Monday, January 29, 2007

Straight to the Gut

Two warriors protected (?) by scale, mail and plate, c.1415.
Cotton MS Nero E.
From Porter's Medieval Warfare in Manuscripts.

Noticed there are a lot of naughty meanings attached historically to the word gut as slang.
I won't sully your delicate, shell-like ears.
To elevate the location - but not the language -I was gob smacked yesterday to receive an e-mail from John Barlow.
His novel Intoxicated comes out today in paperback from WilliamMorrow/HarperCollins.
Blurbed as "money, madness and the invention of the world's favorite soft drink."
Since it is also described as a booze-swilling saga set in Yorkshire in 1869 -I interpret that as a sort of Industrial-Victorian sex, drugs and rock n'roll.
Was named Editor's Choice by the Historical Novel Society, btw, and a few more kudos.
He also sent along a link to one of those youtube iPod thingies - which may be found on his site in case I screwed up the link.
For one nanosecond I thought, moi?
John Barlow has contacted me?
No flirting, no foreplay? Never read my blog? Probably wouldn't like it if he did?
Who is (published) John Barlow and who am I?
Obviously he has sent this plea for promotion to lots and lots of girls. It's barely above spam.
I could, in isolated umbrage, claim I'm not that sort of girl. That I only mention books I have discovered or promote people I know. That there is no quid pro quo. Sniff.
But wotthehell. He only asked. It doesn't hurt me in the slightest to spread the word. And remote and removed as this blog is from publishing movers and shakers, a mention might help someone else.
Besides, I like Yorkshire.

Question: How do you treat drive-by requests like this?

If you've already read the following joke spam, you may wish to imitate the warrior on the left:

Cube Farm: An office filled with cubicles.

Prairie Dogging: When someone yells or drops something in a Cube Farm and people's heads pop up over the walls to see what the noise was about.

Crop Dusting: Surreptitiously passing gas while passing through a Cube Farm.


Ric said...

Though it's been twenty years since I worked in a place with cubes, those are still funny.

Bernita said...

I could particularly visualize the Prairie Dogging, Ric!

Anonymous said...

I'll remember this post when one of my stories gets published. Please let me know when I can spread the word about your publication.

Anonymous said...

The scale and mail were designed to protect against the slashing and cutting motion of swords and other weapons but wasn't effective against stabbing attacks -hence the success of the attacker in the art work. -V95

Bernita said...

I would be happy to flog your novel, Steve.

Yes, V95, I was aware of that. I took exception to the use of the word "protected" in the caption.
The figure on the right is waving a falchion -which is primarily a hack-and-slash weapon.

Anonymous said...

I knew you would know that, I just wanted to surprise you with the fact that I knew it. -V95

writtenwyrdd said...

I think your response is reasonable, bernita. He only asked. To be asked isn't exactly an insult, seeing as no one is forcing you to do anything but delete the email.

You find the most amazing art.

And I did not know that about the word "gut". Now I have to go look it up...

Saw an interesting show on ancient greek armor the other day. They in essence had their own form of kevlar, laminated linen. It stopped one of their arrows at point blank range!

archer said...

Oh, man--right inna kishkes!

I never heard that about its being the same as a few inches lower. It make sense as to having the guts to do something.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

It has been at least 20 years, I never worked in a cube place, but visited bosses there often. I was usually the catalyst for the head popping, praire dog leaving the boss' cubicle and spamming the unstable, halfwall door *snort*

...and then occasionally hurling an expletive over my shoulder...ROFLOL!

Those were the days!

I get those kind of emails occasionally, but it's usually for them to solicit a review tour for the CFBA...but still...when it's someone well published, I often stare at the name for a few minutes before opening it...LOL!

Bernita said...

Commenters' knowledge and expertise never surprise me, V95.

Usually as an adjective, Written, such as "gut-sticker."
Yes, I was surprised to learn that mail (of the ring variety) was around in the fourth century B.C.

One goes for the weak points, Archer.

Savannah Jordan said...

Cute jokes, Bernita. I've never worked in a box, but I had friends that did. I was witness to more than one event of Prarie Dogging--the visuals are priceless :)

As to his request, and your question; he obviously thought you to be someone with connections--which is never a bad position to be in. I might even consder it flattery. The question you posed... I don't know. When someone asks, I'll let you know how I handle it ;)

Bernita said...

Hee, Bonnie!
Thank you.I suspect we will see more of this kind of request.
Think I'll probably rate the authors on the basis of any follow-up "thank-yous."

Bernita said...

Nope, Savannah, don't think "connections" had anything to do with it.
Probably sent out on the basis of some writer's blogs list.
Almost like a flyer to "occupant."

If it is true that publishers are doing less and less marketing and writers realize they have to do more, then we will see more and more of this.

Robyn said...

I've worked in enough cube farms to tell you it isn't a joke. Prairie dogging does occur!

raine said...

Never been propositioned.

Bernita said...

Keeps running through my head like a video, Robyn!
Pop! Pop!

Raine, you are a delight!

Erik Ivan James said...

"And romote and removed as this blog is from publishing movers and shakers....."

I suspect you might be pleased at who do follow your blog, Dear Gal...

Bernita said...

I am just pleased that some rather wonderful people do, Erik.

anna said...

Laughing so hard over the Cube Farm
I used to be swarmed with writers who used to post on aol wanting me to buy their self published book. usually I did. (groan) much better to be asked to just spread the word

Bonnie Calhoun said...

LOL...yanno...that could be the title of a book, "The Cube Farm" ...LOL!

My dear sister Bernita, you shouldn't be suprise at who reads you! You are a very wonderful and insightful lady!

Bernita said...

Sheesh, Anna, that was crude of them.
Merely an announcement - with enticements - that a book has been published (in whatever format) should be enough.
Of course, I never took marketing 101.
I should note then that John Barlow was not crude in his request. I was simply astonished.

You're right, a chronicles of Dilbert thing.
Bonnie, you are just biased because you are Family.

Bailey Stewart said...

Story of my life, never been asked. *sigh* I would have done the same thing - just sat and stared for a few minutes.

I've never worked in a cube farm, but I've seen plenty of them on TV and movies - along with the Prairie Dogging. Too funny.

Bernita said...

Well,I wish him the best, Bailey.

Tattieheid said...

The line between acceptable marketing and spam is a fine one that will vary according to individual perception.

You are right, the pressures on authors to take a higher marketing role are increasing and it can make the difference between future success and failure. It is easier therefore to make allowances and besides we all may need that leg up one day.

On the negative side. He must have known for several months that his book was in the publishing pipeline. He could have used some of this time to quietly become a regular presence on this and many other writing/publishing industry blogs. Then his request would be coming from a known source and perhaps generate more empathy and support. Just a thought on good manners.

You are very generous and understanding. You also seem to have an endless supply of interesting pictures. :)

John Barlow said...

It's true, Bernita, asking for a blog-mention without knowing someone is a bit like spamming. I mailed a number of sites, all of which I had previously read, but, yes, some were not THAT familiar to me. Doing your own publicity for a book is a bit like being a street prostitute who doesn't know where to stand: you end up flashing traffic wardens. No offense intended, and thanks for the kind mention :)

spyscribbler said...

I worked in a cube farm for six months! The backstabbing, conniving, and betrayal soured me for life. I went back into music as fast as I could and have been self-employed ever since. (No coincidence I'm writing spy stuff, LOL.)

I have no answer to your question. I'm not anyone that people would ask, LOL.

And John, I'm terrified of self-promotion. I'll do what I have to, but I'm praying for karma and luck.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Tattieheid.
The thing is it is most difficult to push a book or author when - possibly because of one's own ignorance - one knows damnall about either.
I would wonder if his agent had perhaps slipped up a bit.

Bernita said...

"Doing your own publicity for a book is a bit like being a street prostitute who doesn't know where to stand: you end up flashing traffic wardens."

M'dear Mr. Barlow, if your book is as vivid as that comparison, then I am very glad I did do a blogflog for it - your writing deserves it.

Bernita said...

Don't think cube farms are the only workplaces or occupations where one can find those "who smile and smile and be a villian," Spy.
And yes, promotion apparently comes with the territory.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Cool...Mr. Barlow came by! Now if he really wanted to generate some buzz about his book...he'd hand out ARC's or reviewer copies...LOL!

ORION said...

OK Bernita you're forewarned! Come this August (2007) I'll remember your little mention of John's book.
I think it's very cool for authors to prowl the blogs.
Makes it fun!
Besides I lurked on your blog for months without commenting...
I do so love your pics.
Your wotthehell leads me to believe that you have read Archy and Mehitabel...
toujour gais toujour gais

John Barlow said...

Hi Bonnie
the annoying thing is that I DO have some copies of my book, and really should have offered to send them to anyone interested. There's a limit, obviously, but here's my email:

If anyone does feel like receiving one, just drop me a line. I'll tell you when they run out. JB

December Quinn said...

I sometimes feel like I wander around to every blog run by anyone even remotely connected to publishing but never get commented back.

Or maybe I'm just feeling more down than I thought, what with the sickness and the not smokin and the rejection...sigh.

Nothing wrong with asking for a plug, no.

Erik Ivan James said...

Heh, heh.

Bernita said...

Be glad to do so again, Pat. I already mentioned your "deal."
Not everything you read here is derivative.

John, you really should cultivate Bonnie. Everytime she sees a neat promotional trick she saves it in a file. And no one was ever more aptly named.

Some do seems to have the suck-it-up-peon attitude, December.
Obviously, John does not.
I hope you will feel better soon.