I know from visiting your websites, that a lot, maybe most, of you either are or want to be writers. I’ve talked about some of the mechanics of that, especially in posts 133 and 134. During the last month, I’ve learned some more about how books are marketed in the age of the internet. I’ve had to make videos.
That proved harder than I thought it would, partly because of technology. Don’t think I’m a Luddite – I’ve been a computer nut since 1986 – but I don’t own a video camera. i don’t have kids to record as they grow, and I have no interest is seeing myself moving about on the computer screen.
Most of those who make videos to promote their books do so on their smart phones. I don’t have a smart phone. It is my firm belief that Alexander Graham Bell was an emissary of the Devil. I communicate the way God intended, by email, where I can correct my mistakes before I push send.
I finally used the camera built into my Mac. It makes a shaky, Skype-like picture, but that works well enough if you hold still and go into talking-head mode.
I didn’t want to ramble, so I wrote a script and tried out some videos. They stank (that’s the grammatically correct word that morphed into stunk about twenty years ago). It turns out that a glib, casual, conversational tone takes a hell of a lot of rewrites. I should have remembered that. I had to learn it two years ago when I wrote my first posts. I don’t mean numbers 1, 2, 3 . . .. I mean the ones you never saw because I trash-canned them.
Writing two masters theses and a bunch of novels did not prepare me to write posts. I had to learn a whole new, casual style. This month I learned that written-casual is not the same as spoken-casual — even if it is written as a script before it is spoken. It took quite a few tries to make the transition.
Eventually I made three videos for Brian at EDGE and he will put them on Youtube. They are an introduction to Cyan, the story of why I wrote Cyan, and a reading from Cyan. The first is already up; click here.
I’ve also tacked on the script I used in the Introduction to Cyan.
Hi. Welcome to my world, or at least to one of them. I’ve always been a fan of near future novels of exploration. There are so many things about traveling at sub-light speed that make for a great story.
Besides, it won’t be long until scientists have charted the actual planets around all the nearby stars. Then we won’t be able to make up our own planets.
Put those ideas together and you have Cyan, which is the name of me newest novel and the name of the planet that it takes place on.
In the year 2080 a crew of five men and five women, scientists all, set out for Procyon where they find a planet that stands straight up in orbit, with bands of unvarying climates. About 45 degrees north, is paradise.
But paradise with teeth — virgin, wild, beautiful, but very dangerous. Keir, our crewleader’s task is to keep his fellow explorers alive. He’s good at his job, but on a planet crowded with predators, that may not be enough.
For these scientists from vastly overcrowded earth, after years confined within the starship, the beauty and emptiness of Cyan is intoxicating.
They have one year to decide if Cyan is suitable for colonists, and it turns out to be perfect. But then one of the scientists picks up a flaked stone. This is not a natural occurrence. Someone, or some thing, has made it.
The explorers have discovered the Cyl.
The Cyl are a stone age group. They look nothing like man and their intelligence is low, but they are about to become much more. Evolution moves quickly under Procyon’s intense radiation, and the Cyl are poised to make the leap to full intelligence.
Earth needs Cyan to ease its massive population, and the Cyl need to be left alone to find their own destiny. Lines are drawn among the explorers and the resolution of the problem threatens to tear them apart.
When you get your copy of Cyan, you will see that this introduction actually only covers the first fifth of the novel. Giving a full summary would have made the video far too long.