We talked about some good writing blogs, the fact that my blog is for everyone (even you, Dan), also Chemtrails!, how I do NOT watch The Bachelorette – but in case you do, read this blog: Lost Angeles, and I gave you a terrific book recommendation. On top of that, some family member of the great Trevanian will have a Google Alert out, stumble across this page and know that his work is still dazzling readers. I tip my hat to Trevanian.

Thanks for reading. Drop me a note at jkilewrites@gmail.com. Everyone who emails me get a FREE email back.

Cheers!

-J

Advertisements

Not so great moments in (salesman) history

Standard

I was complaining to a friend today about this blog I know that has no subject. It was really annoying me. Of course, it was my blog that I was talking about. She said, “I really like reading it. It’s entertaining. Seinfeld was about nothing.”

On this blog I’ve written about writing (interesting to writers), working in sales (mostly amusing anecdotes), and books. In truth, I know the formula that can take a good blog to great, but the subject still eludes me. It’s a big commitment. I regularly read a blog that started out being about USC Trojan Football. Now, it’s mostly about the reality TV shows The Bachelor and The Bachelorette (check it out HERE.) It’s very funny, but now this poor guy has to watch every episode of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Lest I step in to a topic I can’t step out of, I’m going to continue treat this blog as a landing page for my readers and a place for them to get to know me and my writing.

A quick update on the “epic” relaunch of my book. Over 18,000 people now have The Grandfather Clock and there was a couple of nice bumps in paid sales after the free promotion. Since then, people continue to buy and… just as important… leave very positive reviews. In fact, I got one 1 STAR review, entitled “BOO!” The person complained: “Finally realized that it is part of a series and that is not made clear up front.” I thanked them for their feedback and explained that the book stands alone, but that it’s part of a three book series. Two other people came to my defense and the reviewer upgraded me to 3 STARS. Of course, now it looks like people jumped all over this man or woman for a 3 star review.

My wife commented that she wouldn’t know how to handle bad reviews. She does a lot of group programming and takes the surveys people fill out to heart. She’s a perfectionist and everything she does is outstanding. I make up for not being a perfectionist by having a thick skin. I’m in sales. I make a lot of cold… frigidly cold… calls. The vast majority are uneventful, whether they end in a new account or not. But there have been a few over the years that have stood out:

One of the funniest was the guy whose only response was to hold up his hand and say, “No soliciting.” He said it twice and when I tried to leave a card he pointed at it and said, “That’s soliciting!” I had a product he used and couldn’t purchase in quantity anywhere else, so the bad news was that he was going to buy it. Two months later he sold the business and the new owners are a great new customer.

"What do you mean there's no soliciting?"

“What do you mean there’s no soliciting?”

One of my most frustrating accounts was a busy place that was poorly run. The manager liked to yell at people but he never tried it with me. He had difficulty grasping the concept of a calendar, so I decided he needed to be taught a lesson… buy on schedule or don’t get your delivery. He blew up. They literally started mixing different products to make something that they thought was something else. It was completely bizarre. When he tried to threaten to take his business elsewhere, I told him that it was his only option.

My all time favorite was when I was working with one my supplier reps, a young German guy, very likable with a great sense of humor. We were having a very good day, making lots of sales. We walked in to this guy’s shop and I extended my hand to introduce myself. His hand was 6 inches from mine on his computer mouse. It did not move. I talked to him for what had to be a full minute, with my hand extended. He never shook it. It was a short conversation to say the least. Literally thousands of calls over nearly a decade, and I’ve had maybe 5 bad experiences. People are usually so nice, it’s amusing when they aren’t. My colleague and I still laugh about that guy who refused to shake my hand. Hell, we might even go back and see what happens the second time. Maybe I’ll bring cookies.

These are long days lately. The morning is madness getting two little ones going in the right direction, work all day with the phone constantly beckoning, and then back to the madness of two hellions in the evening. I write from about 10:30 to midnight and literally fall asleep writing. I’ve found entire paragraphs of mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm where I’ve passed out with my hands on the keys. The followup to The Grandfather Clock is on schedule for a summer release. Stay tuned!

-Jonathan

Buy the book: HERE for under a buck.

Email me at jkilewrites@gmail.com

Sign up for updates on the left!