Saturday, February 11, 2012

February and the Power of Course Correction

Scott D. Parker

Many of us make New Year's resolutions for the most honest of reasons. We want to get fit, lose weight, eat better, or anything else. When you are still in the halo of New Year's Day, the year feels new and young and everything seems possible. We have visions of our new selves, sometime later in the year, all fit, healthier, and with our new habits firmly ensconced in our new selves.

Here in the writer world, many a new habit boils down to writing more. Finish the book. Finish the story. Finish anything. Back in December, I realized that I had not been setting aside time to write. That had become the norm, the habit that was hard to break (ba-dum-dum ching!) I decided to try an experiment: write something, ANYthing, each day. And I've succeeded. As of last night, I've written something, anything of fiction for 64 straight days. What's great and most important to me is the inner urge. It's not back at the full blazing glory I've previously experienced in my writing life, but the pilot light is lit.

There the the flip side, the downside to what I've been doing. Often, I've not taken the time to write until late at night. Once it's past 11, if I'm not writing something I've already planned out--typical for these 64 days--I am in no mood to create. Thus, I'll satisfy my daily duty/habit by writing the bare minimum, around 100 words or a long paragraph. That is no way to get anything done, but it's becoming a habit.

And that's where course correction comes in. I think many of us start a resolution or a habit without a good idea of how to ingrain the habit within us. We fail at our resolutions by the end of January, get mad at ourselves, sigh, and go back to the way it was in December.

But don't forget February. The second month of the year is, in many ways, more crucial than January. It's the time where you can readjust your outlook on your resolutions. Knocking out soft drinks cold turkey too much for you and the failure has already happened? Try cutting back one a week. That's not hard. Then, after a bit, keep another sugary drink on the shelf and out of your stomach. That new story/novel you've thought about and shelved in the internal file cabinet in your mind? Get it out of your head and onto pixel or paper. Chances are you can salvage something.

You see, by February, the year is no longer new. The real world has crept in. You've lived life in the new year, with new challenges to overcome. February is that time where you can see what's not working and fix it. Oh, and the beauty of the months March through December? You can course correct anytime. I just find February to be the best time.

And for me and my new "habit" of writing the barest minimum to for the right to put a red "X" on a calendar? Yes, I've started writing again. No, it's not very good or very productive. It's not working the way I wanted it to. Okay, then, what can I do to change it so that I can continue to move forward? Course correction. Or, to put it another way, the first, big obstacle. Overcome it, and things get much easier, or, rather, manageable.

February. The Month for Course Corrections. Your second chance at resolutions. It doesn't have all the romance that resolutions have in January, but they tend to have more real-world experience with which you can get those resolutions completed.

My course correction for writing is simple: make my time to write be at an hour before the last thing I do every night. Find that secret, special time where I can bust out multiple paragraphs in the space of 15 minutes. And then do it again. Double my effort. In the daylight, if at all possible.

Are there any course corrections y'all are planning to make to better accomplish your resolutions?

Friday, February 10, 2012

"...a way of logic that bypasses a lot of nonsense"*

By Russel D McLean
Its come up more than once this week in various situations and conversations. But I’m still amazed by the “ghettoization” of Science Fiction as a genre.

One of Stuart MacBride’s most unashamedly fun novels was the brilliant HALFHEAD – a near future fantasy where the weapons all had onomatopoeic names and where he mocked the establishment quite thoroughly with even more ludicrous beauracracy and a horrific sense of social justice that proved just how savage “human” punishments could be. If I may be so bold, I found it even more fun than his Logan McRae books and was hoping that there would be more. But that, apparently, is not likely to happen because sales were less than for his crime novels.


Well, he was a debut author all over again. Because SF readers had yet to discover him and crime readers acted in a strangely conservative manner. They missed out on the fact that HALFHEAD did everything they loved in his crime novels and more. Just because the synopsis had the word “future” in it. Of course, this assumption is based on mostly anecdotal experience, but that was what I tended to hear when asking people why they hadn’t bought that one book of MacBride’s.

Is this fair?


It’s the same with Iain (M) Banks to a degree. Now, he’s established as an SF author, but so many of his mainstream fans stay away from the SF stuff as though its toxic. Why? As I heard Banks once say at an event its because it has the word “space” in it, and people are scared. They hear the word SF or space and they get weird clichéd ideas about geeky social misfits and probably odd looking aliens in rubber masks (a-la classic Trek). Or perhaps they see the endlessly complex worlds of computer games like HALO that appear incomprehensible if you’re not on the inside.
What they’re missing, of course, is that SF is a literature of ideas. Yes, it has its clichés, the same as any genre, but move past those and some genuinely philosophical and inventive fiction can be found within the genre. Philip K Dick, of course, is a prime example of an author who uses the form to do something deeper and explore philosophical and metaphysical ideas that mainstream fiction can only dream of. China Mieville** takes this to an extreme and loads his fantastical imaginings with allegory and symbolism that would make most literary writers weep with jealousy. And if that’s all getting a bit heavy for you, Alistair Reynolds writes amazingly accessible and fun adventure stories that still contain real smarts and some very witty undercurrents.

I also find it very interesting that many people who claim not to like SF often adore SF movies without realising it. BLADE RUNNER, ALIEN, ALIENS, GATTACA, THE MATRIX, these are all examples of mainstream SF movies that people don’t seem to realise are actually SF. Why is it so different for movies? And let’s not start on THE X FILES…

Earlier this year I did a library event with Ken McLeod. This was a reader’s day where readers came along and signed up to hear writers talk about one book they loved and one book of their own. Interestingly, there were no SF fans on the day. I was a little worried for Ken who is, after all, an SF writer. And yes, even people in his group had SF reservations. But by the end of the day, many of them were willing and excited to try a whole genre they had ignored due to their preconceptions of it.

I accept – nay, willingly agree – that there’s a lot of lazy, clichéd writing in the SF genre. I mean, seriously, I’ve stopped reading the genre for years at a time due to a slew of novels that just don’t “get” what makes SF special, that spend too much paying homage to other writers ideas and forget to make their own, or concentrate so hard on world building that they ignore the human element that often marks great SF. But when the genre gets it right, its more than a force to be reckoned with.

I guess we’re back to the old argument – the simple one. A good book is a good book regardless of genre. And you shouldn’t be put off just because you see the word “space” or because you expect to somehow “not understand” the conventions at play. Good SF is accessible (with a bit of work; you have to adjust yourself to the terms, in the same a reader of crime fic has to adjust themselves to the conventions and technical language of that genre) and capable of supreme and brilliant storytelling with brains and heart at the centre. Its not just for geeks. Its not just for insiders.

And it very rarely uses the phrase “warp factor 10”.

*Gene Roddenberry, talking about SF

**Who, with multiple PhD’s is as smart as a chap with three heads

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Do We Care About Creator Rights?

By Jay Stringer

There's been an issue eating at me for a week now. I've sent out emails talking to people about it, and each time I've said, "I'm not going to blog this.." And almost every time, they replied, "yes you will." Well, points to them, I guess.

Last week, while I was giving you an epic essay on Breaking Bad and The Wire, DC comics went and announced a whole load of prequels to the classic book WATCHMEN. I'm not happy that DC decided to sneak the news out while i was distracting the whole Internet with my essay. That's not playing fair.

As for the book itself, I hold WATCHMEN in just about the highest regard I hold anything. It would make my top five works of art/fiction in all formats. And yes, it had a shitty film made of it, but let's forget that, okay?

Now, this being major news about a comic book, and this also being the Internet, a few people had a few things to say. A week later, we seem to have reached a general consensus; "I don't really think they should do it, but they have the legal right, and I'll buy them."

So now, unbidden and demanded by nobody, I'm going to throw my own thoughts into the week-old discussion. I've shifted, rather quickly, to a hard line position. I think there is a fundamentally important issue at stake here, and one that people are choosing to ignore in order to get a monthly fix of capes, cowls and explosions.

When the news first broke, I was very much in the old "the book is on my shelf, nothing they do will change that," camp. But then I realised that was completely and utterly not the point. That school of thought is from a time when a writer cashed a cheque and gave permission for his work to be adapted into a film.

Then I veered into a shrug of the shoulders, "corporations will make money, let em do what they want, I can simply ignore it, like I ignore the film." That was the easiest road to take, and over the course of the past week it seems to be the road most people are taking (that is, those who aren't using the spectacularly cowardly, "I'm against it, but I'll still buy them." But the more I noticed people making this argument, the more it ate at me.

At this point, it seems the best defence we can muster for it is, "well they have the legal right to do it." If the best interviewers, commentators and journalists in the medium are willing to make that argument, I think we need to take a long hard look at ourselves. Lots of corporations have the legal right to get away with lost of things, and the same voices defending Before Watchmen on legal grounds may often be heard moaning about some of the things these other companies do.

Yes, they have a legal right. But lets examine where that comes from, for readers who may be new to the whole issue. In the mid-1980's Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons signed a contract with DC. The contract stated that, once WATCHMEN had been out of print for a year, the IP would revert to the authors. Implicit in that agreement, though sadly not stated clear enough, was the idea that, at some point the creators of the work should get their work back. At the time, there was no trade paperback industry for comics. No "graphic novel market." You didn't walk into you nearest book store and pick up a "graphic novel," so that you didn't have to slum it in a comic shop. You know what created that market? What gave the comics industry an extra leg with which to support itself? WATCHMEN. I've worked in a comic store, I've worked in several book shops, and WATCHMEN has always been in stock at them. So Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons signed a contract without knowing that their book was going to change the industry, they signed it based on the standard industry practices of the time. I imagine there are a lot of authors, both in prose and comic books, who've signed contracts over the last decade without foreseeing the game-changing implications of digital sales, where books never go out of print.

And that's what has stung these creators. Their book was meant to be out of print in a year, because it was a comic, but it's never gone out of print. 25 years later, DC is still publishing it, still making money off it, and this never looks likely to change. When this started to become clear, when Alan Moore saw that things were changing and his contract was based on an out of date paradigm, he tried to renegotiate the deal. DC refused, and Alan Moore went on a one-man strike from them. At this point, on principle, he even turns down credits and money when films are made based on his work. Some people say he's cutting off his nose to spite his face, I say he's being consistent; and precious few people in the industry can claim to be doing the same.

But let's ignore the legal debate for a moment.

Firstly, is there a creative reason for the prequels? A writer-friend (won't name names, unless he wants to) has discussed with me the very compelling lack of a need for these stories. WATCHMEN is structured in such a way that we already have all that we need. Something creators often use to throw some art and mystery onto their decision making is, "Well, now I have found the story." Some of the creators involved in these prequels have said the same. They weren't going to butcher someone else's baby, but, hey, they have a story. That's fine, but it supposes that it's their story to tell. I might have a fun James Bond story, but it doesn't make it mine to tell. In fact, nobody tell Ray Banks, but I've totally figured out a fifth Cal Innes book and sod it, I'm just going to decide that makes it mine to do.

And morally, which it seems to me is the real meat of this matter, where do we stand?

There were two authors on WATCHMEN. One of them, Dave Gibbons, isn't involved in the prequels but has given them a kind of blessing. He's going to be tactful and stand back. But the other creator, the 50% partner in this and the writer of those epic scripts, has been quite clear.

He doesn't want it. He doesn't want prequels, sequels, spin offs or movies. He wants his creator rights back. In an interview last week he said, "I don't want money, I want for this not to happen."

Can it be any more obvious what the authors wishes are?

I put it to you that we have a choice in this matter. We either respect an authors wishes or we don't. But every single one of the arguments for these books being right, good or, the worst of all, "okay," seems to completely sidestep this basic issue. When it does crop up, it's dismissed as Moore's fault. If he'd played nice, or if he'd be wiling to sit down and talk to DC, this might not have happened. But as I've already covered, the reason he doesn't talk to them is because of creator rights. The fact that he's on a one man strike doesn't make it any less valid of a strike. He's getting screwed over because he doesn't talk to them because they were screwing him over. At what point does that become his fault?

And if I'm arguing that we need to respect creator rights, then what of the creators involved in these prequels? Well, Brian Azzarello made his name on the critically acclaimed series 100 Bullets, a series for which he enjoys creator-rights (from DC) that have never been granted to Alan Moore for his work at the same company. Moreover, the creator-rights enjoyed by the younger generation of writers are a direct result of the work done by Moore. Darwyn Cooke is one of my favourite creators in modern comics, and he enjoys the freedom to release his PARKER adaptations in a market that was created by WATCHMEN with a level of control that comes as a result of Moore. And these are the creators who decide to get involved in Before Watchmen? I hope to Crom that we never see them preaching about creator rights in future.

I seem to be at a breaking point with DC comics. But the more I thought on it, the more I realised there was a very good reason why people don't want to think on it. It pulls on a loose thread that unravels to show us our own hypocrisy. We all know that the big two in comics treats creators poorly. They always have. We know that there are writers, artists, inkers, etc, who have died in poverty, or who are still alive but have no healthcare or money, because they've been screwed over systematically for our entertainment for 70 years. Moore is one of the lucky ones, he's actually made enough money out of the gig to be comfortable, but stood behind him are many graves and many debts. To casual readers out there who may not know the history, I'll mention some of the bigger ones; Steve Ditko co-created SPIDER-MAN. He's lived in reduced circumstances for forty years, despite creating MARVEL's biggest cash cow, because he wasn't given credit. Jack Kirby co-created most of the characters from the silver age of comics, and still doesn't receive the credit. The treatment of Kirby, by the way, is another issue that Alan Moore took a moral stand over with his employers. In THOR, SPIDER-MAN, X-MEN, CAPTAIN AMERICA, THE FANTASTIC FOUR,THE HULK and IRON MAN, we see major franchises at the cinemas, for which Ditko or Kirby played a role in creation and were not credited, let alone given ownership.

As fans, we know this. We look the other way, decade on decade, so that we can get our thrills, and then we moan about cover price. So we moan about how much we have to pay to the company producing the work, but we've never once put out collective foot down over how much the company pay to the people who created these properties. We would rather look the other way, ignore the issue so we can get our explosions.

So, where does that leave us? Well, sure, you can mount a defence for Before Watchmen based on the fact that they have the legal rights to do it. You could also sidestep the whole issue by saying you don't really care about creator rights. However, I simply don't see a way to say you respect creators rights and argue that Before Watchmen is 'okay'. The two are fundamentally opposed.

Time to wrap this up before I annoy anyone else. I'm going to make some good from all of these thoughts. There are two organisations who can benefit, and who we should all give at least a moments thought to. The Hero Initiative provides a safety net for those who don't have one. For generations of creators who've worked without insurance, health care, creator-rights or pensions, the HI can step in and help them out. The second is the Comic Book Legal Defence Fund. The clue is pretty much in the name there; they provide legal aid to creators, including advice on the tricky issue of legal rights.

I'm not preaching for anyone else to do this. But for myself, I think the money that was going on reinforcing the mistreatment of creators will be better served going on supporting them.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Rewarding Bad Behavior

By Steve Weddle

When I got to DSD HQ this morning, I was greeted with a stack of emails about a New Yorker profile of Quentin Rowan, who had put out a book under the name QR Markham.

From what I could gather in an admitted cursory reading of emails, Twitter, and Facebook people on the internet had become upset that the New Yorker had chosen to write about Rowan.

Presumably, these are the same people who do not understand why the Kardashians are on their television sets, assuming they own television sets. The presumption seems to be that an article in a magazine is some sort of reward for Rowan's supposed plagiarism. The article in the magazine is called "The Plagiarist's Tale," so I can only assume they mention his "evil deed." I must admit to having not read the article. My local independent shop does not stock the New Yorker. They have ordered it for me, though.

The argument against having the New Yorker profile seems fairly odd. A number of people -- readers and writers -- have complained that there were other more worthy candidates for a profile.

Rowan had taken the work of other people and passed it off as his own. This is shameful.

Rowan has exposed publishing, embarrassed its champions.

Rowan is a fake and a phony and should not be rewarded with a profile in a magazine.

Some people suggested other, more suitable writers for a profile.

A few writers suggested themselves.

I can't recall a similar uprising when 60 Minutes has profiled murderous dictators. Are the citadels stormed when a Billy The Kid biopic appears? Why the outcry when a story is written about a plagiarist?

I suspect the problem lies in the presumption, as I mentioned earlier, that a New Yorker profile provides publicity to Rowan.

People misunderstand their own relationship to the world -- nobody owes you shit.

A magazine doesn't benefit from profiling you unless you're an interesting story. My neighbor two fields across from me is a nice guy. Keeps his yard green. Works hard during the day and invites us over for beers and bbq in the evenings. None of that makes him an interesting profile subject.

What makes a story interesting, and you'd think writers would know this, is conflict. Rowan, from what I can tell, seems a complex character. And what he has done to the industry seems similar -- in limited ways -- to what James Frey accomplished a few years ago. Sure, there's the trust. But there's also the matter of pulling back the curtain on the publishing world.

You ever read that book COD? I haven't, but it sounds interesting. Because it's not about cod. It's about everything around that fish -- the people, the history, the industry.

Rowan's past couple of years have been interesting, certainly. A story about this isn't a reward.

Take the Kardashians. Everyone hates that show. Everyone jokes about it. Everyone mocks it so much, it's got its own spinoffs. Klaire and Kory Order Lunch. People watch that show. And the television network is able to sell advertising around that show.

People look at Kim Kardashian and complain at how she's been rewarded for being on camera while she and a young gentleman engaged in sexual relations. If her life weren't interesting, she wouldn't have a show. She's rewarded for being interesting, I suppose. But essentially she is being monetarily rewarded because she can generate revenue for the television network that airs her show.

A profile of Quentin Rowan is not a reward for a plagiarist. It's a story in a Conde Nast publication around which the publisher can sell J Peterman advertising. It is a story that will get the magazine talked about.

And perhaps that's the lesson. Maybe Mr. Rowan hasn't proven to be the best writer in thriller fiction. Maybe you are a better writer. Maybe your book covers look better. Maybe you're a better actor than Ms. Kardashian. Maybe you're better at sexual intercourse on camera, at failed marriages, at staged fights. But have you really had a more interesting year than either of these two?

Would a profile of you in the New Yorker sell more copies?

I'd suggest that you writers keep focusing on your writing. That's the reward. The writing.

If your goal is to get into the New Yorker, then stop waiting for a profile piece -- write an amazing short story. After all, they're still one of the top publishers of fiction, whether it be Quentin Rowan's apologies or Michael Chabon's "Citizen Conn."

Monday, February 6, 2012

Small Thoughts About The Internet

Over the weekend, I saw that cartoon posted on Facebook. It wasn't the cartoon that really caught my attention. It was the comments.

Specifically, the ones who thought it sad that bookstores are now influenced by the internet.

And all I wanted to ask was, "Why?"

When e-publishing in Amazon started, I was cautious. I was concerned. To that point, I'd never been self-published - although I'd been constantly criticized and treated as though my first novel was. I'd had a contract and been paid, just not by a publisher that met MWA guidelines. And I'm not going to debate that right now. In the end, the publisher sunk, I got my rights back, and have moved on.

But I was nervous about e-publishing, and nervous about trying my hand at it, because I really wasn't interested in going through another round of the criticism I'd experienced before.

And then I watched as the people who'd condemned me for being self-published when I wasn't jumped on board with Smashwords and got in bed with Amazon.

Clearly the times, they were a-changin'.

I still didn't run and jump right on board, but eventually, I regained the rights to my first book and was able to take a novel that had never really been properly distributed and only available in hardcover and make it available as an e-book.

Within the first six months, sales had passed 5000 copies.

I'm not sharing this to suggest that because I can make money online, I champion Amazon over brick and mortar stores. I don't.

But I also don't champion the physical bookstore over the internet.

When I saw the cartoon, and saw the comments, I had one of those moments of clarity. I've really gone back and forth about my feelings about e-publishing. I mean, it's fantastic that I can sell books and earn money and gain readers. SC has proven to have the legs I always believed it could have, and it's proven that the internet allows for the best effect of the long-tail reader, and authors don't have to expect to do the bulk of their sales in the first month. Word of mouth can build and grow and build the audience.

On the other hand, nobody can deny that there's more self-published crap being churned out at an alarming rate because of the ease of producing e-books and self-publishing through options including CreateSpace.

We have to take the bad with the good. That's the way it is with most things.

I love bookstores. Few authors would say otherwise. I love going to browse, a large store, to get lost in the books. I love having a bookstore close by.

However, I don't have an outdated loyalty to them. I grew up in a small town. 9000 or so, with a population in the area that tripled in the summer with all the cottagers, and went even higher on weekends. We didn't have a bookstore. If I wanted to get to a bookstore, I had to get someone to drive me down the highway more than 50 kilometers to a different city that had a small WHSmith in the mall. No, if I wanted books, my best shot was at the library, because I could walk there, but my opportunities to get to a bookstore were limited.

The thing is, as a kid, that puts a limit on what's available to you. As a girl, I had an advantage. The secret readership of YA books is adults, and since more girls read than boys, there's more published that appeals to girls. Publishers aren't as inclined to take the big risks on boy books. That leaves boys slipping through the cracks, without nearly as many options. In a house with literally thousands of books, including hundreds of YA and chapter books, it's almost always the boy who has a harder time finding something that appeals to him.

You may recall the synopsis of the book he decided to write himself from Brian's post last week.

As an author, I've listened to booksellers explain how and why they order titles, and I know that publishers don't promote their whole catalog. They promote their big ticket items they want to push.

The number of books that actually make it into stores, compared to the number of books that are even traditionally published, is miniscule.

And unless you've got an exceptional independent store, like those we know well in our community, or a very exceptional chain with well-informed staff that you can go to, you won't have people making recommendations based on what you really like to read or are looking for. They'll make recommendations based on what they're pushing. I heard these conversations too many times in chain stores, with staff who clearly didn't know anything about the book they were being asked about, other than what was printed on the back cover. Man, I had someone I asked about a crime fiction author try to get me to read Atwood. Now, she's a great writer, but if I'm looking for Allan Guthrie, why would you send me to Margaret Atwood? Could you at least try your hand at someone in the same genre? It's a bit like telling someone looking for a Ken Bruen title to try JRR Tolkein instead.

All too often, particularly in chain stores, I've known more than the person working there.

Here's the good news for the boy, and for those who live in small towns and don't have easy access to bookstores. The internet gives you that access. You're no longer limited by geography. And with two Kindles in our house now, we can have a book downloaded in a matter of minutes and set someone up with a brand-new title.

I've certainly heard people suggest those from small towns have small minds and I've heard critical comments of small-town thinking. Now, the mind of a person is only as small as the world they let themselves have access to, and through the internet we can find the books that interest us and get the titles the local store won't carry. Hell, I lived in a town where the boycott of The Last Temptation of Christ was successful. Now, my options are uncensored.

The internet isn't just a good thing for authors. It's a good thing for readers, and for people in general. I know that there's a cost, I know it gives birth to different crimes and I know that it can be a vicious forum for debate and discussion, and that trying to find intelligent discussion online can be, at times, nearly impossible.

But I can't look at a bookstore and feel sad about the internet. I just can't. I want both, and what the internet can offer me, as a reader, is something I greatly appreciate, especially because of the number of years I spent without easy access to books. Seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, I can actually get the title I want, in my hands.

Personally, I think that's pretty freakin' amazing as a reader.

And as an author, I've earned more in the past year than I could have imagined when I decided to try my hand at e-publishing. Suspicious Circumstances is now a few days away from being available via Amazon in trade paperback for the first time, and Harvest of Ruins will also be available in print by the end of this week, for the first time ever.

Those of you who know me know that I can be a champion and enthusiast for the works of others that I love, and am more reluctant to sing my own praises, but Harvest of Ruins is the best book I've written to date, and will be a hard book to top. It's a story that deserves to be told, and deserves to be read, and I hope that with the release of the paperback version it will begin to reach a wider audience.

Thanks to the internet.

And for your amusement, writers and serious readers should enjoy this.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Superbowl Buzz

by: Joelle Charbonneau

Today is the big day. Even if someone isn’t a football fan, the Superbowl tends to be on everyone’s radar. Okay – that might not be true for those beyond the US, but here in the good ol’ USA Superbowl Sunday is akin to a holiday. Everyone has their favorite foods to eat. There are parties to go to. And any restaurant with a television (and even a few that bring in TVs for the day) are running Superbowl specials.

I know more than a few people who profess to hate football, but every year watch the Superbowl. Why?

The commercials, of course.

Every year people watch the commercials so they can talk about them at work, on Facebook or via Twitter the next day. Which ones were funny? Which pissed you off? Which ones were cute, but you have no flippin’ idea what product the commercial was hocking. The unveiling of new, expensive and often provocative commercials during the Superbowl has kept non-sports fans interested in the game for decades. No one wants to miss those brand new commercials.

Smart, right? I always thought so. Except this year I am noticed a huge number of tweets and Facebook posts talking about Superbowl commercials….not the ones they are looking forward to, but the ones they have already seen. For some strange reason that I don’t understand, advertising geniuses that get paid way more than I do have decided to release their “brand-new, never seen before” commercials before the big day. Which baffles me. I me, why pay millions of dollars to get buzz the day after the Superbowl unless you actually WANT buzz after the Superbowl?

I’m really asking. Why? If the public has already chatted about your commercial and deemed it interesting or uninteresting, they aren’t going to care when it officially launches during the game.

For books, sending out hundreds of ARCs before the book officially hits shelves is a way of building buzz. Booksellers read the book. Librarians and reviewers read the book. Then when the book hits shelves, those early readers can tell everyone they meet to read the book. That advanced buzz I get. This Superbowl commercial thing has me baffled.

So tell me 1) Do you watch the Superbowl for the game or the commercials and 2) Why the heck would you pay that much money for big impact only to lessen the impact with an early release. I really want to know!