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To sell yourself, be yourself

Selfie at Immigrant March 2018“Can we get back to writing now, please?”


You might consider my posts about Stoneman Douglas and my displeasure with the President to be distractions from what I should be doing, building a platform. I have books to sell, and a book I want a publisher to pick up. I should be busy building my social media presence, buying ads and promotion services, and making book trailers. And YouTube videos. Why don’t I make some YouTube videos? Sure, I’m 57 years old with a gray beard and a fast-food gut, and YouTube is embroiled in monetization controversies and Logan Paul. But it’s 2018, damnit! Do a flipping YouTube video!

But I decided that the best way to sell my books is to sell myself. And to sell myself, I have to be myself. Here’s why.

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Tommy’s button

Yes on California Proposition 15, 1982When the March For Our Lives tour came to our area, I had to go. I wanted to hear their stories, learn more about the issues, and find ways I can help. But there was one thing I wanted to do if I were to meet one of the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. I wanted to give them Tommy’s button.

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Is it time to bring back irreverent humor?

The Death of JFK drawingHave you ever heard of shuttle jokes? Shortly after the Challenger disaster in January 1986, a bunch of jokes started circulating about it. Here is the least offensive of them:

“Why does NASA drink Pepsi? Because they can’t get 7-Up.”

Why would people joke about something as horrible as the death of seven astronauts? Or the assassination of President Kennedy?

We turn to irreverent humor in times when we feel powerless against the absurdity surrounding and threatening us. And today may be one of those times.

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A time to act

Democratic congressional debate 2018Thoughtful blog posts and snarky tweets can only go so far. If you want change, you have to get out from behind the keyboard, put on your walking shoes, and hit the streets.

It has been 36 years since I’ve been involved in any type of political event besides voting. But I went to a debate of Democratic candidates in May. This week, I’m attending a meet-and-greet with our Democratic candidate for Congress Katie Porter and will march against the forced separation of migrant children from their parents.

Why am I stepping out and getting involved with politics now? Because the situation is too serious to sit back and do nothing.

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What do we write about now?

In addition to everything President Trump has done, he has eliminated entire genres of fiction.

Cold War spy thrillers where a hostile power tries to take over the United States government? Today, it’s the subject of an active investigation. An adversary who tries to blackmail the president with compromising information? Look at all the compromising information that has already been released about this president. A dystopia where the United States has been turned into a brutal totalitarian state? Someone told me she watches A Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu to escape from the news.

Today’s headlines even affect YA. Want to write a book about a group of teenagers who endure a terrible tragedy and must battle the evil, cowardly, and corrupt adults who threaten to destroy them and their world? It has already been done.

So, what do we write about now?

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