Copyright 1999 W. Bruce Cameron
Okay, yes, the publication schedule of the Cameron Column is, (to use a technical term,) completely screwed up. Our official excuse is that "the dog ate our e-mail." Unofficially, we were distracted because we are redesigning the Cameron Column web site. Watch for all-new material to be posted in March!
Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I get GREAT ideas. (My wife, when I awaken her, usually disagrees with my enthusiastic assessments, and rudely rejects the ones which require her immediate participation.) This happened to me just last week, and I was so excited to act on my inspiration, I bounded out of bed well before noon to get started.
Here's what occurred to me: Next year is the start of a whole new millennium! And I've been looking for a topic for a book that I could sell for big bucks--what could be better than something like, "The New Millennium and What You Can Do to Prevent It?" This could be really big, you know. I fired off a proposal to the publisher who recognizes the priceless value of my work and besides is my sister's best friend and feels pretty much obligated, offering to write a book about this hot topic before it catches the public eye.
Well, this morning I heard back from her. After the usual pleasantries in which she reminded me I promised I would only contact her once a month, she said that although there were already a lot of books on the millennium (oh yeah, right) she would be interested in a manuscript of 40,000 to 50,000 words.
This is pretty exciting! The only other time she responded positively was when I suggested "Most Revealing Moments in the Lives of past Presidents Bush, Carter, and Ford." (It would have made a great book, only none of those jerks would call me back.)
So here goes, my newest bestseller, written before your very eyes:
The New Millennium And What You Can Do to Prevent It, by W. Bruce Cameron.
"On or before January 1, 2000, the New Millennium will be here. I believe this could cause the Year 2000 problem, or what I call, 'Y2K.'"
Okay, check the word count. Hmm, only 26 words so far--39,974 to go. Though off to a great start, I feel myself starting to falter a bit. Then I have an inspiration!
"Is the Y2K problem a danger to society? To quote legal experts, it depends on what your definition of 'is' is."
Sheesh, I had no idea this was going to be so hard. Who ever heard of a book of 40,000 words--are there even that many in the whole English language? I wonder if maybe we could add some pictures or something.
Okay. A college professor once told me that to sound wise, all you have to do is take an old cliche and re-word it. So: "You can lead a horse to water, but in the New Millennium, he probably won't drink." Hey, that'll get people fired up! Probably something THIS controversial should go on the back cover, maybe right above the text, "W. Bruce Cameron's Pulitzer Prize-Winning Book on the Problem That No One Thought About Before."
Pretty good for a day's work, but I'm just getting started. Now that I have everyone's anxiety at a fever pitch over thirsty horses, it's time to deliver some good news. "But it's not all doom and gloom. In fact, if you read this book, you will discover how to make millions off of the New Millennium!" Hey, will that sell books, or what? Hit the word count and see how much more we have to go, and...
Well, I'm running out of ideas and I still need to add 39,910 words. Time to do a little padding. I'll take the above sentence and flesh it out a little.
"But, it's not all, completely and totally, doom, gloom, despair, a loss of hope characterized by a feeling of despondency, a foreshadowing, a time of evening marked by a loss of light. In fact, if you, or your wife, or children, or father or mother, or your aunt or uncle or cousin or second cousin, read this book, you will discover how to make millions or maybe even more than that, off of the New Millennium!"
Now that's more like it! I like adding all the family members--it boosts appeal. Normally a book like this would attract only academics. I picture my appearance on Oprah:
(Audience roars with approval.)
At this point, I'm too excited to keep working on the book, and I sit down with the newspaper to read the Porsche advertisements.
I'll keep you posted on this mega-bestseller in the making--as my readers, you'll qualify for a ten-percent discount.
Copyright W. Bruce Cameron 1999
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