Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Little Book That Couldn't

Jobless Recovery is, so far, the little book that couldn't be perceived as fiction by potential readers.

Sometimes an author misses the mark with a book or the marketing. I recently learned that when some people looked at the cover and description for Jobless Recovery, they thought it was non-fiction. Or even worse--self-help. You can see the cover image right here and maybe you'll have the same reaction.

Uh-oh. My bad. My very bad.

People: Jobless Recovery is not self-help. Do not do the things my characters do. Or did in the book. Do not tell people the events are true. Because if you do, I could be in big trouble with the feds and you wouldn't want that, would you? Well, maybe some people would, but I prefer to think I have no enemies. So please--don't try this at home--or anywhere else.

Meanwhile, I'm working to change the book's image. It's a novel. It's fiction. I need for it to look that way.

Here's the book description: Dave Griffin is a poster boy for the American consumer. He drives a blood-colored Behemoth model SUV, has a new home in the suburbs, a beautiful girlfriend, a computer programming job, and all the benefits that come with middle class life in America. Then Dave's employer replaces American computer programmers with cheaper imported labor in order to increase company profits. Soon Dave is out on the street. But he still believes in the system. All he has to do is bring the problem to the attention of the media and the people in Washington to get results, right? Wrong. Very wrong.

Meanwhile, Dave's friend Joe Tremaine, a former FBI agent who lost his job after suffering a head injury, is struggling to stay sane. Cynical Joe knows better than to trust anyone in Washington or in corporate America. He embroils Dave in his fraudulent money-making schemes, and when Joe decides to educate the powerful senator who has been the driving factor in eliminating American jobs, his plan goes awry. Can an unemployed computer jockey manage to keep Joe--and himself--out of jail? Or will the oddly-shaped bundle in the back of Joe's truck lead the cops to haul them both to the slammer?

Hmm. The description doesn't say it's a novel, but I think that on the whole I haven't done a bad job getting the idea across. I'll still consider reworking the copy.

Here's a very short excerpt, an exchange between two of the main characters, Joe and Dave:

"I’ll bet you can do a pretty good job of designing brochures and flyers and printing them off.” The bingo hall wouldn’t earn squat if they didn’t advertise.
“Of course.” Dave furrowed his brow, and Joe could almost see little wheels wobbling in his head as he tried to get his thoughts up and running. “But what about your home repair business?”
“That’s not working out.” Joe leaned in close and lowered his voice. “Don’t tell Lark, because she’d just worry herself sick, but I barely make enough to cover my expenses. I’ll have to kill you if you say anything.”
“I know. Leave no marks, hide the body from the rats.” Dave rolled his eyes. “You know something, Joe? I’d like you a whole lot better if you didn’t keep threatening to kill me.”
“I’m not trying to win a popularity contest, boy. You want the job? Set up the books, do the advertising, be my right hand man?”
“What type of business?”
Joe used a spoon to wrap a wad of spaghetti around a fork. “Here, taste this.” He pushed the fork at Dave.
Dave jumped back. “Ow. I burned my tongue.”
“You ought to know better than to let somebody shove a hot fork in your mouth. What do you say?”
“The spaghetti’s done. What kind of business is it?”
“I’m telling you, if you’ll just shut up and listen. That’s a big fault with you, Dave--you keep interrupting while I’m trying to explain things. This business I’m trying to tell you about is church. It’s all about me being a preacher and you being my assistant.”

No problem here. This excerpt screams fiction, right? I hope so, anyway.

Okay, my work is clear. I'm planning to add a cover blurb and possibly rework the description. Meanwhile, if you're considering buying Jobless Recovery, it's on sale for only $.99 on Kindle until January 1st.

The book has nine terrific reviews on Amazon so far, including three posted in the last week. Jobless Recovery is classified as satire and social commentary. It has a bit of mystery thrown in. Oh--and it's fiction.

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