I was watching Good Morning America this morning and saw that
there is yet another self-help book that has just become a best
seller. I don't want to tell you which one it is because you'd
probably run out and buy it instead of one of my books.
So, here is my epiphany - people keep buying self-help books
like lemmings jumping off a cliff. It seems to me that an unlikely
high percentage of these books become instant best sellers. The
thing about this that I find puzzling is that they all say just
about the same using different words. "Get off your butt, stop
whining, love yourself, believe in yourself, blah, blah, blah."
I've been publishing fictional novels for six years now and none
of mine ever get close to being a "best seller". Of course, it's
occurred to me that I should write a self-help book, but I can't
think of anything to say that hasn't already been said - ad
[note - Full disclosure: I have read many of these self-help
books myself during my long career in the rat race.]
I just released my newest novel, Trouble in Choctaw County, a
modern version of the Perseus Hero's Journey. There's lot's
of good examples of how to be a better person in this tale: how to
rise above adversity, how to conquer your fears, how to make
friends, how to open your heart to others, the importance of
family, blah, blah, blah.
Perhaps I should have promoted my new book as a self-help tale.
But then it would probably not attract all the people who improve
themselves by simply giving in to their need for pleasure, opening
up their minds, allowing themselves to be taken on the imaginary
journeys and adventures of fiction.
Did you know that over 15,000 self-books are published each
year? Yes, each year. It's true - I looked it up. I'm reluctant to
believe that there are that many different ways to improve one's
self, yet this sector of the book market is one of the fastest
growing in the publishing industry. I guess we could all use some
improvement. My mother use to tell me, "everyone is flawed but you
and me, but sometimes I wonder about thee." (she actually said
Still, it just doesn't seem likely that there really needs to be
so many self-help books. So, let me give you some inside
information: all my novels have life lessons embedded in them. Ha!
Now, you don't have to go out and buy 3 or 4 self-help books this
year, which are always boring and repetitive, by the way. You can
enjoy a great adventure AND learn how to be a better
So, I'm always trying to find ways to let the world know that
I'm here and writing books, in the hope that some of them will
purchase and read them. It's not easy.
I already told you that there are 15,000 new self-help books
published every year. Well, hold on to your hats - there are well
over 600,000 books of all kinds published every year, in the U.S.
alone! Sometimes it feels hopeless to believe that more than just a
handful of the readers will ever discover John York - the correct
John York. You see, to make matters worse, there are several
authors named John York, including one whose book involves
sadomasochism and typically shows up on Google when you're
searching for John York Author - sigh.
When we were planning how to promote my latest novel, Trouble in
Choctaw County, my publisher asked me if I knew any famous people.
I do not. This is apparently a very good marketing advantage - to
know somebody famous who is willing to recommend your book. Well,
duh. Most of the authors I see getting air time on mass media are
either already famous themselves or know somebody famous or related
to somebody famous - or infamous.
The closest person I know who is quasi-famous is my very good
friend, Tyson. He was also my business partner and is a technology
genius. He knows lots of famous people - not necessarily movie-star
famous, but more like business famous. He visited us in Florida
recently and offered to put a rather silly video that I produced
about the book on Linked In. He told me he has a lot of
I wasn't very optimistic that his generous offer would have much
impact, but was surprised to find a noticeable spike in sales over
the next 24 hours. Needless to say I was impressed and, of course,
So, if any of you out there are famous, or know somebody famous,
I'd appreciate it if you would give your fans a little pitch for my
novels. [side note - if you've read any of those self-help books,
I'm sure you know that it is good to help others...] Just
While my friend, Tyson,
was visiting, he suggested we drive across Florida, to Cape
Canaveral, and watch the Artemis 1 moon rocket launch. We left New
Port Richey at 5:30 in the morning in order to be there for the
beginning of the launch window at 8:33. Unfortunately, the launch
was scrubbed due to a leak in one of its systems.
On the two-and-a-half hour drive, we reflected on previous space
missions 50 years ago and how the whole world watched in wonder. By
contrast, this renewed effort to resurrect the space program seems
to be of less interest to Americans than the perplexing hype over
I say perplexing because, to date, there have been 15,000
reported cases of Monkey pox, according to the news reports,
including 5 deaths, and this is worldwide, a world populated by
7.75 billion people. That means the percentage of people who have
contracted Monkey pox is .00000193548 percent of the world's
population, which, by most yardsticks, is statistically pretty
insignificant - hardly a blip on the radar. Over 38,000 people are
killed in traffic accidents each year just in the United States.
Why don't we hear a report on the News every night about that?
But, I digress. It it strikes me as odd that the Artemis
mission, the largest rocket ever launched, and the practice launch
for returning humans to the moon, does not gain more attention that
it has. There were maybe a couple hundred people gathered along the
waterfront in Titusville, nothing close to the crowds during the
early days of the space effort. Old news, I guess.
I suppose we should focus on exaggerated and vitriolic political
issues, worry about assigning blame for social and economic
problems, concentrate on finding excuses for avoiding solutions for
addressing climate change, and learning how to improve ourselves by
purchasing the self-help book of the moment.
Perhaps the picture at the top of this blog reflects my
disillusionment in what I see and hear on the News. I confess that
I also thought it was funny, in a perverse sort of way. You must
admit, it's not something you see everyday. By the way, he's only
stuffing a grape in his mouth, not flipping the bird.