Thursday, January 10, 2008


Remember last April when those wags at WaPo wondered what would happen if they salted the Washington Metro with Joshua Bell playing his more-expensive-than-you-want-to-know violin?

Here's the article with the link to the youtube video if you missed the story.

Not many people stopped to listen, or even recognized the man who is arguably the world's foremost violin player. WaPo reporters deemed this an indication of the declining moral fiber of America, or something.

Well, anyone who rides the subways as I do can tell you that why not many people paused is not a reflection of declining moral fiber (for that you have to look at the FoxNews Nielson numbers). It's a reflection of timing; theirs sucked. Most street/subway buskers play in the afternoon, and at night.

For proof that people stand and listen to musicians, herewith a photo from the Union Square subway taken just this evening. Three piece ensemble: horn, tuba, drumset. They were having some serious fun, as were the 25 people standing nearby.

Timing is all. These guys placed themselves on a platform where people stand and wait, and they did it when people weren't rushing.

Timing is a critical part of promotion for books. Too early on all your pr, and books aren't in the stores yet (I've seen that happen). Too late and people aren't really interested in a book published "a while ago".

So imagine what it must be like to achieve a lifetime dream of having a novel picked up by an agent, sold to Dutton, all set to be published on 1/29/08 ... only to find out you have cancer. Aggressive cancer. Cancer that must be treated NOW. Book pr takes a back seat of course; but there's no replacing that first solid pr effort for a novel.

That is happening right now to Patry Francis. Her novel The Liar's Diary is due out on 1/29. She's not going to be up to the task of promotion.

Some of her friends got a bright idea. "Let's use the power of the collective to make sure this book doesn't fall through the cracks."

Let's have a talk about Patry Francis day on 1/29/08.

So, you're going to see a lot about her on that day. If you're a blogger, you may want to pitch in. If you're a reader, you may want to buy the book. If you're a library user, you might want to mention it to your librarian.

Even if you're the best violinist in the world, you need to be in the right place at the right time. Our collective action can move Patry Francis to right spot for her book to get the attention it needs at the right time.

Pretty cool isn't it?


Stephen Parrish said...

I'm in. Thanks for the link.

The Plume paperback of The Liar's Diary comes out on 1/29; the Dutton hardcover was published Feb 07.

Susan Adrian said...

Yep, I'll join in. Thanks for letting us know.

ryan field said...

I'm in, too. Thanks for the post.

Heidi Willis said...

Interesting that Nathan Bransford mentioned that Oprah might pick a Plume book for her book club. The article he referenced mentioned The Liar's Diary as a possibility.

I love that your blog is often about the bigger picture. You strive to make a difference in your corner of the world, and so you often do. Thanks.

Karen Dionne said...

Thanks for the post, Janet, and thanks to the folks who've offered to help! Patry's a wonderful person (and a wonderful writer), and the response to THE LIAR'S DIARY blog day has been truly overwhelming.

I'm going to send out an audio clip from Brilliance, a short video put together by Circle of Seven productions, a press release from Patry's publisher, and other useful materials to bloggers a few days before the event. If the folks who would like to participate would email me their blog address, I can make sure you receive these materials.

Thanks again!

karendionne at

Heidi the Hick said...

Thanks for this post. If there's one thing I've learned from two years of blogging, it's that writers have to work together!

Anne-Marie said...

Thanks for the post. I'm in too.

Lisa said...

The blog day is a wonderful way for the community of online writers to pull together and support Patry, a generous and inspirational friend to so many. I read The Liar's Diary when it first came out, before I became a regular visitor to Simply Wait and before I had my own blog -- it is a great book. I'm sure many generous souls will buy the paperback to be supportive, but I hope that people will also discover what a fabulous writer Patry is too. Can't say it enough -- I really loved the book. said...

I closed my blog a while back, but I still have a website with a news page on it. I'm in.

Fight, Patry. Fight!

LitPark said...

You rock, Janet! Thank you so much for this.

Chris Eldin said...

An awesome cause. I just found out. I'm in.
Thank you for posting this.

Marta Stephens said...

I read about Patry earlier this month in Crimespace (NING). I was immediately touched by her story and thus have posted a review of The Liar's Diary on my blog,

I'm so honored to be a part of this day!