Sport returns to A Knight’s Reads and this time is rugby mixed with a bit of crime and comedy! I’m welcoming the blog tour for Mark Farrer’s The Good, The Bad and The Rugby and I’ve got a fab guest post from the author himself!
Many thanks to Emma Welton of damppebbles blog tours for inviting me on the blog tour.
Giveaway – UK only
For your chance to win two bookmarks featuring the covers of all four of Mark Farrer’s books, please click the following Rafflecopter link. Please note this is a UK only giveaway. The 14 winners will be selected at random and your postal address will be passed onto Mark Farrer. There is no cash alternative. The giveaway ends at midnight (GMT) on 16th November 2018. Any personal information stored by the Rafflecopter giveway will be deleted after the winners have been drawn. Good luck! 🍀🍀
Getting to the truth. By trial… and eror error.
Cullen is on jury duty, and the sleepy Scottish town of Melrose is experiencing a rare crime wave: the famous Rugby Sevens trophy is stolen, a dead body is unearthed, there is a spate of petty arson, and someone drives a van into Gloria’s front room.
Why? And what is her husband doing every night up on Eildon hill?
In this hilarious crime romp, misguided loyalties, thwarted love, and unbelievable gullibility reach crisis point on the one day in the year when the world pays a visit to Melrose.
At the final whistle, Cullen will ensure that justice is done.
Because sometimes twelve good men just isn’t enough.
The Guest Post – Straplines
Straplines for books are fiendishly tricky things at the best of times.
And when you consider that, after the cover design, the strapline and then the blurb is what will make anyone open the book in the first place, it’s clear that they are damned important. Think of some great movie straplines:
Alien: In space, no-one can hear you scream.
The Truman Show: On the air. Unaware.
The Social Network: You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies.
They give you a tremendous idea of what the film is like in one-line. How cool is that?
However, when a strapline is for your own book – something you’ve been so close to that you can’t see the woods for the trees – I find them almost impossible to do.
There is a school of thought which says: Do them early. And, on many levels, this makes a lot of sense. If you have a strapline before you start writing then you have a number of advantages:
- You sound like you know what you’re doing. When anyone asks you about the book you are writing, you can summarise it in a sentence that will attract the reader and pique their interest. You look like you’ve thought about it and not just gone barging blindly in, typing out words no-one will ever read.
- You can improve it based on feedback from others. Every time you tell someone, it is an opportunity for feedback. They don’t have to read your book, maybe won’t want to, but they’ll give you some feedback based on the strapline alone – even unconscious, body-language, ambiguous feedback. Right there, you have some information. Did they seem impressed or uninterested? If one person seems cool on it, you can perhaps ignore it, but if several people do..?
- You can validate your book before you write it! If you find it hard to write a strapline, or the one you come up with doesn’t sound interesting or engaging – what does that say about your book? Try and make it as exciting as you can and then see what you would need to change in your book to make the plot fit. You’re testing out your book at almost no cost – as opposed to investing months of your time only to find, at the end, that your book won’t sell.
So, trying to come up with a strapline early, seems utterly sensible. So why don’t I do it?
Well, I cleave to the “movie-making” model of writing. We all know that movies aren’t made in the order you watch them. They shoot scenes out of order, do multiple takes, and add special effects in post-production. All of this raw footage has to be watched, sorted, re-ordered and edited down into a rough-cut before anyone would watch it and be able to give a reasonable opinion on it.
And this is how I write. My first draft is the raw footage: w-a-a-a-a-y too long, disjointed, some scenes out of order, some scenes with duplicate versions from different characters viewpoints which don’t marry up. I wouldn’t dream of showing it to anyone as it wouldn’t make any sense at all. It is only with my second draft that it becomes a rough-cut novel that someone could read, understand and pass any sort of comment on.
And it is only once I have reached this point – perhaps four months into the writing process – that I genuinely believe I actually have a finishable book on my hands! The idea of trying to come up with strapline before then seems wrong. Wasteful even.
And, to cleave to the movie-making model further (and, perhaps, a bit too closely for comfort) the strapline for a movie isn’t created until the end either. And it’s not even done by the film studio, or producer, or director or anyone from the movie’s creative team. They hand it to copywriters and admen. People who do this sort of thing for a living. So, if it’s good for enough or the movies…
But, I hear you cry, you’ve skipped a key bit! In order to get funding and the green light to make the movie in the first place they have to pitch it. Sell it to the moneymen. That’s where the strapline comes in because that’s its purpose. Gotcha!
Well, not quite. Yes, a movie has to be pitched and approved in order to get made, but that’s not the strapline. The strapline is meant for the audience. The pitch isn’t. So, for example, the pitch for the film Chicken Run was “A cartoon version of The Great Escape with chickens”; the strapline is “Escape, or die frying”. Not the same thing. The strapline says what the movie/book is like – the tone; the pitch says what it is about – the plot and/or genre.
So, what about my strapline? Well, for my latest book – The Good, The Bad & The Rugby – it is:
Getting to the truth. By trial… and eror error.
Which hopefully gets across the message that justice is delivered, albeit with mistakes made, and all done humorously
So, is my way the best way? Who knows. It does involve a gamble that writing the book without a strapline will pay off; and that I will somehow be able to come up with a pithy or funny strapline when the time comes. But, as one of the characters in my book, says: trust the soup.
Thanks Mark for a wonderful guest post! It’s amazing how straplines stick in your head isn’t it? They’re moving more and more in to the book world!
Who Is Mark Farrer?
Mark was born in Liverpool, studied Computer Science at Hull University, then had a successful career in IT management in London and the South-East for twenty years before moving to Edinburgh in 2001. He continued working in IT until 2015 when he decided to retire from the rat race and focus on becoming a writer. He now spends half his time writing and the other half worrying why he is not yet making money from writing.
The Good, The Bad & The Rugby is Mark’s third comic novel featuring a morally righteous loner called Cullen. He also has a perma-free novella on Amazon, called Dirty Barry, which tells how Cullen and Big Paul first met. He is currently at work on a second novella, called Bronchial Billy.
Mark has three children, one at University, one on a gap year in Ghana, and one still at High School. He lives with his partner Claire, a photographer, near West Linton, in the Scottish Borders.
He likes: his Mini Cooper, songwriting, playing piano, vanilla panna cotta, The Beatles, woodburning stoves, wittertainment, Bill Bailey, #sadmanonatrain, fruit gums, Carl Hiaasen, The Wire, spicy food, Van Gogh, Lindsey Buckingham, oaked chardonnay, House MD, long walks, cinema, reading in bed, florentines, Only Connect, board games, Otis Lee Crenshaw, Budweiser, GBBO, India, cheese, David Armand’s mimes, bookshops, Scandi Noir, Diet Coke, The Economist, Blackadder, good sausages, Dickens, Helena Bonham-Carter (secret crush), the Times crossword, the song mmmbop, and pies.
He dislikes: ITV, pinot grigio, tattoos, ballet, ready meals, rap, religion, clutter, artificial raspberry flavouring, marmite, jazz, under-powered showers, people who don’t look after their stuff, opera, sprouts, and waste.
And mashed potato.
He really doesn’t like mashed potato.
You can pick up Mark’s novella Dirty Barry for free by clicking on the link.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mark-Farrer/e/B074S4XMGL/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1