I’d like to draw readers’ attention to the sui generis, romantically solipsistic, oddly compelling prose-poetic art book that is Patrick Mullins’ newly-published Illegal Dances of New York City. It’s his third, following Deep Tropical Ciné-Musique, which I wrote about here and here, and Day of Ciné-Musique, which I reviewed here.
In issuing this announcement I’m reminded that five years ago I launched Ktismatics as a “platform” for promoting a book that I had just finished writing. It was my third, a non-fiction, the first two being novels. Somewhere I’d read that it’s easier to get nonfiction published than fiction, especially if you’ve already built up an audience. So I went ahead and wrote a nonfiction in order to draw attention to the fiction, which is where my real writing passion lay. I hoped that six months of blogging would generate a groundswell of enthusiasm for the ideas behind my nonfiction book. Once I had established this online platform of potential buyers, I would be able to secure the attention of an agent and a publisher for the book. And once that book got published, then the fictions would get published too.
So: I began writing a blog in order to get my nonfiction book published, which I wrote in order to get my fiction books published. Interspersed with other related material I posted excerpts from the book and elaborations on its themes. I offered to send an electronic version of the nonfiction book, free of charge of course, to anyone who asked. I was astounded that no one ever did. After six months of blogging I sent packets of inquiry, including a detailed summary and excerpt, to six agents, all of whom represented authors of recently-published books addressing topics similar to my own. Within a week all six agents had sent me boilerplate rejection letters.
I’ve found other reasons to keep writing the blog even after it no longer served its original purpose. Eventually I rewrote the book I’d originally pitched: shortened it a lot, expanded its scope, turned it into a fiction. Though the original version was good, I’m even more pleased with the rewrite. A year and a half ago I announced its completion on the blog, featuring some Youtube clips of me reading aloud from the beginning of the text. Again I offered free e-copies of the book to anyone who asked, though this time I would have been surprised had anyone taken me up on the offer. I wasn’t surprised.
I’m pleased that over the past five years a few Ktismatics readers have asked to read my other books. There were three for the first novel, all of whom said they liked it. I sent my second novel to someone who tossed it aside as a piece of crap after reading maybe a quarter of it. One blog reader has asked for my fourth book, which I finished a few months back. I’ve not forgotten: I will send it to you eventually.
I don’t know whether my prior write-ups of Patrick’s earlier titles generated a spurt of customer demand, but then again Patrick never put up his own self-promoting blog before. Since I’ve been writing Ktismatics I’ve witnessed the publication of a number of books written by other bloggers. As far as I’m aware only a few of these bloggers’ online associates have written reviews of their books. I wonder if those reviews, or other forms of blogging recommendation, generated many sales.
I have found that I’m a more credible salesman of other people’s books than of my own. There’s this friend of mine: he’s read my latest novel, and I’ve also discussed with him the psycholinguistic works of Michael Tomasello. This friend has recommended Tomasello to several of his other friends and associates, but as far as I know he’s not recommended my book to anyone.
So: follow the link, buy Patrick’s book, and enjoy. I might resent you if you do, but only if I find out about it (winky smiley).