Ralph McInerny

I’m currently copy editing a new book about Robert McInerny, professor of Philosophy at Notre Dame for 54 years, renowned theologian, and prolific writer, both of philosophical books and fiction.

From what I’ve read, and researched on my own, the man was truly gifted and used those gifts prodigiously. If I’d known about him when I was selecting a graduate school, I might have chosen Notre Dame, just to study with him.

My mind boggles at McInerny’s accomplishments. I’m such a slacker. True, I edit all day and don’t really want to sit and read or write when I stop working, but what time I’m wasting by not doing so. I could be reading McInerny’s books, or the plethora of other authors on my To-Read list. I could be working on my own writing, rather than waiting for that day when I will be “free” to write.

True, I am working at my craft for hours every day, but what is my output? Nothing of my own, and there’s the rub. I’m helping others with their writing but ignoring my own and, worse, ignoring  magnificent works that I’ve never read.

It’s time to refocus. Of course I will continue my work: it’s what I love and it helps put food on the table. But I the time has come, the walrus said, to get back to the books! For my own enjoyment and edification.

I know I’ll still watch TV and movies, but I’ll allot time, grudgingly, away from the books…fiction, non-fiction, perhaps even poetry. Kindle and iPad, here I come.

Thanks to Ralph McInerny for spurring me on.

Express Yourself, and Sell

In this new age of publishing, whether an author is published by a publishing house or goes the route of print-on-demand self-publishing, the author will be responsible for a great deal of the marketing of each new book. Authors must blog, tweet, chat on FaceBook, and travel to conferences and street corners to sell their books.

But here’s a neat new twist that just occurred in London. Crime thriller writer Meg Gardiner was dashing to catch the Tube when she happened to glance at a poster on the tunnel wall and discovered that the poster was advertising her latest book. She hadn’t even known that the poster was in the works! Of course, dignified and collected as ever, she skidded to a stop and had her husband preserve the moment. Be proud! That’s your book!

Now that is a great way to market a book. Think of the millions of people who ride mass transit every day in the world’s metropolitan centers. Ride and stare out windows vacantly, hoping for something to distract their minds from the routine and mundane.

Ta-da! How about a book ad! We’ve grown accustomed to seeing movie posters, but book posters! What a great idea!

Now, how to turn that into self-marketing? That’s the challenge.

With new publishing horizons come new opportunities to market. Use the Internet, Twitter, YouTube, and perhaps even posters. It’s a brave new world for those who have the courage to seek new horizons.