Today I am taking part in the blog tour for the interestingly named The Karma Farmers and I have a guest post from the author for you.
THE BLURB: Bradley Holmeson a thirty-something bookshop manager, is attempting to cure his existential dilemma with quantum physics. A reluctant philosopher embroiled in an occult experiment, he meets the violent, the obsessed and the dangerously misguided, armed only with his defensive sarcasm – all to win back the woman he loves.
MY ACCIDENTAL POSTMODERN MYSTERY
Years ago, before the current comedy boom, when the new-comedy scene really was ‘alternative’, I had a friend who decided to branch out by putting on his own show in a theatre. He called the show Sold Out. He thought it was an inspired title, referring to the fact that he had sold out his principles by performing in an established theatre; also referencing the fact that he was such a draw, the show would sell all the seats every night – that it would literally be a sell-out. The final piece of brilliance, so he thought, was to stick a ‘sold out’ label across the poster. The show’s title now worked on three levels of cleverness, but tragically no one turned up because they thought the show was sold out.
I mention this because it’s possible I have made a similar error of judgement. I know… One thing an author should probably never do while trying to promote their novel is confess to the potential mistakes they made during the writing process. Every social media expert will tell you how important it is to be positive. You need to be relentlessly positive about the product; and I am, but I still have a few niggling doubts that I’d like to share.
The fact is I wanted to write a novel that defied categorisation. I don’t know if I made this decision out of naivety, arrogance or idealism; but in my defence, I always assumed this was the ultimate aim: to write something so beautifully unique that it challenged all genre expectations. But now that I’m in the process of marketing the book I realise the problem I’ve created, because I find my novel The Karma Farmers almost impossible to talk about (without sounding vague or pretentious).
The shout line on the cover is ‘love, murder and quantum theory’ – but any reader looking for a traditional love story, or procedural crime story, or a non-fiction science book will be disappointed. In fact I’m so confused by my lack of obvious genre category I’ve been relying on my Amazon reviews for clues.
Here’s one: … I’d have difficulty categorising it: part thriller, part comedy, part thought experiment, but it made me smile, and it made me think, and it helped pass some difficult days in a good humour.
Another Amazon reader says, …this book is in a league of it’s own – well, because I think it actually is. It’s seamless crossovers between fact, fiction, dark comedy, philosophy and science are standalone… true gems in every scene… one to contemplate and savour…
Judging by this feedback, I know I’ve succeeded in creating something that’s uniquely difficult to categorise, but I’m no clearer about how to market the damn thing. So I researched book genres, and discovered that I might have written a Postmodern Mystery.
The web site that led to this revelation is called postmodernmystery.com. The content on the site is written by Ted Gioia, who brings an enviable passion and insight to the subject.
It was such a relief to discover that my book might after all belong to a particular club. In spite of my former conviction that I wanted The Karma Farmers to be literally like nothing else, I still need some means of describing it to potential readers.
I now feel reasonably confident in declaring The Karma Farmers to be a postmodern mystery; a fast-paced tale that sits somewhere between science fact and crime fiction; a story of love and murder, driven by a deconstruction of quantum theory. It sounds like a difficult read, but actually it’s very light and funny. But as Ted Gioia explains, although the postmodern mysteries are to some degree, the emblematic books of our time… they are not for the faint hearted…
So my advice to anyone writing a novel is this: be clear about what it is you’re creating. Try to objectify your novel as a commercial product even before you finish writing it. It sounds obvious, but the easier it is to describe, the easier it will be to sell.
THE KARMA FARMERS: a postmodern mystery; a dark, cinematic adventure of love, murder and quantum theory.
Pierre Hollins is a stand up comedian; he has written for TV and radio, and his cartoon strip GURU featured in the Fortean Times for many years. This is his first novel, published by Unbound.