August 30, 2011
Hey gang! Here’s the word on the street—the street being Broadway, where the Random House offices are located. The Only Ones will be coming out in some foreign language editions! Children around the world will soon be able to share in the adventures of Martin (or Maarten, in Brussels), Henry (or Enrique, in Costa Rica), Darla (or Sheila #2, in Australia), and Nigel (or Dragon Warrior with a Tiger, in Japan).
For now, the kind folks at Dogan Egmont in Turkey and at Rai Editora in Brazil have signed on to publish their own editions. I haven’t been told what the titles will be for these versions, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the Turkish one will be called Ben Senin Çeviri Yazılımını Severim and the Brazilian version will carry a title sure to excite the Sao Paulinos, something like 0-0 Draw.
Of course, I’d like to see the book appear in all countries, in all languages, so I’m calling on the following nations to jump on the bandwagon.
Papua New Guinea: Home to over 850 indigenous languages, this nation formerly known for its headhunters (no, not the corporate variety) is an untapped market for publishers. But it’s not just the people. They’re still discovering species out there in the jungle. Who’s to say there isn’t some tree kangaroo with an insatiable appetite for kidlit, but with absolutely nothing to read? Learn their language and let’s turn me into the Rick Riordan for arboreal marsupials.
New Zealand: We were all supposed to be speaking Esperanto by now. Fact is, the world will probably never adopt what was once hoped to be the world’s universal language. However, if Peter Jackson’s new Hobbit films hit even bigger than The Lord of the Rings, then there’s a good chance that most Kiwis will know a bit of Elrond’s tongue. Yes, and that Elvish language craze will spread and be adopted by the meek. And as the old adage goes “The meek shall inherit the earth and try to impress Liv Tyler and Cate Blanchett by invoking Tolkien.” The Only Ones, now in Elvish. Gotta get on that train before it leaves.
The Vatican: It would mean a lot to me if The Only Ones was translated into Latin. I was a member of the Junior Classical League in high school, which is responsible for all my success. The JCL is like the Skull and Bones, but with toga parties and Argonaut dioramas. These days, I translate The Aeneid from the original Latin at least once every two months. However, I would place Pope Benedict in charge of the Latin translation of The Only Ones, so long as he makes it mandatory reading at all Easter masses. We can even add the line agricola est in ager, to encourage the magister to require it in all “Intro to Latin” classes as well. Catholics and preppy kids worldwide are sure to dig it almost as much as First Thessalonians or the Philippicae of Cicero.
That Oil Rig Thing Where the Libertarians are Going to Live: Read about the place here. Tax dodgers who want to live in a lawless Waterworld-esque land will need a lot of paper to burn once all their stocks go belly up. Now, I’m not for burning books per se, but if someone needs 25 face cords of kindling to make it through an Atlantic Ocean winter, I’d rather it be 25 face cords of The Only Ones then, say, Murakami’s Norwegian Wood, which admittedly burns better, due to the title.
Canada: No, I won’t make any jokes about how every sentence will end in “eh.” Or that there will be a button on the cover that you can press, causing all abouts to be pronounced aboot. That’s just cheap Canuck-baiting. I honestly want to be able to stop by a bookstore in Nunavut and see The Only Ones on the shelf next to 101 Things to Do With Walrus Meat Before You Freeze to Death. I would also like it to be adapted into a film starring the original cast of You Can’t Do That On Television. There will of course be some sliming, but I’m more interested in seeing the climactic scenes played out in a hallway full of lockers, with a lot of “Hey Moose!” and “Hey Alasdair!” to add to the third act’s tension. That’s not too much to ask, eh?
August 3, 2011
Borders has fallen. The e-book has placed a pox-filled blanket in the arms of librarians and Chinese printing presses and would-be assassins who like to underline passages and dog-ear their paperbacks. Marketing budgets are dwindling to nothing. Lakes are turning blood red. And authors are left wondering “what in the sam-heck is a wordsmith supposed to do to get the kids to read his tale about misfits building a giant machine in the wake of apocalypse?”
Simple. BLOG TOUR!
To those out of the loop, a blog tour (or web-log junket, if you must) consists of an author posting interviews and musings on the blogs of like-minded writers and critics in an effort to reach a larger audience for his/her book. Blog tours have been proven to increase sales by 2,037%!
Now, if I’m going to do a blog tour in support The Only Ones, I’m not going to half-ass it or go the typical route. I want this thing to have pyrotechnics, inflatable pigs, upside down drumming–everything except Hell’s Angels getting all stabby. But for that, I need your help. So I’m calling on bloggers near and far to join me or, more specifically, to invite me over to their blog, where I will do any of the following things:
- Participate in an Eating Contest! You name the food item (anything is game, so long as it’s chicken wings). Then we set up a Skype video chat. We stare each other down as we scarf large quantities of chow. Ten minutes. Dirty looks allowed. Marc Bittman and Michael Pollan will be the referees, and they will be contractually obligated to say things like “gentleman, start your small intestines” and “plop plop fizz fizz, o what a battle this is!” If you insist on eating fried worms, then Thomas Rockwell will be the judge. But he must be dressed in a neon green bookworm costume, and refer to me as “The Golden Pancreas.” When all is said and done and the champion is crowned, I will write about the experience in a ten-part series on your blog. The series will be titled: We Were Hungry Once…And Young.
- Write a Love Letter to Your Crush! If you spend most of your day blogging, then chances are you’re a little unlucky in love. Rest easy Miss/Mr. Lonelyhearts, because I am ready, willing and able to pen a missive that will win hearts and minds. We will address it to that someone special and I fill it with mixed metaphors and fiery loins (STD-free, of course). Try this sample out for size: “From your bushes, I have been watching you sleep. From behind this computer screen, I have been frantically Googling, memorizing the addresses of your exes and printing out turn-by-turn directions and streetview pics so that escape routes are clear. From the corner of my soul, where I keep the scalped plastic dolls and the memories of that one crazy summer and the riverside and Boxcar Joe and the pinky swear that was a held a little longer than I was comfortable with and the hand-dug grave that was supposed to be “deep enough,” I reach out to you, and ask you to be my love, and I pledge my ever lasting devotion to you, in this life and in the lives that follow, including the one where we are reincarnated as frolicking ferrets. Did I tell you I have ferrets?”
- Time Travel! This is gonna require some physics. But hey, I believe in you. Think about it. People blog about food, movies, dating–any number of things. But has anyone ever traveled back in time for a blog post? I venture to guess they have not. This is what I propose. You create a time machine. A Delorean is not necessary. A tricked out elevator or phone booth will do. Heck, a wormhole will suffice. Once said dimension-spanning bridge is in place, I’ll hop right on it and you can shoot me to Medieval France, or Ancient Egypt, or even just 1991 where I can marvel at the sideburn choices. I’ll jot my observations down and bury them in your future backyard. All you have to do is dig them up and transcribe them onto your blog. Heck, grab your shovel now. Chances are they’ve been there for years, just waiting for you.
- Steal Your Identity! Anything the Nigerians or Russians can do, I can do better. So tell me your mom’s maiden name and give me your credit card and social security numbers and let’s see what sort of mischief I can conjure. All I need is a day or two and the warrants and collection agencies will crash in hard and heavy. Curious what it’s like to owe a guy named Fingers Martinez a cool 100K. Wanna test ol’ Fingers’s mettle? I can arrange that. Bummed out that all your pals are on the no-fly list, while you get whisked through airport security with nary a grope? Well, consider this your lucky day. Once we’re through with my whimsical Parent Trap-esque experiment, I’ll have taken over authorship of your blog and your lawyer will be looking at you through the plexiglass, shrugging his shoulders, lifting the phone and saying, “three squares and a cot…could be worse.”
- Be Interviewed or Write About My Book! This is a little off the wall, but hear me out. Reserve a few hundred words of blog-space for me and I’ll wax eloquent on the writerly life and the seeds of inspiration. Just to make things clear, though. I’d prefer we not go this route, because it could be exceedingly difficult on me. For instance, you might ask me to name the one person, living or dead, I’d like to have dinner with and I’ll be forced to say something like Jonas Salk. What I’d really like to say…the person who I’d really like to have dinner with is…you. Beautiful you. Wonderful you. You. You…you.