Carp versus Lions, May 26, 2011

:[ February 4th, 2011

Trip booked, travel agent’s Tokyo office is getting us “great seats” for the game mentioned in the title. I’m beyond excited.

Whose name should I get on my Carp jersey? I’m leaning toward Kenta Maeda, last year’s Sawamura Award winner (the NPB Cy Young).

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Carpdate 2

:[ January 21st, 2011

I know this should probably just be an update to the last post, but since I don’t post here enough anyway I thought I should pad things out again.

So the Carp play 3 homestands around the time we plan to be in Japan, so I have a choice of games. Depending on our schedule, we might get to see them take on the Chiba Lotte Marines, the Saitama Seibu Lions, the Orix Buffaloes, or the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.

Carpe diem!

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Carpdate

:[ January 15th, 2011

I’m in the process of finalizing a trip to Japan in late May, and the travel agency tells me they will do their best to book tickets for me to attend a Hiroshima Toyo Carp game, schedule permitting.

Damn. Now I’m going to have to learn one of those fight songs! I don’t want to go to a game and look like a dumb gaijin who can’t tell the Carp from the Yokohama <spit> Baystars.

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Crazy Workout Guy

:[ October 4th, 2010

Somehow Sports Radio Guy ended up mutating into Crazy Workout Guy.

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This is the kind of thing Roscoe was talking about…

:[ August 15th, 2010

Remember when he said to make monsters in your children’s book goofy instead of pants-shittingly-scary?

The Japanese are so weird:

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Sports Radio Guy

:[ August 11th, 2010

Dare I say it? Coming soon…

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The Secret to Selling Kids’ Books

:[ August 9th, 2010

by Roscoe Stoneman, award-winning writer of children’s literature and author of the bestselling Wikipedia Brunette series of juvenile mysteries

The last time I posted, I gave you some tips on how to write successful children’s books. Equally important is how to sell children’s books, because let’s face it: the only reason anyone writes this stuff is for the money. And the MILFs at book signings.

Some of the stuff I mentioned previously will help you move your inventory – write about princesses for girls and monsters for boys but don’t say “fuck” — but nothing pushes paper like a good title. Cover art helps too, but we’ll get to that later.

Your first inclination will be to make the title say a lot about what’s in the book, but in reality it’s not very important. Say you have a story about a gnome who farts rainbows; your first stab at a title might be The Gnome Who Farted Rainbows, but you run the risk of tipping your hand too early. The reader will think, “Well now I know that it’s about a hideous deformed midget who emits colored light from its supposedly whimsical ass. What more do I need to know?” See? The title gives you nowhere to go but down. In the end, I called it Rumplefartskin, which is equally whimsical but doesn’t give away the whole rainbow schtick. It’s also a take-off of a famous children’s story, so you might fool some people into thinking it’s the original or at least a gritty reboot.

So if you can’t give away too much in the title, how do you still get people interested? I like to pick a single thing that’s important to the plot but doesn’t say too much about the plot, and zero in on that. Then stick the word “prince” in it somewhere. That’s what I did with my book Zardak, Prince of Accounting, which was kind of sneaky because Zardak was really just a CPA — a commoner CPA — which not only helped sell the book but gave poseur hipster parents an excuse to come up with bullshit literature criticism explanations for the title. Also, Zardak was a unicorn.

You’ll want to stay away from titles that are too contemporary or that piggy-back on current fads. It may seem like a good way to make a quick buck, but I’m here to tell you that you’re better off with a book that keeps selling for decades than one that gets pulled off the shelf once the boy band you based it on dissolves in a disgraced cloud of cocaine and hookers. My book ¬°Menudo Sleepover! doesn’t sell worth shit anymore. At least Groovy Gary’s Orange-Balorange Shag Carpet still sells a bit at folk music festivals.

Sometimes it takes two or three tries to get just the right title. I don’t know why. But I had a tough time with one book title a while back. My editor rejected the initial title, The Thalidomide Gang, because it was too controversial. We eventually agreed on a title, and the book was initially released as The Birth Defectors, which we thought had a neat science-fictiony ring to it. But everyone else thought it had a questionable-tastey ring to it. So after about a year, it was re-released as Stumpy’s Heroes, and the rest is history!

Now it also makes a lot of sense to have great cover art that kind of goes along with the title. Space Weasels had weasels in space suits on the cover, which was obvious, but Cheetah Spotting had a kind of lion thing on the front because no matter how many times I tried I just couldn’t get the fucking cheetah to look right. I think my problem was that it kept on looking like Chester Cheetah, and I didn’t want another trademark suit on my hands. Not after the whole Whidden and the Ganong Factory mess. Whatever you do, though, don’t try to make your cover art obscure or abstract. Nobody buys children’s books with floating eyeballs or tentacles, except the Japanese.

In my next installment, I’ll tell you all how to get into the business — how to get a publisher to notice you, how to work with an editor, and whether you should use a ¬†pseudonym for your adult erotic gladiator fiction.

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Carpdate

:[ August 5th, 2010

Sporko caught this awesome bit of Carptacular athleticism, which reminds me that I haven’t been posting about my beloved Hiroshima Toyo Carp lately.

Seems like the Mighty Carp are humming along at their customary .380 winning percentage. Sure, that’s a lousy record, but a) it’s the Carp’s lousy record, and they own it with great affection, and; b) it’s still better than the Baystars’ ancestor-shaming .359.

Fucking Baystars.

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There’s somebody out there for everyone

:[ August 3rd, 2010

Maybe even this guy.

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This guy really likes rainbows

:[ July 4th, 2010
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