Guest post: "Never Sit on the Stool" by Robert Lane

Her eyes did me in. Feel them to this day.
 That’s why, while I’d much rather type about writing—that creative throbbing pulse that renders my daily dose of ecstasy—I’ll strike the keys for promotion. Someone’s got to do it.
Warning: If you’re expecting your thirty-ninth article in five days on how to build a platform, Amazons latest algorithms, or why your career is destined for comatose-city unless social media is your new religion—save your time. Punch out now. I offer no magic bullet—just a metaphorical frame of mind.
Ever go to one of those weekend art shows where they close off the streets and a few dozen—or a few hundred—artist show up, man their tents, sit on their stools, and pray an open wallet takes notice of their heart’s labor?
You can imagine the herculean effort that goes into the production of their life’s calling. The earrings/paintings/pottery/sculpture, crap you don’t even know what it is. Ever consider the travel time and time away from home? To do what? Slump on a stool all day—Friday, Saturday, and Sunday? Pittsburg in May. Indy in June. Tampa, Orlando, and Naples squeezed in some winter months. Stick to the ones close to home; but you heard St. Louis was buying, big money there last year. Better give it a try. But they’ll all the same. Cost more money for travel and hotel than you make.
            And you sit. And sit. And sit. Waiting for someone to notice.
            I admire their effort. I applaud their dedication. Feel their sacrifice. Appreciate their work. Occasionally even cart home their wares—but really, there’s no place any more for all the stuff. One of them, (‘them,’ as if they have no names and are not real) haunts me to this day. Perched on her stool like a quarter moon, surrounded by her hand-made Christmas ornament-sized glass globes. (Zillions of the damn things, reflecting the blue sky like they were oblivious to their creator’s plight. How can something your heart creates be so cold?) Enough that she’d likely go a year without blowing a new one. But that’s what she likes to do, right, create glass globes? No one ever created a glass globe because they were in the mood to promote it.
No one ever wrote a book because they wanted to spend time and money advertising it.
            This is where the eyes come in.
 My lady, surrounded by her globes, had that thousand-yard stare. Haunting. Lost. She was gonzo. Checked out. Disillusioned you want to add? That’s a soft-gel word. This dame was toast.
            Jesse Livermore, a famous Wall Street trader from the first part of the twentieth century, said no one can tell you how to get rich. If they could, everyone would be rich. A country of three hundred million Bill Gates scurrying around. Who’d make the hotel beds, deliver the babies, teach the children? Doesn’t work that way. Jesse hit the old nail on the head. You need to figure it out on your own. 
            No one can tell you how to successfully promote a book. If they could, we’d all be little James Patterson’s, selling tens of millions of books. Impossible. (Patterson, for those of you in the dark, ran the North American branch of J. Walter Thompson, one of the largest advertising agencies in the world. Yes, the world’s top selling author is a Mad Man to the core. If you didn’t know this, you’ve got to start reading the program notes.)
            I have no key, no advice as to how to promote or what works. I write the best story I can and then I tweet, Facebook, polish my web page, run ads, solicit reviews, make contacts—write another best book I can—tweak the tweets, fix the Facebook page, work on the web site, seek more raving reviews, run more ads, forge more contacts—write a book better than I thought I could—and then I…
            You got it. Do what you know. Do what you don’t know. Get out of your comfort zone. Make mistakes. If you don’t, you’re killing yourself. Sorry I can’t be more specific, but here’s the best advice I can give and it follows a personal mantra: you are defined as much by what you don’t do as by what you do.
            Never sit on the stool. 
            No. I didn’t buy a globe that day. Yes, that bothers me.
Genre: Mystery
Author: Robert Lane
Publisher: Mason Alley
Purchase on Amazon

18-year-old Jenny Spencer is missing after a violent nighttime encounter on a Florida beach. Jenny’s aunt, Susan Blake, asks wisecracking PI Jake Travis to investigate.

Susan and Jake had only spent one dinner together, but both felt an instant, overpowering attraction. Jake walked away.  After all, he was—and is—committed to Kathleen.  But having Susan in his life again could be dangerous:   dangerous in more ways than one.

As Jake and his partner, Garrett Demarcus, close in on finding Jenny, they uncover a shocking secret in Kathleen’s past.  Even more shocking is that Kathleen and Jenny’s life are strangely intertwined. 

For Jake, this case may hit way too close to home—and what started as a race to find Jenny could become a fight to protect Kathleen.

As the case heats up and the danger escalates, Jake is forced to examine his moral boundaries.  How far is he willing to go for the woman he loves?   At what cost?  And what about that question that has dogged him since the beginning of the case: was there another person on the beach that night?



Robert Lane resides on Florida’s west coast.  He is also the author of The Second Letter.


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