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Saturday, February 25, 2012

My Yopp! (if not my barbaric yawp)


The Whos, invisible and unheard by the cynical mob, are about to be boiled in beezlenut oil by the charmingly wicked Wickersham brothers. They, and the Sour Kangaroo, and many others, doubt the Whos' very existence. Horton, trying to save them, is tied and held; there's nothing he can do.

Although the Whos are all shouting at the top of their lungs, trying to be heard, trying to be believed, they are not loud enough. Just before the mob boils that dust speck, the last holdout among them, Jojo, finally joins his voice to the others...


Yopp!

They are heard, and they are saved.

Everything worked out great for them.

Cool.

I'm not bitter, though.


Things are a little different for self-publishing writers in 2012. Each one of us--and I'm starting to learn how many such writers are out there--is trying to be heard. Trying desperately. We all have a book to sell, or three or five such books, and our hope for a beautiful future writing, instead of selling insurance or making widgets, rides on connecting with thousands of book-reading customers. At the very least, they must hear my "Yopp!"

The sound of thousands--or hundreds of thousands--of voices saying not "Buy my book!" or even "Read my book!" but just "Please look at my book!" becomes a concealing white noise that levels and cancels each one of our voices equally. We are the mob, and the mob cannot be understood. The mob cannot be attended to. Such noise is mere distraction, and must be ignored.

I've read a hundred blogs and a thousand bits of advice on how to rise above the noise of the mob. It all amounts to this: co-opt every neighbor, friend, noisemaker, amplifier and megaphone you can, and join as many voices together at one time as you can leverage, to make yourself heard. Organize the noise.

The whole time, I'm dreaming of a simple image: a book--one that I've painstakingly written and edited and published--waiting on a serene bookshelf; waiting silently, unobtrusively; a book waiting to be browsed, noticed or not noticed, chosen or not chosen, by the unmolested reader.

That image is not possible in reality, or at least not yet. Before such a book can sit on such a shelf, I must gain entrance by being noticed and approved and invited in. I must first sound my barbaric "YOPP!" to get the attention of as many potential readers as I can.

My apologies in advance.

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