I waa braising portabella mushrooms when the telephone rang and a young woman with halting Spanicated diction greeted me and announced that she had been assigned as my Marketing Consultant.
This was news. As readers of this page may know, I published a couple of farcical mysteries four-five years ago, rooted in local politics and full of irritating portraits of our county Board of Supervisors and the people who harangue them at public meetings, all within the bounds of fair use. A lot of people bought them upon first publication, mostly owing to some coverage in the Washington Post, where I guess they were having a slow news week. Luz or whoever she was had a standard pitch, and asked what I had been doing since then to market the books, which I had paid to publish print-on-demand, just about breaking even (not quite).
Not much, I said, since they were essentially a massive prank on the local body politic, and while managing a campaign for the county’s perennial splinter candidate, for the express purpose of deep cover, I was in no position to appear at signings even with the traditional paper bag over my head. Since then I had just had other fish to fry, and let it be, figured I’d had my fun for a fair price.
Luz began to sound flustered and as if she suspected she might be out of her depth, but plowed on with a description of a “promotional package” that involved $499 out of my bank account and the services of a “person with experience in Hollywood scriptwriting” who would read the book(s), compile a synopsis and presentation materials, and flog same to studios and producers. Did I think of my novels as having film or TV series potential?
“Yea, pretty filmic,” I said. “Hell, I threw in everything but the kitchen sink. You got your gory murder, political corruption, gratuitous blow job, fist fights, hostage scenario, romantic catastrophe, black magic, something in there for everyone.”
Luz giggled nervously and began to enlarge upon the number of POD books that had been optioned as film properties. Which amounted to about a dozen.
“Well, tell you what, it depends if my car passes inspection,” I explained. ” ’cause if I need a new power rack there goes my discretionary cash. But e-mail me the details.”
I’d have more fun writing a third in the series (if I could get a plot to gel) than screwing with all this really. Not that I don’t love the Walter Mitty fantasy of having the whole thing filmed on location, while local politicians give birth to twins; still, I’m a realist — hell, I never even buy lottery tickets. Luz sounds like a nice kid, but someone else will have to provide her commissions.