This is an early draft of a sales pitch. Please correct and edit before release. Under no circumstances should this be allowed to see the light of day in its current state.
Dear readers, writers, book industry people,
It’s become a cliché to claim there’s a veritable Pacific Ocean of crapola out there in the indie book world. But that cliché is not even a good analogy, really, so we’re going to turn it on its head. No, instead of an ocean, what we see is a vast floating island of ugly unbiodegradable plastic that grows vaster and uglier by the day. It’s at least as ugly as the word “unbiodegradable”. And we want to clean it up. Now, is there anything living in the ocean we can all get behind? Excluding those mean, club-wielding Canadians, that is?
Wait, club-wielding Canadians are aquatic? Seals, of course!
With their large innocent eyes, playful natures and smooth, round torsos, pretty much everyone adores
Canadians seals. Since we all approve of seals, it makes sense you will want to pay me to stamp your book with the “seal” of “approval” (clever, huh?). And since the French for seal is “phoque”, our company’s name almost writes itself: Phoque It. Geddit? It’s almost too perfect. Don’t know about you, but I’m giddy already.
So, here is my proposal. I have formed a collective. Right now it’s just me, admittedly, but my multiple personalities do actually qualify me in this
lowdown masquerade exciting new venture. Anyway, I am going to fleece help all of you. And here’s how. Pretty much everyone agrees that indie books are somewhat quality-challenged, yeah? Quite honestly, I’ve seen better-written grocery lists than some of these so-called ebooks. Somewhere there’s a monkey sitting at a typewriter with more talent in one knuckle of its left pinkie finger than most of these losers. But what if we had a way to guarantee quality? You then get happy readers, of course. Who suddenly stop wanting to douse indies in grain alcohol and flambé them on a barbecue while cursing in an ancient Maori dialect start to drop their criticisms of indie authors. And who then buy more books written by said indies. After which, the collective self esteem index rises. Thus ensuring everyone wins. It’s the mother of all positive feedback loops. And with absolutely no more flambéing.
Look, I’ll cut to the chase: I have now patented a top secret algorithm that can objectively evaluate the quality of any book. It took the best part of two years and the
illegal abduction expert help of a number of prominent scientists from MIT to create this unique software, but now you can benefit from its 100% accuracy. Not only is it able to assess grammatical accuracy, it can also rate such previously unquantifiable aspects of the writer’s craft as narrative arc, plot holes, the overuse of exposition, even a precarious imbalance of tell over show.
Once evaluated objectively by the program, our panel of industry experts will then pore over your work in order to provide that human touch. If
I they decree it to be a reasonable standard, they will issue the Bronze Phoque to wear with pride on your book cover, and you will fork over pay the collective the incredibly low price of $250.
The Silver Phoque is reserved for slightly more elevated works, in which the dialogue is perhaps a little tighter, the language more tonally consistent, and we still only charge the almost painfully low rate of $350. Painful for us, I must emphasize.
You, on the other hand, will feel an almost pleasurable sensation in your nether regions when you cheerfully part with such a paltry sum.
Finally, the Gold Phoque will demonstrate to everyone the bewitching, beguiling brilliance of your book, will suffuse it with—yes—golden lambent light and the mellifluous tones of otherworldly choirs (as well as the large Gold Phoque so prominently displayed on your book’s cover for the whole world to admire), all for the astonishingly
, damn-near embarrassingly low price of $500.
We even tested our amazing system on a bona fide classic, with somewhat surprising results. Awarding To Kill a Mockingbird a Bronze Phoque, the software had this to say: “A bit weighty for a YA novel. This, alongside some disturbing displays of racism, frankly, prevents this book from achieving a higher rating from our literat-o-meter. We would encourage the author to find less offensive subject matter in light of the young age and impressionability of the novel’s protagonist”. It also suggested Shakespeare go back and rewrite his stuff in “a language we can all understand.” Okay, so there may be a few minor glitches and bugs to be worked out, but I can assure you of this: your book will be in expert hands. What can possibly go wrong?
This is the next step in our adventure together, my avid indie fleet. We are shedding gatekeepers like a squid sheds ink. Today we have set sail toward an unknown land. There may well be hungry sharks and heavy storms along the way. Pirates, even. But we are going to kill with righteous fury that ugly island of plastic, we’re going to remake our ocean voyage in our image, and we’re going to do it with seals, by imbuing them with approval, by showing we care only for quality and not stupid money, which you can’t take with you anyway. What are a few pennies when placed beside immortality, after all? I’ll answer that for you. Nothing, is what they are.
Which reminds me: here’s my last word, since you now know my word is good. In order to further cement your trust, we will demonstrate our exemplary self-marketing competence by providing one of the industry’s more memorable slogans:
“Here at Phoque It, You Give Us Money, Then We Give A Phoque.”
Thank you for your time.
* * * * *