Friday, March 27, 2009

The Squealing Wheel Gets the Grease

By: Martin Bartloff

This isn't solely about the VA Book Festival where I met with Karen and Katie Saturday. I'm about to give you a number and I want you to remember that number, because I will get back to it in just a tad. Ready? It's the number 8.

I met with Karen at 7:30 am at the Omni Hotel. We helped Karen and Katie set up the two Echelon stands, and then went to join my son, his girlfriend and Super Seth for Breakfast. When I returned, Karen sat at a table that was covered with Echelon books. No different with Katie, who set up just a few feet away. Familiar covers and titles caught my attentions here and there. Surviving Serendipity and Locker Shock (Karen, I like a real person on my cover art.)
Those two and DFF by J.R Turner intrigued me to the point of taking a closer look.

Karen and I spoke and during the course of the day I've learned some ugly words like distributor deadlines and bookstore returns. Very ugly words and I hope to never hear them again. Is my book ever gonna end up as a return on her table, I wondered?

Have you ever been to the movies and caught yourself so emotionally involved that your eyes watered and you desperately tried to swallow that lump in your throat? I think we all have done that and those movies have become our most-memorable movies of all times. Am I right?

Last time I checked my name wasn't Stephan King or John Grisham. My name is Martin Bartloff, Author of "Torn from Normal," aka Like a Snowflake in Summer. But don't be fooled, "Torn from Normal" isn't a great novel to read. It's not just any book, it’s simply the BEST. This is where you may roll eyes and think is he nutty? Yes I have a strong personality and tons of confidence in my novel, but guess what? That is what will sell my book. I don't go halfway and slow to a crawl because Echelon is selling for me. There is no slowing down, once "Torn from Normal" goes public I will beat the drum and let the world know that my book is the next literary blockbuster. Hollywood will be my next stop and once I see my work is on screen I will sit back knowing that I’ve succeeded.

You guys are the greatest bunch I've ever worked with, but I want to hear your one good reason why I need to read your book. Convince me. Since the day I became part of Echelon all I ever hear is "post this, link that, click here click there." While that is how we promote our books, I don't hear about the book itself, how great your work is and why anybody should read it. Face it folks, Karen gave us a great gift when she signed us. That gal stands 100% behind us and our books. Do you get this aggressive with your novels? The Internet is a great tool to promote, but as part of Echelon we all have to stick together as whole. I don't know where you stand, but my intentions as an author are clear and crisp!

Remember the number I gave in the beginning? 8 long hours Karen stood behind that table selling your books, believing in you and every single title. She is giving more than 100%. At times I wanted to send her off to get some rest while I filled her spot for a while. Katie did and I filled in, but guess what? I had no clue what I was selling. All I knew was covers, titles and names, nothing more. Can you be sure that your book will sell itself whenever Karen isn't around to give that one good reason people need to read your book? If I were a customer, I want you to convince me.

Karen and I may disagree on this and she is grabbing a stick now:) but let me say this to you. Can't we all please participate with each other a little more, share our material and talk about the content of our books? Who has the time to read hundreds of books, blogs and web sites in order to learn about you and your masterpieces?, The average reader is not going to seek you out. Don’t depend on the reader to stumble on your book. My mission is for my book not to be like a million others that get eaten like small fish in the ocean. I'm on a luxury liner, selling my book door to door if I must, until the printers run out of ink. I suggest you get onboard and let the world know why they need to buy your book.



  1. Great Blog, Martin. Wish I could have been there with you and Karen. You need to read my book because it is interesting and fun to read. It's for 10 and up -that includes you.
    Marlis Day

  2. Great post. My story is a must-read because it is absolutely unique. It provides a fun look (with plenty of attitude) at what really goes on when a girl happens to be JUST ONE OF THE GUYS. For guys and gals alike.


  3. Okay, here's why you have to read my books (any of them). You will smell better after reading them.

    Just read my stuff while drinking a Dr. Pepper and you'll soon have carbonation scrubbing your nasal passages clean and sparkly.

    As a result, you'll smell better, which will make you far more appealing to the opposite sex.


    Here are my sites so y'all can read some excerpts:

  4. "Haunting Spirits," which Quake is releasing for me in April, concerns a bunch of kids who play with a Quija board in a cemetery one night and who accidentally wind up with a malevolent spirit coming after them and causing great harm to them, one by one. The story follows AJ, who is the last of the group still walking around, who goes to hear a famous ghost hunter lecture at the local bookstore, and who winds up talking to the great man's daughter instead. But can she help? It's short, fun, and fairly scary so give it a look. And thanks for letting me sound off about it!


  5. Ophelia is the only one who gave enough information about her book to make it sound interesting.

    Martin, this is a major problem I see everywhere. All I see are posts saying "Buy my book!" Very few people tell readers WHY they should read it, or what it's about.

    Good advice! (No, I'm not an author. I'm a reader.)

  6. Thanks so much Audrey, I truly appreciate your comment. If you like what you read on my blog and my "Torn from Normal" excerpt, maybe you want to follow my blog?