Posts Tagged With: Page 99 Test

I got 99 problems, but a book ain’t one

After you get through the long, hard slog of writing a book, publication day represents the culmination of the initial creative process. But it’s not really the end, because a whole new set of tasks begins around then: The hustle.

I must confess that I have mixed feelings about getting in touch with my inner marketing maven. Relentless self-promotion takes a lot of time and effort, if you do it right, and that might be time better-spent on the next book (especially since I already have another project in the on-deck circle). I admire writers who are Zen enough to finish writing one book and move directly on to the next thing, with nary a second thought or backward glance.

Not me. After putting years of work into something, you want it to have the best possible shot at finding an audience. And so you work it as best you can. Or I do, anyway.

To that end, I’ve been very busy lately launching “Step It Up and Go” — in part because, without in-person bookstore readings, I have to utilize whatever is at hand. I’m doing lots of online virtual events, including tonight (Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time) at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville with special guest David Holt. You should tune in.

I’m also writing essays, articles and listicles that are tied into the book for a number of outlets kind enough to commission me to do so. Two pieces like that dropped just this week.

One is “The Page 99 Test,” which holds that if you open up any book to page 99, “the quality of the whole will be revealed to you.” Interesting theory, but I have to admit it sounds strange and a little random. Nevertheless, it worked pretty much perfectly the last time I contributed, for the 2012 Ryan Adams book “Losering.” And it works well for “Step It Up and Go,” too, especially since page 99 falls in the Doc Watson chapter. That essay can also be found on the Campaign for the American Reader blog.

Also new this week is my contribution to the music/literature blog Largehearted Boy, which publishes book-related playlists by authors. Since mixtapes are kind of my thing, I composed playlists for “Losering” and also my 2015 Ray Benson co-write “Comin’ Right at Ya” at their behest. And here is my latest one, the “Step It Up and Go” Largehearted Boy playlist.

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“My Book, The Movie”: Who should play Ryan Adams?

FilmReelAlong the lines of “The Page 99 Test,” we have “My Book, The Movie” — a blog that solicits authors to ponder who they might cast in the hypothetical big-screen version of their book. Setting the tone is a Faulkner quote about the movie business at the top of the page: Hollywood is a place where a man can get stabbed in the back while climbing a ladder. Nice.

So I took a crack at figuring out which thespian I might sign up to play young Ryan in “Losering”; and it was an interesting exercise because I had already kind of gone through the same process in reverse for another book a very long time ago. Check that out here, or at the Campaign for the American Reader. Given the filmic angle, I find it fitting that this turned up on the same day as the Academy Awards.

ADDENDUM (12/16/2014): Ryan and Johnny Depp are pretty close friends and collaborators, it turns out.

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Passing The Page 99 Test

P99TestSo how much can you tell about a book by opening it up to a single page? “The Page 99 Test” holds that if you go to page 99 of any given book, “the quality of the whole will be revealed to you.” I had an opportunity to give that a try at The Page 99 Test, which was kind enough to allow me to do a guest post about “Losering.”  And even though it seems like the ultimate in random exercises, page 99 of “Losering” just happens to fall at the beginning of Chapter nine — which actually serves as a perfect summary of some aspects of the story. Check that out here, or at Campaign for the American Reader.

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