A Tribute to Ray Bradbury
Bradbury is not among us anymore.
And yet he is.
is with us in so many ways. What can I possibly add that the media
has not said in the last few days, in the many decades since his
writing career first blossomed. USA Today printed a quote that shows
he wrote for the most admirable of reasons. He said, “I didn’t
451 to predict the future. I wrote it to prevent the future.”
Imagine how much easier it would be to write and market
(and even read!), if authors only wrote about things we feel passionately
about instead of to get famous or make money.
Bradbury took on big themes. Anti fascism. The burning
of books. Our subconscious fears. That he made money only attests
to the importance of putting the passion horse in front of the materialism
cart. But it is also a function of the idea that authors—writing—can
make important contributions above and beyond the wonders of pure
I ran across that USA Today article a few days ago
when I was attending Book Expo America (BEA) in New York. That tradeshow
is always a busy, busy place, the pulse of the publishing industry.
Book buyers. Librarians. The press and other media. Publicists.
Authors up the wazoo. Publishers. And, of course, fans. It can be
(and often is) overwhelming. I’m sure Ray (yes, I think of
him on first name terms) participated in as much of the necessary
book marketing like BEA as he could, but, putting his immeasurable
talent and success aside, he was a man we could know. I know that
much as I love Ray’s work, what I remember most about him
was my personal encounters with him. I met him at several small,
local book fairs that I presented at. I’m talking small. One
was on the grounds of a senior center in a small California community
called Monrovia. No tents. No huge parking lots. No fancy advertising.
He was the keynote speaker and nearly as I could tell,
he didn’t charge for his services, though I’m sure he
commanded a very high fee in many venues around the world. He was
not young, even then, and he (famously) didn't drive. So I know
appearances like this had to be an effort for him. But he was more
concerned about his readers and about inspiring other writers than
he was about big fees or convenience. He was most charming and helpful
when we had questions. He shared anecdotes about his own struggles.
That’s one of the major reasons many writers write. They,
like teachers, love to share something of themselves, something
of what they know. At one point, he took my hand as he told me some
of his marketing secrets. I don't remember the secrets. Just the
intense look in his eyes.
Ray was a great sharer, indeed!
Tips and Tidbits
(Each month in this box, Carolyn lists
a Tidbit that will help authors write or promote better. She
will also include a Tip to help readers find a treasure among
long-neglected books or a sapphire among the newly-published.)
of all patterns and stripes will enjoy the quick tips
and questions and answers format of my blog, The
Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor Guidelines
for submitting questions are in the left column of the
blog. It is inspired by The
Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid
Humiliation and Ensure Success which won USA Book
News Best Book 2007 Award, Reader Views Literary Award
and was a finalist in the New Generations Indie Award.
It is also available for Kindle, www.budurl.com/FrugalEditorKindle.
Tip for Readers' Tip:
chapbook that I coauthored with Magdalena Ball was a
popular Christmas gift for many. Those who missed someone
special on their list and would still like to remember
them might find the $6.95 price tag of Blooming
Red: Christmas Poems for the Rational just
right. It is part of our award-winning Celebration Series
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