By Sue Lange
Maybe even two or three, as many as you can handle. Do this item about three weeks into the launch, just at the time when sales start to flag. It’s a real attention-getter.
Feed and water your victims well, keep their spirits up. When you return them you want them to be happy and healthy, otherwise the public will not be on your side.
After about four days unload them in a well-lit, safe, and very public place. A potted plant in your local mall would work perfectly.
Pin a note to the kid tearfully explaining you are returning the child as your conscience requires it. Use your best sentimental prose here. This is not the time to hold back for reasons of taste. Explain your misguided action was your psychotic boyfriend’s idea. He was suffering under a mountain of student loans and not thinking clearly. This is a logical explanation, no one will question the motivation. Sign the note using your pen name.
Dumping the kids quickly in this way does two things for you. First it gets the reading public on your side. You want that throughout this ordeal. Second it relieves you of the responsibility for the lives of three children. Something you don’t want as you move into phase two of this publicity campaign.
With your laptop and copy of Donald Maas’ How to Write the Breakout Novel Workbook (will be used to positively ID as a newbie author later), head for Mexico. Don’t exchange the license plate on your car for one you’ve stolen. This tip is especially effective if your pen name and the name your car is registered under is the same. If they are different, you will have to work a little harder to help security forces ID you, but this can still work. If you follow all the instructions below, you will garner lots of attention as you make your trek across the country. By the time you ram the barrier fence at the border, you will be well known.
As you travel through various counties and states during your journey, stop at all Internet cafes and tweet your progress as well as any close calls with FBI agents. Remember to include links to where your books can be purchased on line.
Follow all back roads. This is not to remain inconspicuous, it is because on the back roads you will come across numerous small towns and forgotten cities too far from the Interstate to be of interest. The scene meisters in these towns are always accessible and just dying for someone interesting to stop by. So stop by. Take note of local newspapers. Most of these small town papers have been untouched by the Internet revolution. They never had a large readership to lose so they haven’t lost it and are still in business.
Send out your best written manifesto to these entities. Your manifesto should include wide-reaching and heart-felt topics such as the decline of altruism in the U.S., the evils of unchecked capitalism, the difficulty of sleeping and having sex in a Prius. As your reputation and reading public grows, these outlets will be more and more inclined to print your grandiose plans to get America back on track.
The manifesto accomplishes two things. First it creates a trail leading to you that’s so obvious, even the most bungling of back country security officers can’t miss you. It also gives you practice writing non-fiction, which you will soon be doing, in the form of memoir.
By the time you get to the Mexican border you should have plenty of practice breaking through police barricades. Busting through the customs and immigration barrier will be the fitting finale to a hard-won publicity campaign.
A tip: do not bring a gun with you for use during the finale. You do NOT want to shoot back. First off, killing people to build up your reputation has been done to death. The number one enemy of every writer is cliché. So just don’t do it. Second, you’re not Dillinger, you’re a writer. By definition you don’t have the cojones. You’re just going to get hurt, which is fine as long as you don’t get killed. If you carry a gun, you’ll probably get killed. Without one, you’ll only wind up in a wheelchair. We’re going for maximum public support here and nothing garners that more than ill health. So if you’re contemplating bringing a gun, don’t. It’s not good form.
If by some miracle you slip by the FBI and the border guards don’t maim you, when you get to Tijuana, send an anonymous tip to Interpol and then hang around the outdoor cafes screaming about how American publishing has gone straight down the tubes. Curse the publishers as the gatekeepers from hell that they are. You will be found immediately as the disaffected American writer is a common fixture throughout the world, and especially in Mexico. You will be easily recognized.
If everything has gone according to the plan above you will finally be captured. Congratulations. This kind of publicity cannot be bought for any amount of money. You will have a following Lady Gaga would go gaga over. More people will love you than if your book was on the New York Times Bestseller list for a year. You might, just might, even sell more copies of your book than Bill O’Reilly’s latest.
By this time, your public, your rabid followers, will pay any amount of money to get a copy of your next manifesto or golden nugget in the form of a tweet. Don’t give it to them. Make them suffer (and remember to jack the price of the forthcoming book–a memoir of your experiences launching your current book–up).
A tip: Do not hire a good lawyer, in fact don’t hire any lawyer and refuse help from misguided public defenders. Because you are now a famous author, you need time away from your day gig to write your upcoming memoir. A nice long prison sentence is just the ticket.
A tip: If possible when serving your term, start a riot, or act as a lookout during a hit. There’s a good chance you’ll land in solitary. Pefect. You’re an author. You need A Room of Your Own.
So that’s it. Follow the above guidelines and you’re sure to be a hit. Good luck with the launch and don’t forget to place a towel on your shoulder when you burp the babies.
Next week: Item #367: Hijacking the Mission to Mars
Sue Lange’s first novel, Tritcheon Hash, has recently been released by Book View Café as an ebook. Find it it the BVC bookstore.