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Saturday, June 14, 2008

On Literature, Readings and "Months and Seasons"

I had trouble deciding on where to put this report from Chris Meeks, author, friend and fellow UCLA instructor. It is a success story about promotion, cetainly, but it is also about literature. A book of short stories in particular. I hope you enjoy it as a guest post.


Yesterday was a big day for me. Would people buy my book? Would they come to the reading? Yesterday morning the ranking for "Months and Seasons" on Amazon at #1,763,891--so low, it didn't really exist. I sent out a reminder to people that "today was the day," and that seemed to help. By midnight last night, Months and Seasons was ranked #9305.

All day yesterday, friends were writing e-mails that said, "Your reading has been on my calendar for weeks, but..." Things came up. People couldn't come. Would I get the 80 people I hoped for? I'm happy to say it was at least that. Most people I asked guessed it at a hundred people in the audience--which is something considering there was a $10 admission to the reading. Not only that, sales of the book there were brisk, too. I signed at least 50 books.

Marketing aside, the reading itself rocked. Each actor brought sensitivity and comic timing to each story, and the audience laughed in all the right spots. When Dracula soared into the night, for instance, the actor held out his arms and tilted his head back and said the lines from memory, and I heard people gasp. Four stories were read: "Dracula Slinks Into the Night," "A Shoe Falls," "The Wind Just Right," and "A Whisker."

While the day worked out extremely well, it was really the culmination of two-and-a-half years of planning, from agreeing to having my work presented, to writing the stories, having them edited, rewritten, reedited, proofed, and published, to writing a monthly newsletter, to getting the book designed, to printing and sending out ARCs, to e-mailing people to make sure they can come to the reading. Whew. It was a mammoth undertaking, but my book is now out in the world.

Thank you for your wonderful part in all this, not only inspiring me, but also writing reviews and offering advice. The reading was videotaped and in about a month, large chunks of it will be on YouTube. I'll let you know then.

Attached are a few photos.

Chris MeeksNoble (Not Nobel!) Prize winning author of The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea, Months and Seasons and many more including plays. His e-mail is

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