• August 18, 2019

A SHARP LIFE: Covering Sharpnadoes a tough business - Odessa American: Opinions

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A SHARP LIFE: Covering Sharpnadoes a tough business

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Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2019 6:30 am

Publishing in America was basically invented by the business friendship of Benjamin Franklin and revivalist preacher George Whitfield.

Whitfield would preach his sermons, Franklin would publish them, and people would buy them. The more Whitfield preached, the more Franklin published, and the more people bought. The sermons essentially marketed the books, and the books distributed the sermons. Whitfield got his message out and Franklin made so much money he had enough time to play with kites in thunderstorms and make a name for himself in ways other than publishing.

Nearly 300 years later, things work a little differently for most writers. Now, if you want to write you have to be skilled at social media, but even what that means keeps changing. First there was Facebook, then there was Twitter, now there’s Instagram. And you can’t just put words out there you have to have pictures, and videos, and graphics. If you want to write, prepare to do a lot of not-writing.

The whole thing can be exhausting, but one of the advantages of having four adorable Sharpnadoes is that they can be deputized from time to time to help. With a book coming out in a few months, one of the things that is exciting, but definitely requires some creativity, is the reveal of the book cover.

After spending some time pondering the issue, I decided that a fun way to reveal the cover of my next book was to have a puzzle made of the cover image and to record a video of the kids putting the puzzle together. I gathered the four kids around the table, explained to them what we were doing, hit play on a camera, and stepped back.

After a few seconds the 2-year-old Jedi got upset because we wouldn’t let him eat the pieces, and then the 3-year-old Fashionista didn’t like being told, “That piece doesn’t go there.”

Those two had enough pretty quickly and we were down to the oldest two kids.

They did well, except the 8-year-old Zoologist kept moving the puzzle off-camera.

Thankfully, there was no sound on the video or you would have been able to hear me off camera yelling, “Put it in the middle of the table! It’s off-camera! Put it in the middle of the table!”

In short order, we reached the end of the puzzle which led to a brief standoff because the 6-year-old Ballerina had hidden a piece away so she could be the one to finish the puzzle. Finally, after some negotiations, the puzzle was finished, on-camera, and we had a book-reveal video.

I’m glad that social media is a recent invention. If George Whitfield had to go through this with every book Benjamin Franklin might never have discovered electricity.

Odessa, TX

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