As I get closer to the end of editing PayBack, my WIP, I keep thinking about the strange visitor I had just before Christmas. The man who appeared out of nowhere and literally put his finger on what was slowing down the plot in my writing.
You can read that post HERE
Back then he had been so insightful about the lead character in my book, something I greatly appreciated at the time. Then, this morning he had strolled back into my office as if it was the most natural thing in the world. I had no idea where he had come from or even if he was real, but what was he doing here now?
I had a good look at him while his attention was caught by something on my monitor. He wasn’t from this world, for his clothing was old fashioned. The resemblance to Mark Twain was striking, every inch the famous writer and riverboat captain.
I have long been a fan of his wisdom and sense of humour, so if this was indeed him, who better to mentor me and speak to me about my writing.
But how could I tell him he had wasted his journey, as the book was all but finished. I didn’t need his help now. I had to say something but didn’t want to seem ungrateful or rude, but had to say something, didn’t I?
His kindly eyes twinkled as he looked at me and to my relief, I knew he would speak first.
“I see the masterpiece is almost finished, ma’am and I presume from the satisfied look on your face that you think the hard work is done?”
I didn’t know what to say. I mean, what can you say to someone who is probably just the figment of an overtired brain?
“Yes, the book is almost complete, and I am reasonably happy with it.” I waited, wondering what he would say next, but he didn’t seem in any hurry to divulge the reason for his visit. He strolled around the office looking at my collection of books. The computer kept drawing his gaze, but it didn’t warrant a comment.
“I have been thinking about you and how you plan to market the book. Do you actually have a plan?
His question surprised me, mainly because I hadn’t given much thought to how writers managed to sell their books back in his time. I knew his books were popular, but how did they get that way? By all accounts, Mark Twain wasn’t a very good businessman and bankrupt at one point due to bad investments.
So how could I ask his advice about the right way to promote my book?
I heard a chuckle and turned to find him smiling at me.
“I assume by your lack of an answer, that you don’t have much of a plan and by the puzzled look on your face I can also assume that you don’t think I am qualified to offer any advice on the subject?”
He had just succeeded in making me feel both rude and stupid, but he had hit the nail on the head.
“That was wrong of me and I apologise, but your turning up like this is a little unnerving you know. Just how did your books become bestsellers?”
He tweaked his snow-white moustache between his fingers as he thought about my question. “I made many mistakes back then, but I also learned something very important. The most important lesson was to stop trying to sell my product and sell myself instead. You see, if you can make people like you, they will want to buy your book. It really is that simple.”
My mind was racing. Was this why most of the articles I read always stress the importance of communication?
When I looked up to thank him, the room was empty. He had vanished as suddenly as he arrived, and I wondered if I would ever see him again…