An Hour to Learn Marketability

To write until 11:30am!
It’s about ideas, really. My idea is to write a book about some dogs and a cat. I have to figure out how to generate “buzz” about this, as well as make it seem newer and more interesting than every other book about some dogs and a cat.
What “personal” edge do I have to bring to the fore? My super-proper formal speech patterns? I wonder if that could be its own tool, but I don’t know what that market is. My market is kids, ages ~5-12, and the parents who love them.
And I’m writing a scary and emotional story about what probably becomes every kid’s fear the first time they ever hear their parents fight, ie – a separation. Thanks to “modern” living, the divorce rate is pretty high, so it’s not even an unique enough idea to make a spin of. “Average” probably isn’t a great advertisement…
I wrote a wildly-varied “essay” of sorts called “the Media Nerve” about my growing concerns of the nature of technology. Simply put, I think technology’s more-than-meteoric success is dangerous because there’s no way there’s a “total” understanding. In some way I wonder who is really in charge, the machines that -need- to be built or those who “want” to build them.
That’s an old argument, too. A new spin on that – in order to test if a human is a robot or not, simply see if it can tickle itself. As we know, thanks to a certain brain function, we cannot tickle ourselves, but a robot, as a sensory input device, would only know to “laugh” because it is being tickled. It sounds complex, but we’ll need it in the future. Sadly, because I’ve posted this bit of simple sage advice, now the machines are aware, too, and will learn how to properly react. Scary.
But back to the point, which somewhat ties in, with all the digital world and its saturation, the human animal is a hunter of information, now. How can I make my information seem that much more appealing than my competition? In a small scope of young’uns, (see ~5-12), maybe they don’t need a story about separation. Maybe dog-based mythological superstition about the nature of cats is enough. Maybe a cat in a kitchen itself is enough.
I don’t think so. I don’t know about the separation part, either.
Kids in that age group are scared of what? New schools, new grade-levels, new enemies in older kids, being left out of a “pack” and then defined as an outcast forever. Sadly, more and more kids are hungry, meaning looking for something to eat is a source of fear, too. There is enough material here, a lot of this I went through myself, somewhat, and it fits the kind of character I’ve built “Justin” to be. (NOTE: The final name will be something else, something “heroically generic” like Sr. Ricardo von Blobovich, III, Jr.)
I would also imagine that by then, every kid has heard their parents fight, assuming they’re still together and I could add this problem into the above category… but, out of all of that stuff, this is the one thing that I don’t know. My parents didn’t split up until I was older, an adult by “legal” standards, not even on the cusp of being done mentally developing, though. It wasn’t something that I “ignored” per se, but I dealt with it in the way an adult would, not a child. So, I can’t write what I know here, but it does allow me to use my imagination.
But, on the subject of ignoring, it has become so much easier to do that because there’s more and more “content” in our lives. We can’t see or hear or eat it all, we have finite time… still. There’s an almost inhuman (and “new” in the context of the whole human species’ development?) ability to ignore most anything now in favor of the things that we truly -want- to use up our time with.
How can I make my book one of those things? Anthropomorphizing animals into humans with accents based on their breeds’ place of “birth” isn’t new, either.
So, what do I do? For a number of years, I said out loud “…that I was forbidden to explain myself, since, as a spiteful being, I would teach people how to [make the mistakes I made].” And now, that’s precisely the worry I have. What if the lesson I -want- to teach is lost amid the story? What is something -else- is learned, unintentionally? If I write Sophie so well* and she’s a biased-dog-person, will I create/rekindle some prejudices?
* – I won’t have that problem, realistically.
My own escape from the torments of school was to ignore class completely and read books or daydream. Outside of the various teachers throughout the years yelling at me for not paying attention, I don’t really remember much of anything of school. I wasn’t “there.” That’s probably not a technique I should teach to kids… unless it works. Eventually, by about sixth grade, I was able to pretty well ignore the hurts from other kids, but by that time I also had a close friend.
Maybe that’s the lesson. Is that the story that I’m really writing? “A Boy and His Dog(s)?” I do believe that animals better the quality of human life, directly or indirectly. I guess the exception being Poe, but he does brighten everyone -else’s- day.
I intentionally set the story to open in summer so that there would be no school and thus, no reason to even have to consider it. But, school is almost -all- of a young kid’s life. That’s not true, but if there’s social fears to be preyed on, it’ll happen at school probably more than anywhere else.
There’ll have to be some mention of school in the later parts of the book anyway, since time’s passing means that school starts in summer into fall, would it change “so much” to build a school setting and set the story in that? A cat could just as easily end up in a school… (thanks to “Mary had a Little Lamb,” even that idea isn’t original), and the “crazy Mom” Halloween scene with the cleaver and cat could also pan out.
Does this new idea make me tingle with excitement? Maybe. It’s something new to think about and I love that stuff. “Curiosity feels great in the brain,” – dunno who said that, but it wasn’t me. In terms of story, it may be easier to tell the story of just dogs and cat, humans playing minimal roles mostly as food-sources or obstacles.
I don’t know. I need something that can’t be ignored. It doesn’t have to be -good- either, it can be so wonderfully bad that it’s a work of pity, and sometimes I feel that’s where I’m headed. I guess there’s a silver-lining after all.
I don’t know anything about teaching. I could make the book about that and it would truly be a work of fiction. Much wouldn’t change either, “A Dog and His Man,” really. The animals pave the way for the acceptance of my students, meaning they finally listen to the lessons.
It doesn’t matter what it’s about, it won’t be new. It needs to be -interesting-. And it has to be interesting to the young and the young-at-heart.
There’s a lot of negative language in this post, in every way, it is a glaring “DO NOT DO…!” example for failure in advertising.
Young kids do like animals, most kids know an animal, some even have pets. I would say there’s a large mystique about “exotic” animals, even to adults who haven’t traveled. Does my small house with a backyard become a menagerie of sick or injured animals, all desperate to teach a “chubby, ruddy, freckly kid” some kind of lesson?
That’s, in every way, the modern adaptation of “the Lion Bros.” a tale-within-a-tale story about two lion brothers who discover that the world isn’t all sunshine unt lollipops. That’s a terrible thing to teach kids, nevermind the other morals along the way.
So, I have 12mins left to pretend I’m any closer to figuring out to how market something. I didn’t even come close. This isn’t the only day I’ll have to do this, but there’s some serious consideration here.
As obsessed as I am with fables they can certainly play a role in any story, even sparking the imagination I love so much. I’m more than at a loss. I’ll need some super-grand concert of unison between the creative and the logical to figure this out, or more likely, another person… Though, by that I mean the problem of “marketing.”
I already have the idea, but the trick is to make it uniquely mine. And at the end, maybe it’s a “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” story, the protagonist is afraid that he turns into a monster when he’s in trouble. How could I explain that and how could I show that being overcome? I’d have to overcome it myself to be able to write about it.
It’s ok to have fear and I’m more than a little afraid of what I’m doing. I’m not just afraid that I’m not good enough or that all my hard work won’t matter. I’m not just afraid that it may really be too late and the world really won’t change, I’m afraid of all these things and more. Now that I know this stuff, though, I can and will ignore the fear. In some ways, it will shape the work itself. If “Justin” overcomes his own fears, then maybe I will, too.
Animals and overcoming overwhelming fear of the unknown are what I know, and even that second one not so-good-like. My time is up, too. It’s something to think about. How to spread interest? How is it unique, what am I not doing that I should be?
What am I doing too much of? (worrying)
The sky’s the limit, though. I don’t know what to do and as much as I wish I could market -that-, the struggle to get over being incompetent is daily. And that goes for everyone. Never give up, never surrender, listen to animals.
Actually, that last one, tooled to “look to nature” is absolutely a relevant idea to both the future of children in the world as well as mine.
I don’t have a joke or a snippy closing today. I’ve got my reading to do and some work to get started on.
Good luck out there, today!
-j.

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