"Who in their right mind wouldn't want to read a book by Mark Barry!" (Mary Quallo, St Louis)

"Who in their right mind wouldn't want to read a book by Mark Barry!"  (Mary Quallo, St Louis)
Coming next week - Carla Eatherington

Monday, 25 June 2012

Wanted: Fit, Handsome, Young Man

I was hanging around on Pimping Indie when I bumped into a book called South of Bixby Bridge by Ryan Winfield.


20,000 likes and 497 reviews of his book on Amazon, even essays on there. Essays. Some of the reviews are four pages long. Most of the fans of his work are women, presumably the same women who are emptying the shops of the Fifty Shades series. On Amazon, you can read sample chapters, so I had a dekko at his book.


You can too.

Well, I wouldn't if I were you.

I read the first six paragraphs and I got a splitting headache, a migraine like a psychotic woodpecker let loose in the space between my temples. I took a break. The headache subsided. Then I got to the second page. After a paragraph, my ears started to hum and my nose started to bleed. After ten minutes of unconsciousness, I gave it up and watched Black Caviar on you tube instead.

It's simply unreadable. Simply unreadable.

So how come he's sold so many books?

Have a look at the bloke.

Even I fancy him (well, I don't - I'm speaking metaphorically here). Handsome, male model looking bloke. You can sense the oestrogen seeping from the fingertips of his eager followers as they pen yet another fawning comment on his fan page.

I don't mind that, if they're going to admit they bought the book because subliminally, they want to bang the author, but please, don't tell me its good writing. It isn't. I'd rather lick the dandruff from a tramp's cap than read another line of this. Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man is a far better read about addiction.

First chapter of the work is just full of filth too. Like Fifty Shades. I thought long and hard about Chapter 36-39 of The Ritual after reading Amazon's Porn criteria, but now, I wish I'd have amplified it. I'm half tempted to ramp up Emily's adventures in TIW- that's what everyone else is doing, it seems and sex sells.

But forget that. That's not why it sold.

Ryan is extremely handsome.

When I was at Heroine's last time, I read a passage to her from Glen Duncan's "A Day and Night and a Day." (2009) A black CIA agent is being tortured somewhere in the Middle East and his torturer and he are discussing various matters in between the act.

"I was thinking that if I applied for my job today, I wouldn't get it."
"Not good looking enough."
"You've got that Morgan Freeman thing. Gravitas. Gravitas goes a long way"
"Not like beauty..."
"I wish you were wrong, but you're not. Friend of mine's a publisher. These days they look at the head shot before the manuscript." (P9)

Like the covers thing, I didn't believe this. Often good writing comes from a sense of loss, a sense of dissatisfaction, and some of the best writers ever are plain, often non-descript looking people, their words clearly compensating for something ephemeral.

Yet, the sales figures proved me wrong once more. The almost paradoxical dissonance between Ryan's beauty and his ugly, scary, stilted prose having no impact on the reading public's perception of him and his work.

So. If you're a handsome young man, with a bit of boy band about you, a thirty seven pound just out of bed haircut from Spikey Mikeys, a White Stuff top, and if you wax, depilate, perspirate, moisturise and dye, then send Heroine a photo.

She'll select one of you and you can be the face of Green Wizard. We'll sell seventy five million copies of some 30,000 word porno bollocks called a Hundred Shades of Trent Bridge and split it 60:40. I'll let you decide who deserves the lion's share.

Off dahn sarf, but I'm sure I'll stay in touch.

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