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message 1: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15677 comments There are obscure countries that you rarely, if at all, hear about them.
And then, all of a sudden something happens that brings such certain country to the headlines around the globe. If you happen to have a story pertaining this very locale or theme you can sometimes ride the tide.
I remember when the uprising commenced and consequently the president was ousted, Ukraine ascended to the top news lines and we frantically urged our editor to edit faster to have the first book out sooner, as long as Ukraine was 'hot'. We were a little late with that, but I do believe that if you happen to offer something that resonates with immediate public interest, you may benefit from a natural media backwind.
Like today, whatever's written about Brexit (and I mean no offense whatsoever to friends who treat this entire event with regret and despair) and is immediately available might gain a great deal of exposure just because the issue is red hot.
Do you think media buzzzzz can spread onto fictional works? Shall someone be ready with books featuring Trump/Clinton like presidents towards November? -:)

message 2: by M.L. (last edited Jul 08, 2016 09:19AM) (new)

M.L. Speaking of topical interests - I think I'll buy this one! Yuge! 30 Years of Doonesbury on Trump by G. B. Trudeau
by G. B. Trudeau Trudeau has been around a long time.

message 3: by Mike (new)

Mike | 181 comments Interesting question. I think it in part depends on what you're trying to write. If it's a news or magazine article, there's obviously a benefit in being timely. If you were covering the Maidan protests in Ukraine, for example, and your objective was simply to convey to readers what was going on, or to offer anecdotes about normal people who were participating, that would be something you would want to publish as soon as possible. Even in book form. Hunter S Thompson wrote a series of magazine articles about the run-up to the 1972 US presidential election that he turned into a great book. It was a political event that had a definitive beginning and end.

Then again, I think about the articles, blog posts and so on that are written every day- it's possible that I read some of them, and then I often forget them. A certain country or topic, as you say, can become 'hot', but I think the benefit or 'bump' that an author would receive from that thing's trendiness would have to be very temporary. In Ukraine, for instance, the story of what's happening now is just as complex as it was 2 and a half years ago, but it seems to have fallen out of the global news cycle. Now (at least here in the US) it's ISIS, Trump, Brexit, etc. Tomorrow (metaphorically speaking) it will be something else. People have short memories.

If I'm planning to write a novel, does it make sense to chase what's 'hot', in the hopes that my book would garner more attention? I would say no. I've never published a book, but it sounds to me like it's a time-consuming process. I have tried to write one, and I know from experience that it can take years. By the time you finish it, chances are that whatever you're writing about has faded from public consciousness.

Furthermore, I'd say there's a good chance that your perspective on that thing will have changed as well. There's often great benefit in observing something over a long period of time. What if I'd written a book about the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, when it was 'hot'? Well, maybe if I were embedded with the soldiers and writing about the reality of their lives, that would be one thing- that's timeless. But if I were trying to offer a broader view of the war? Chances are that whatever I'd written at that time would now seem hopelessly outdated and lacking in context. And what are the chances that your book is going to be good, if you're rushing it out to meet the demands of the market?

So what's the answer? Personally, I would think that you would want to find something universal in whatever you're writing- something that reaches across geography and time, and remains relevant to people, while at the same time engaging with the specifics of your topic.

message 4: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15677 comments M.L. wrote: "Speaking of topical interests - I think I'll buy this one!Yuge! 30 Years of Doonesbury on Trump by G. B. Trudeau
by G. B. Trudeau Trudeau has been around a long time."

I suspect you ain't among Donald's most passionate supporters, M.L. -:)

message 5: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15677 comments Mike wrote: "So what's the answer? Personally, I would think that you would want to find something universal in whatever you're writing- something that reaches across geography and time, and remains relevant to people, while at the same time engaging with the specifics of your topic..."

Thanks for a sound analysis. For many authors discoverability is one of the major problems. So if you write something about say Mauritius, you better have everything's handy when half of the world googles that precise country. I remember, we (with a co-author) were biting our nails, when 'Ukraine' was a most popular word in the world for a short span and our editor was taking time with finishing his part -:)
Taking into account that media attention is usually not that long, it's kinda hard to aim and hit that precise moment, but there are writers that can write more than a few k words a day and deliver 'something' tailor made for the occassion.
Re last Maidan specifically - my impression was that there was a rather massive leak of a sloppy 'fast-food' lit onto Amazon, just to fill the English language informational void at the time...

message 6: by Mike (last edited Jul 08, 2016 12:38PM) (new)

Mike | 181 comments Yeah, I definitely agree. I would like to say that ideally my anonymity wouldn't stop me from writing about Mauritius, if that were what I really wanted to do, and had the time and resources to do it. But I would either a) write it and then put it aside for sometime in the future, after I'd written something more marketable, or b), try to come up with some clever semantical justification for it.

I don't know about the fast-food lit, but I did get the sense that there was a lot of misinformation and jumping to conclusions around the time of Maidan. Included in that was a far-left western viewpoint (= that the whole thing was a coup organized by the CIA) that happened to intersect with Kremlin propaganda. I did read a short book by Andrey Kurkov called "Ukraine Diaries", which I thought was good. It was not a geopolitical overview, just one reasonably intelligent guy's view of what was happening. But again, I think it only reached readers with a sustained interest in Ukraine- by the time the book came out, was translated into English, and appeared in our bookstores, it was 2015.

message 7: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15677 comments Mike wrote: "misinformation and jumping to conclusions around the time of Maidan. Included in that was a far-left western viewpoint (= that the whole thing was a coup organized by the CIA) that happened to intersect with Kremlin propaganda...."

In my own opinion - CIA's involvement in the coup is largely exaggerated and cleverly extrapolated by Russian propaganda. Not that I think CIA is that noble to stay away from organizing coups, but it just doesn't look like their involvement came until late into the uprising. Was actions of Praviy sector, associated to a degree with CIA, decisive? Maybe, but then again the preceding dynamics were such that the escalation became inevitable.
If anything, all along it felt that Russia was pulling the strings behind the entire chain of events.
The atmosphere before ousting of Yanukovich became so depressing, anything could've ignited the crowds. And then - the announcement that no association agreement would be signed with EU, a week before it should have. I mean signing was the official policy of Yanukovich. In my opinion politics should be different, at least for a pretense, from a card hustle, even if Putin offers you or your country (?) many billions... Not that Ukrainians attributed that much weight to an association agreement. For most it just meant that Ukraine would have to play under more civilized rules and Yanukovich 'gang culture' would change

However, it's pathetic to see how many Ukrainians view themselves as pawns in a grand geopolitical confrontation between the US and Russia... Kinda comfortable to abstain from grand decisions and run every five minutes to an American embassy for advice...

Basing my own writing on real histroical events, even if I wanted, I couldn't have avoided referencing both Maidans, incl. Orange revolution in my Oligarch series -:)

message 8: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11461 comments Interestingly, this morning I saw an interview on TV with Major General Julian Thompson, and his interpretation on Ukraine was that the biggest external incitement, apart from Russia, cam from the EU, and in his opinion, irresponsible because while they stirred things up, they had no intention whatsoever of taking any responsibility for their actions. However, I am reasonably satisfied that the CIA was not beyond stirring the pot either. It is just a pity that Yankovich was such a clod.

message 9: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15677 comments EU was unbelievably short-sighted with how they treated the entire association process. Not many mention it, but how EU envoys - Cox & Kwasnewski, liaisoning with Yanukovich regularly and specifically tasked for that mission, missed the eventuality of a sharp turn-about? How outrageously amaturish the entire process was handled by EU, when the supposed deadlines for meeting the criteria were postponed time after time and everybody got the feeling that they are not deadlines or a mandatory criteria even?
Maybe EU was inciting (I personally didn't notice that much) and more parties were involved, but primarily the uprising rested upon a real and existing deep dissatisfaction of vast and socially active masses within Ukraine. Once it occured many poured oil to 'rock the boat'.
The immediate outcome of ousting a despot and exposing all the pathetic gold (like a notrious golden bread- loaf) and luxurious kitsch in his residence may be not bad, but the long-term hopes of the people for a better life are still frustrated. Yeah, there are some positive moments, but they are too little to count for a real change, especially when counterposed with the melted down economy and local currency.
And EU so far didn't deliver on what was expected. Yeah, they signed an economic part of the association agreement after Yanukovich was ousted, but as yet it's not fully ratified by EU and the entire 'association' prospect may be just a 'fake dream' EU is selling to Ukraine... For most of EU members, pacified Russia is much more important than prosperous Ukraine.
In my opinion, Ukraine and any of her leaders have to embrace the reality, where, except for Russia, it doesn't interest anyone and if it does, it's only in the context of weakening Russia. People that regularly deal with Ukraine are 2-3-d tire of State Department and of EU. Budapest memorandum, where the US and UK undertook to protect Ukraine's integrety in exchange for waiving its nuclear arsenal, turned out as a flop and they should count primarily on themselves and not on anyone else....

message 10: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15677 comments Do actualities inspire your fiction or non-?

message 11: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11461 comments Maybe extrapolations of actualities, in my case.

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