novel

Two years ago this month. . .

. . .Thinks Out Loud, a Blog at First, was born. As writers who are published by indy presses know, it’s a challenge to get the word out about your book, to snag readers’ attention. I was lucky to be able to do three readings in the Seattle area and one in Austin, Texas. I also got a review in Publishers Weekly and attention in the local Seattle media. Plus, positive reader reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. I was appreciative of all that attention. And yet, Amazon proved to be more a hindrance than a benefit. The reviews and readings got the book off to a nice start, and then a lag set in. I had thought the book’s satire of high-tech with sci-fi flourishes and the South Pacific romance and adventure counterpoint would prove popular with the Seattle tech world. That didn’t come to pass. (If anything, the character of the flawed but visionary high-tech CEO who’s playing around with time and space seems even more relevant than two years ago!)

While a lot of friends did buy the book, I was a little disappointed that more of them chose not to. (Were they hoping for a free copy? I couldn’t afford to do so.) And I also thought bloggers would be intrigued by the blog format. For the most part, they weren’t. I know, folks are busy. Social media and web surfing account for large chunks of our free time. My novel is one brief wave in an ocean of books. I get it.

To those who bought Thinks Out Loud, you have my thanks! (I still believe the blog format and multiple stories by the bloggers provides a fun read.)

It’s on to the next novel, this one will be the picaresque adventures of two naïve young men thrust into the Berkeley, California of circa 1971. They are expecting to experience the love-ins of 1965, though times have changed, darkened. Sounds serious—but there’s plenty of humor to be mined.

Stay tuned.

SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT THE BOOK AND AMAZON: If you order Thinks Out Loud from Amazon Prime, you will be receiving an older version that is out of date and whose printing is lighter than the current edition. If on Amazon, order from the Thinks Out Loud seller option which will be the newer better print version. You can also order the newer version directly from the publisher via this website, thinksoutloud.com, or from your local bookstore, which will either have the book in stock or available via a quick special order from Ingram, the wholesaler.

It's a blog It's a novel It's both

The other day I was leafing through my novel, as I do weekly, to prove to myself the book exists. Not for the first time did I note the layout. It’s an attempt to look bloglike. Each postings begins with a Thinks Out Loud banner and a headline in bold, an entry number, and the posting’s date. Then comes the content followed by the bloglike View Comments section.

See the blog. Since I know the book’s contents forwards and backwards (forwords and backwords?), I take the design for granted, now. However, if I were a browser in a bookstore and came across the book with its mysterious cover art—a tropical leafy creature’s head/mask with a robed body—and I opened to a random page, I would not see a traditional layout of most novels—lots of words, lots of paragraphs, maybe a chapter title. Instead, would I experience some level of confusion, especially if I were unaware of the blog nature of the novel? Would I have the patience to try and read the opening pages?

Because I am one with the book, I experience a version of the curse of knowledge. It’s a tendency to assume that others have the perspective to understand what I now take for granted. They wouldn’t.

Even if that bookstore browser reads the back cover copy, and even though the blogging concept is explicitly stated, there is no indication that between the covers lies a book with a unique design that attempts to recreate the blog experience in blog form.

Some readers have said it doesn’t take long to get into the blog rhythm of the book—10 to 15 pages. But what if a reader is impatient and exits the book after trying to work through only one or two postings? I guess that’s the chance I’m taking.

Here's how a typical posting looks:

Posting section that includes the posting’s heading, title, and the content     SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT THE BOOK AND AMAZON : If you order  Thinks Out Loud  from Amazon Prime, you will be receiving an older version that is out of date and whose printing is lighter than the current edition. If on Amazon, order from the Thinks Out Loud seller option which will be the newer better print version. You can also order the newer version directly from the publisher via this website,  thinksoutloud.com , or from your local bookstore, which will either have the book in stock or available via a quick special order from Ingram, the wholesaler.

Posting section that includes the posting’s heading, title, and the content

SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT THE BOOK AND AMAZON: If you order Thinks Out Loud from Amazon Prime, you will be receiving an older version that is out of date and whose printing is lighter than the current edition. If on Amazon, order from the Thinks Out Loud seller option which will be the newer better print version. You can also order the newer version directly from the publisher via this website, thinksoutloud.com, or from your local bookstore, which will either have the book in stock or available via a quick special order from Ingram, the wholesaler.

Donald Trump and Thinks Out Loud

While Donald Trump is not a character in Thinks Out Loud, some of the bloggers in the book do make references to him circa 2011, when the story takes place. An aside: The predecessor to the novel was an actual blog called Thinking Out Loud, postings of what I hoped at the time were of a humorous nature. The novel grew out of those postings, some of which were recycled in varying degrees with modifications of form and content. I worked on the book in earnest, as opposed to unearnest, in 2013 to 2014. Then the book went into an advanced editing/publication stage, finally appearing in July 2017 (after Trump took office). Since the book was essentially written before the 2016 election, those references to Trump were all created when he was starting to make his presidential aspirations known but while no one was taking him seriously.

On page 18, for example, the blogger tallboy actually does a short satirical posting featuring an abrasive Trump demanding to see Obama’s third-grade transcript, his dental records, and a list of his iTunes downloads.

On page 78, tallboy conjectures that Trump could accidentally fire himself from The Apprentice.

As I said, back in 2011, Trump wasn’t being taken seriously by the press, Democrats, and Republicans with presidential dreams. I can’t even say these short references to him in the early parts of the book serve as foreshadowing because he’s not mentioned later on. The only loose connection I can come up with is that one of the book’s themes is about control: the desire for control and what that desire can cause a person to do. Given that perspective, then Trump’s appearance in the book can be considered inadvertently prophetic.


SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT THE BOOK AND AMAZON: If you order Thinks Out Loud from Amazon Prime, you will be receiving an older version that is out of date and whose printing is lighter than the current edition. If on Amazon, order from the Thinks Out Loud option which will be the newer better print version. You can also order the newer version directly from the publisher via this website, thinksoutloud.com,  or from your local bookstore, which will either have the book in stock or available via a quick special order from Ingram, the wholesaler. 

Thinks Out Loud, a Blog at First
by Martin Perlman

https://www.thinksoutloud.com/