My Epiphany

My Epiphany Cover Image

John York

September 1, 2022

Self-Help Books

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 nauseam. 

[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 "crazy")

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 person. 

You're Welcome.

Who Is John York?

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 followers.

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, very grateful.

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 saying.

Space Travel - Does Anybody Care?

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 Monkey pox.

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.