Promoting your brand? How Far Would You Go? | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Promoting your brand? How Far Would You Go?

"For me, jail was like spending seven years in a writer's studio...Most guys in prison complain that time drags by. But there weren't enough hours in the day for me." --- Dewitt Gilmore
____________________________________________________________
Dewitt Gilmore, 41, stepped onto an idling bus waiting to make the trip from Columbus Circle in Manhattan to the Groveland Correctional Facility in Sonyea, N.Y.
Mr. Gilmore, a writer who goes by the pen name Relentless Aaron, was there to sell books. "I started here selling my books out of my knapsack, and now I have a six-figure deal with St. Martin's Press." After several passengers handed him money for books, Mr. Gilmore pulled a credit card swipe machine out of his jacket and added with a grin, "And the brother also accepts all major credit cards."

Mr. Gilmore first began showing up on the prison buses two years ago, arriving by subway, alone and unknown. Now he arrives announced by the bold graphics on his sport utility vehicle — "Relentless Aaron, Father of Urban Fiction" — flanked by two female assistants carrying piles of product: his self-published paperbacks, selling for $10 apiece.

"Nothing could match solitary for writing," he said. "You couldn't use pens in there, so some of the guards who respected my discipline and my writing would pass me pencils." Eventually he could knock off a book in two weeks, he said. In time, Mr. Gilmore said, he began sharing his written stories with inmates, and with guards who would borrow them and show friends on the outside.

"It's true, there are too many distractions on the outside," he said. "Sometimes I have to lock myself in a hotel room with no phone or TV. Sometimes I just get in my truck and drive to a deserted place for a while. But I'll never have it as good as prison again. For writing, anyway."

http://aolsvc.news.aol.com/special4/article.adp?id=20060214071109990001

Previous Comments

ID
104915
Comment

I think another thing that is important to mention about Relentless Aaron's getting a six figure book deal from St. Martins is that this is the same publisher that has the Jackie Collins line of books. Definitely not a small feat that he was noticed by them. Just shows you never know who will be exposed to your work. Excellent story.

Author
c a webb
Date
2006-02-18T10:40:39-06:00
ID
104916
Comment

C.A., please edit this story down. You cannot post an entire story on a Web site without being in violation of copyright (or without explicit permission). Please edit it down to about one-quarter of the full story to be on the safe side. That's considered "fair use." Thanks, Donna

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-02-18T14:18:15-06:00
ID
104917
Comment

Donna, Will do. Thanks.

Author
c a webb
Date
2006-02-18T14:22:28-06:00
ID
104918
Comment

Thanks, C.A. Sorry I forgot to tell you that sooner. ;-)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-02-18T14:25:00-06:00
ID
104919
Comment

Great news! Talked to Brandon Massey (a horror writer out of Atlanta, GA) and he will be coming back to Jackson, MS this summer to promote his new book. Massey is making waves in the south as one of the few black horror writers that are getting noticed by major publishing house. After selling thousands of copies of his self-published novel Thunderland, he was noticed and signed by Kensington. Since then he has released the bestselling vampire thriller Dark Corner and his more seductive mystery Within the Shadows. This summer he will be promoting his fourth book. Congrats to Brandon for creating a brand that is breaking through barriers!

Author
c a webb
Date
2006-02-21T23:34:44-06:00
ID
104920
Comment

This is great news. He has a hell of a web site, too (the FAQ section had me in stitches, and even though I write nonfiction, I could relate to every darned bit of it--including people raising an eyebrow when you're 14 and say "I'm going to be a writer"). You know, one thing I'd love to do is come up with some kind of list of working Jackson-area writers under 40. I know we exist, but the only names I've got in my head at this particular nanosecond are Tom Head and C.A. Webb. Surely there are more. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-02-22T00:21:06-06:00
ID
104921
Comment

Tom, I am still getting the hang of this blogging thing. How did you get Brandon's website under "web site"? It's the little things with me that make like so much easier. Let me know!

Author
c a webb
Date
2006-02-22T07:12:36-06:00
ID
104922
Comment

Tom, Have you heard of the spoken word poet Gary MEx Glazner? He is the author of the book HOW TO MAKE A LIVING AS A POET. We are going to be interviewing him next week about the powerful brand he has built for himself. One thing that I thought was interesting about him was how he became a "Poet in Residence" for a hotel, selling his poetry to the hotel so they could put it on the pillows of each room. Powerful book written by a powerful man. Can't wait to share the information with you and the other bloggers.

Author
c a webb
Date
2006-02-23T00:26:15-06:00
ID
104923
Comment

TALK ABOUT A BRAND GONE BAD. James Frey's book deal explodes into a million little pieces. Reuters is reporting that James Frey has been dropped by his publisher Riverhead Books, an imprint of Penguin Books. U.S. author James Frey, who admitted last month he made up much of his best-selling memoir "A Million Little Pieces," has been dropped by his publisher, Riverhead Books, Frey's representative said Thursday. The Los Angeles Times reported last month that Warner Brothers was reconsidering plans to make a movie version of "A Million Little Pieces." Despite the controversy Frey's sales remain strong. "A Million Little Pieces" was in the No. 2 spot on The New York Times' latest paperback non-fiction bestseller list, just behind Elie Wiesel's "Night," which is Winfrey's latest Book Club recommendation. "My Friend Leonard" was in fifth place on the hardcover non-fiction list. READ THE ARTICLE: http://articles.news.aol.com/entertainment/article.adp?id=20060223121309990045&ncid=NWS00010000000001

Author
c a webb
Date
2006-02-23T16:12:13-06:00
ID
104924
Comment

You know, I hate this kind of things. The James Freys of the world make it so much harder for the rest of us. I hope that it will make us as authors more accountable for what we put out to the public.

Author
c a webb
Date
2006-02-23T16:18:26-06:00
ID
104925
Comment

Talk about feuding brands! Donald Trump and Martha Stewart are still going after each other about "The Apprentice". It's a tragic case of He said, She said with both talking frankly about what they thing of each other. I thought this was going to be a one day story, but I guess I was wrong. The drama contniues today: http://www.cnn.com/2006/SHOWBIZ/TV/02/23/tv.trump.ap/index.html

Author
c a webb
Date
2006-02-23T16:32:03-06:00
ID
104926
Comment

dude is still good, the exaggerations or lies whetever they are are not significant it is just a book. Others did the same thing just no smokinggun.com to make a big deal out of it. Duped are those who put too much stock into what they read and not enough into what they see... or don't see. The importance of being ernest.. the first semi-non fiction memoir.

Author
*SuperStar*
Date
2006-02-23T16:47:31-06:00
ID
104927
Comment

Alright. Here's where I piss people off. I have to weigh in on this because I've been fighting with my friends about it for months and it delights me to debate. I don't care that James Frey lied. I thought he sucked before that. His style is cumbersome and too repetitive. I found myself skipping sections in the book. There is no underlying development that makes the reader care for his overly macho and egocentric character. I can't quite figure out why he likes that crack whore...because she seems to be availed of no personality traits minus NEED (as most women in the book). There is no true learning throughout the story other than the man discovering he knows everything already. He wrote the book as fiction, with the market the way it is, they published it as a memoir. I am not really sure his publisher didn't push him into that. Same one that dropped him. Basically, they pushed him to print a memoir because, personally, his style and content wasn't great for a novel...and then they drop him when it blows up in their face. The whole thing speaks more to the politics of publishing books and marketing than anything else. For all we know, half the memoirs written before the age of the internet were faked. Hell, I bet before blogging and the free press at least as many politicians were dirty as well. ;)

Author
Lori G
Date
2006-02-23T16:58:01-06:00
ID
104928
Comment

Superstar, I think the reason people put so much stock into what they read in this situation is because they were told it was true. We as readers shouldn't have to fact check books that are marketed as true. And I agree with Ali. I don't know that his publisher doesn't share some of the blame. But it is still so tragic for those who try to convey truth to others. Now they are more likely to be crutinized than appreciated.

Author
c a webb
Date
2006-02-23T17:08:55-06:00
ID
104929
Comment

Superstar, I think the reason people put so much stock into what they read in this situation is because they were told it was true. We as readers shouldn't have to fact check books that are marketed as true. And I agree with Ali. I don't know that his publisher doesn't share some of the blame. But it is still so tragic for those who try to convey truth to others. Now they are more likely to be crutinized than appreciated.

Author
c a webb
Date
2006-02-23T17:09:12-06:00
ID
104930
Comment

Here's where I piss people off. How so i agree slow story, no depth, in real life and on larry king he was a wussy. My scrawny butt could walee on him and give him another hole in his lip. your conspiracy theory is on line with my thoughts i just have to finish it because i'm on page 330 and need to wrap it up so i can get to better things. hopefully.

Author
*SuperStar*
Date
2006-02-23T17:17:14-06:00

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