I'm sure most of you have seen these commercials for Twix candy bars where the character commits a faux pas, time screeches to a halt, and (after gobbling up a Twix bar, of course) the character comes up with the perfect lie to excuse their behavior. My daughter made me watch the bookstore edition of the commercial so I could tell her if there really was a book like that on the market (plenty) and if I thought all guys read is scoring with chicks how-tos (not the ones I know.)
I think authors should have commercials like this to promote our books and to help readers out when they're having a moment. No, really. Imagine the following:
Scenario #1: Your boss calls you into his office and tells you to shut the door.
You say: "What can I do for you, Mr. Suit?"
Mr. Suit picks up a pink slip from his desk, and says: "I have some bad news for you."
Time stops, and Tim Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Work Week, appears, hands you a copy of his book and whispers in your ear.
You say: "Well, let me tell you my good news first. I've figured out a way we can use telecommuting to boost productivity and cut our overhead by [three times your annual salary]. All it will take is for you to work a four-hour work week from home while I supervise from the office." You lift up the book. "It's all in here."
Mr. Suit tears up the pink slip, and says: "Did you say four hours? From home?"
Scenario #2: You're pulling up to a toll booth after a long drive on the expressway.
You reach for your wallet (which you suddenly realize you left at home) and all you in your pocket is fourteen cents and a half-used roll of Lifesavers. You say: "Uh, hi there."
The toll booth operator says: "Fifteen dollars and ninety-seven cents, please."
Time stops, and author Patricia Cornwell appears in the seat beside you, slaps you upside the head with her latest hardcover, and then whispers in your ear.
You say: "I'm so sorry, but I pulled over a few miles back to help a little old lady with a flat tire. Then I saw that she was only trying to distract me from noticing the two men she was traveling with, who were dragging this rolled-up carpet into the woods. I didn't realize she picked my pocket until after she tried to knock me unconscious with her umbrella." You show the toll booth operator the head wound Patricia gave you. "Thank God I was able to stumble away into my car and escape those fiends. I'm going to call the police as soon as I'm released from the E.R., I promise. Oh, here, in lieu of my toll." You smile wanly and hand over Patricia's hardcover. "This is a great book, and if those guys try to jump you, you can smack them in the head with it."
The toll booth operator takes the book and says: "I think it's time for my break."
Scenario #3: You've just arrived home from an exhausting day at work and your spouse is dressed in their best outfit and has a beautiful dinner waiting on the table.
You say: "What's all this for?"
Your spouse tearfully says: "Honey, did you forget? It's our anniversary."
Time stops, and PBW appears, hands you a bulging book tote, and whispers in your ear.
You say: "Sweetheart, I thought I told you, I was planning to take you out for dinner tonight." You hand over the bag. "Here, I got these for you. They're first editions of all your favorite books by that author who never has book signings. You know, the one with 483 pseudonyms? Oh, and I talked her into signing them for you."
Your spouse says: "Oh, darling, I love you so much. Hey, did you get a picture of her with your cell phone when she wasn't looking?"
Now it's your turn: what author would you like to show up when you're having a moment?