Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Dad Writes Rubbish

It must have been satisfying in so-called Days of Old when an author packaged his manuscript, trudged to the post office, mailed the pages to the publisher, and began thinking about his next book.

In early July, I hit "send" on the digital manuscript to "The Weekend Starts on Wednesday: True Stories of Remarkable NASCAR Fans" (no mailing a big burly package anymore). That feels a lifetime ago. Since then, it's been a classic "hurry up and wait" scenario -- late summer, into fall, and now the cold blunt days of winter, I've been chomping at the bit get this thing "out there." A bale of books -- my book -- left a port in China on a freighter steaming our way just last week. The book will be on the shelves in early February; the task of promoting it in a very crowded, skeptical and unforgiving marketplace is only beginning.

We'll lean on the latest tools in "vertically integrated," "user generated," "direct to consumer," "social networked" communications. I have no idea what half that crap means, and it's a miracle I've gotten this far into the first blog without the words disappearing as a result of pressing the wrong button, sending me flying into a violent tirade. You know, I'm likely to hit a stray key because I'm typing in bed, horizontal. The marketers would say the channel remains vertical. Whatever.

My publisher, Motorbooks, the world's largest producer of books about cars and racing, was nice enough to set up Facebook and Twitter pages for me. (I can barely work the toaster oven so this is greatly appreciated.) They've also teed me up for this Blog, which I hope will allow me to meet more amazing NASCAR fans and tell the stories of their love affair with this great American sport.

In one day, our Facebook page has drawn about 100 "fans,"which is very exciting since not a page of prose exists yet in the marketplace. Some of these folks came after my spunky daughter joined (because, she wrote, her dad had written some "rubbish"). Gaby's friends saw that and became a fans of "The Weekend Starts on Wednesday," believing it's a plan to shorten the school week by extending the weekend.

My goal isn't that ambitious; it's merley to continue to celebrate and pay homage to the wonderful, giving, generous, amazing people who make NASCAR a big part of their lives.

I hope the fans of NASCAR, and even some who don't follow it, can visit this blog and our Facebook page, and share their photos and feelings about the sport...and the fans who make it go. (The FB page is www.facebook.com/pages/The-Weekend-Starts-on-Wednesday/231611888139)

The marketers are wont to talk about community, another overused word. But NASCAR really is a community -- a group of like-minded people sharing common values and sensibilities. This Blog is another community fans can come to. If you know of any who are remarkable and noteworthy in their own right, please let me know. Perhaps we can share their stories, too.

In that respect, maybe things are better today. Authors in times past didn't have the chance to stay in touch with the people in their book while adding new layers to the story. In that way, technology blesses us.

So welcome to "The Weekend Starts on Wednesday blog." Hopefully, it will be a long and interesting ride, and no one will get car sick.

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