Saturday, January 29, 2005

Jay the Writer

My boss went to L.A. a week ago for a business convention (which, from her stories consisted mostly of drinking, drinking, going to a taping of The Jimmy Kimmel Show, and drinking), and saw a crazy roadside billboard that said: "HEY, NBC, I Just Wrote Something For You. Come Look!--JAYTHEWRITER.COM". I thought she was joking when she told me about it, but now I see it mentioned on Michael Hemmingson's blog.

So, of course, I looked up the site.

If this is for real, it's one of the wackier ways to promote your writing that I've heard of in awhile. If not, it's an expensive joke.

It makes me wonder how far I'd go to sell a piece of writing. While a billboard may payoff for the advertising-driven world of Hollywood, a move like that would probably put a black mark on anyone attempting to do anything remotely literary. Would I do a stunt, barge into a publisher's office demanding they read my manuscript? I could become a male slut, selling my body along with my manuscript. Or maybe drive around NY City with a bullhorn touting my brilliance.

But I think the ones who have respect in the industry are those who toil away, work hard and go through the channels. Even an "upstart" like Dave Eggers was heavily involved in the L.A. lit world before he exploded on the scene with his staggering genius. One of my profs in school was fond of saying, "I can get famous and sell lots of books anytime I want. All I have to do is go down to the White House and defecate on their lawn. I'd get more free press than I'd know what to do with. But a book should sell itself."

Needless to say, he's one of those irascible types. But all things being equal, I think he's right. I doubt Jay the Writer will pull off this little gambit, although I still wish him luck.



LadyLitBlitzin said...

Too funny!

It does make me think of the fact that one of the hardest thing to do as a writer is market your own work. Your job is to be creative; however, it's often much harder to put that creativity to work to sell yourself. Then on the other hand, really, you're a writer, not a marketer.

Actually, my current employer has had people do some rather nutty things in order to get their resumes read. Although it does get them attention, rarely does it mean that they get a job unless there's a whole lot of good experience to back them up.

I have never done anything bizarre to get a job, other than the unsolicited email to a contact name. I think that when it comes to my day-job career, the real buzz word has been "tenacity." I first interviewed there in 1996; from 1996 until late 2003, I interviewed there 3 different times, and gathered up experience in the duration. So, the happy ending is, I just celebrated my 1-year anniversary there recently. So, I'm hoping that my lesson, which will hopefully work for fiction, is tenacity wins in the end.

Hebdomeros said...

I have to rely on tenacity as well, and I think it's a good tool. I'm not great a networking, so it's my best weapon aside from just showing what I can offer.

LadyLitBlitzin said...

Yeah, the only place I "network" well is on the Internet -- it wasn't hard for me to email contacts I gained from coworkers about possible jobs, but when it comes to meeting people at "mixers," I suck.

But at least I can say, tenacity is a tool that does work!