Is time moving faster — or are we?
How many times have you found yourself saying: “I don’t have enough time?”
As a yoga teacher I’m in the habit of encouraging students to breathe deeply, slow down and create space. This, however, appears to be at odds with an increasingly accelerated lifestyle; a curious jumblebag of emotional expectations of how/who/what we should spend our time on set to the relentless beat of escalating technological change — curiously labelled as “time savers”.
Even the frequency between technological waves is decreasing so they’re breaking over us more often dumping gadgets, gizmos and widgets, all impatient to be the “—est”, the next Gee Whiz, while we push harder on our own personal accelerators to catch up, perpetuating the cycle.
So, how much change can we cope with?
Imagine being whisked fifty years into the future. Not only that but what if technology had continued to escalate so that while only fifty years may have passed on the sundial, new wave tech had continued to advance exponentially so that the equivalent of hundreds of developmental years had elapsed?
This is the challenge I set for my protagonist in the second book of the Helix Prophecy, ‘The Emerald Tablets,’ where Callum discovers that time has become an even more valuable commodity.
In the “Emerald Tablets” time can be traded, transferred from one body to another, bent and manipulated. Time becomes a magical extensor of pleasure, for those with the capacity to pay, so that multiple lifetimes, lifestyles and choices can all be pursued.
Like most “what if…?” questions that authors ask the projected outcome is firmly rooted in today’s experience.
Can we possibly break this cycle and begin to maximise our enjoyment? For despite all the technology and myths surrounding time scarcity many of us use an inordinate proportion of it trudging through the mud of an unchangeable past, or projecting worry into a possible future instead of being fully aware of the only space that is actually alive for us— the right now. What if we could be fully present through all of our senses for the next second and the next? What if we could be totally aware of what each breath feels like as it flows through us and in doing so allow space to arise?
Perhaps then we may realise that it is our choice how hard our foot is pressing down on the accelerator. Now — that would be magic.
Do messages from people we don’t know help sell books? I personally appreciate recommendations from friends about books they’ve enjoyed. Over time we learn to grade these recommendations in line with our experience so that if I get the “nod” from a source I trust, who has similar tastes in reading to mine ,there’s probably a great chance that I’ll enjoy it too. But what about strangers? In this context I’m talking about the hand written shelf notes in book stores beneath certain books. Do we, can we trust those? The answer is, that in the absence of anything else, yes. Speaking personally if I’m browsing and there are two books I’m considering – at face value – and one of them has an an endorsement on the shelf and the other not I’m going to be more inclined to go with the endorsement.
That’s why I appreciated it when one bookseller took the time to send through a photo of one such note. The one fact we often forget as writers is that the most avid readers are often in places where they have the greatest access to books, book stores. They represent a fantastic (often untapped) resource of both customers and authors.
Understanding and appreciating that fact is one lesson that I have picked up since I started viewing things from the “other side of the shelf”.
All the best
After an amazing few weeks haunting the shopping malls and bookstores of Brisbane I’m wondering. As part of the promotion with Glen, the magician, we spoke to a lot of people. It turns out that when they did stop to look at one of Glen’s neat tricks and got talking less than 10% admitted they liked to read. Now this may well have been a defence response to standing outside a major book retailer with an author breathing down their neck but I’m not so sure. Even trying to give away 10x$10 Dymocks book vouchers in a little under an hour was a challenge. The photos this week show some happy readers in Brisbane.
There is now only one book store event to go – Dymocks, Chermside Shopping Centre, Friday 18th March. Having a real magician at these events has been great. Kids love them and while I haven’t written a kids book, the parents are obliged to come to a halt too as the children watch goggle eyed as Glen pulls balls out of the air and scarves from up their sleeves. It also demonstrates, yet again, the yawning chasm between childhood and adult. How does the wonder evaporate? Where does it go? Glen works by inviting people over to his table. The people in these venues are shopping, not browsing, they appear to be on a mission and let’s face it many are, it’s lunchtime and they’ve got things to do, places to be, food to eat. But where children are seemingly able to suspend their disbelief at a drop of their jaw, adults are less likely to do so and just nod or smile indulgently before moving on. Curious.
Another odd thing I’ve noticed is that people are fairly suspicious of men dressed in a costume with a mike and will go to any lengths to avoid confrontation. Even offering a $10 book voucher failed to stop some intrepid shoppers. However thanks go to those who did stop and share a laugh and even those who then went on to purchase a copy of the book, I hope you enjoyed it.
Seeing your book in a display at a major bookstore was another eye-opener event. Yesterday was the first of the bookstore appearances and Glen, the magician was there to attract attention. He did a great job. In hindsight though, we should have been upstairs at Dymocks in the city. In many ways it was like being at one of the many trade show events I’ve been at – on a stall trying to engage with the passing traffic flow. Still, there were a couple of special moments when people did stop had a chat and then picked up the book and took it to the counter, returning a few moments later to have it signed. This was “first contact” – author to reader, not a friend or relative who was buying to be kind or out of a sense of duty but someone I didn’t know. Crazy, but I hadn’t thought of it like this before but out the thousands of books on display at Dymocks city store these people had chosen to expend part of their discretionary “fun money” on mine. It was both humbling and intimate knowing that these people would travel the same journey I had. Up until now everything had been about production, presentation and distribution. Now it’s about people, albeit they weren’t flocking to the counter with multiple copies under their arms but, for this first time, it was great to savour the experience from the few that did.
Indooroopilly, Chermside and North Lakes are next.
Dymocks in the city will be the first store to feature Glen Rhodes, the fabulous magician, promoting “The Seventh Wave”. If you want to get along Glen will be pulling rabbits from 12 noon on Friday 25th Feb until around 1.30. There’ll be fabulous prizes to be won, including Dymocks book vouchers.
Other stores have also flagged their interest and Glen will be coming to Chermside, Indooroopilly and North Lakes. Gold Coast and other venues after that.
Also this week I did an interview and photo shoot (dress up of course) for the Bayside Bulletin/Redland Times, and have a radio interview with ABC Western Queensland booked in for Monday. Fingers crossed for that.
Wild words is gathering momentum too with many more photo posts. The criteria has changed so you don’t need to send your own photo in holding the book, just the book is fine. Obviously the more exotic or “wild” you can make the way the book is set up the better chance you’ll have of scoring a prize.
Well, no official reviews of the book yet but there have been an incredible number of anecdotal “we love it”s from famous people – like my friends and five pointer (family) stars. Thanks guys. Apparently it’s a bit difficult to get printed reviews. Harper Collins promotions guy, Jace, has sent out offers to the usual suspects along with a press release (hello?) but so far there have been only talkers no takers. I did get one official request for a reader copy from the local paper who have promised to run a piece and a review for me. Pictures and all.
The business cards look fantastic. These will be going out to bookstores starting next week, plus I now have all the contacts for my magician to stage his shows beginning week of 21/2. All a little late but, hey, it’ll happen. Stay tuned for dates and stores.
Well, yes it is also “week one” but going live proves, yet again, that best laid plans are not ever nailed, laying bare the “weak” spots of the launch platform. But first, a huge thank you for all the emails and messages of support I have received. It’s been fantastic (prostrates himself).
The super nifty business cards (opens up like a book-in fact it is “the book”) should be ready by today and this will underpin the bookstore campaign. Banner pen giveaways are still three weeks away though, (caught up in Chinese New Year celebs). Look out for a fabulous street magician who’ll be fronting some high traffic bookstores over the next few weeks (schedule will be published on this site soon) – he’s even figured out a way to get “the book” into the act – (if the rabbit agrees to make room for it inside the hat) .
The Bayside News (local paper in Redlands) has offered to do a plug along with some happy snaps so this should help encourage the Redlands bookstores to order in supplies. That’s the other frustrating thing – many of my friends have been saying the book is not available in their “local”.
Bring on week two.
I promised myself I wouldn’t do it – but I did. I went into Dymocks today, launch day, to see if the book was up. Scoured the recent releases – no luck. Upstairs to the spec fic section and walked the “G’s” – nothing. Sigh, went round the stack’s corner and there, right at the bottom, (rubbing shoulders with Neil Gaiman) I saw it, rather them because there were three rows, count them, three, face out. Twenty copies of “the Seventh Wave.” Amazing feeling. Over the road to Borders, again nothing downstairs but a quick scan of their on-line catalogue and there it was, upstairs again, this time on the top shelf, another 20 copies. Maybe this is normal, but it looks totally…magic.
Off to a great start