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Jassy Mackenzie

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Random Violins?

A friend sent me a link to a very funny article that Jeremy Clarkson wrote in the UK Sunday Times. It’s called “I dare you to visit Johannesburg, the city for softies”, and the tagline reads “It’s the least frightening place on earth, yet everyone speaks of how many times they’ve been killed that day.”

Well, having this upbeat piece of writing hit the high streets a year before the Fifa 2010 World Cup is great news for the South African tourism industry, because Clarkson describes the food, the weather, the game farms and the exchange rate in glowing terms. But it’s terrible news for crime fiction writers, because if any of these UK visitors happen to glance at my book while out shopping, they simply won’t believe the premise could be plausible.

“Random Violence?” they’ll say. “A woman murdered on a dark winter’s night outside her gate? Hang on a minute, Edith dear, didn’t Clarkson’s column say crime in Johannesburg was all a load of bollocks? Yes, look, I brought the cutting with me, and he did. Read here. And here – he also said the weather’s lovely, so that Mackenzie girl didn’t get her facts straight about the winter part either. Well, I’m not wasting a tenner on that rubbish. Let’s buy a copy of the AA road atlas and find out where this tourist attraction called Hillbrow is.”

So what I’ve decided to do is to ask the publisher if they would consider reprinting an entirely new version of the book in time for 2010. I’d like to keep a similar title for the purposes of continuity, although the plot will have to change completely. I’ve come up with four ideas below and I’d love some feedback on which, if any, is likely to catch on the quickest. Please let me know – and I’ll gladly accept alternative suggestions, too.

1. Random Violins – a literary work about an orphan who travels the world playing string instruments whenever the mood takes him.

2. Rand in Violence – a short economic analysis of our currency.

3. Randy Violet – an erotic novel featuring a highly-sexed heroine with a silly name.

4. Brandied Vineleaves – a cookery book specialising in alcoholic Greek recipes.

 

Recent comments:

  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    March 4th, 2009 @00:15 #
     
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    Right, Jassy, forget anything literary. Random Violins will get a cover shout from JMC, receive rave reviews and be shortlisted for a prize, but you'll never sell more than 73 copies. The economy-rand thing might get a few takers, but definitely go for 3 or 4. Porn would actually sell (although only over the internet). But the winner is: the cookbook. Cookbooks outsell all other books in SA at a truly silly rate. I will of course require a cut for my sage advice.

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  • <a href="http://alexsmith.book.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Alex Smith</a>
    Alex Smith
    March 4th, 2009 @00:25 #
     
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    Ballerines Rocket Dog Randy violet -- Randy Violet, marketed with a range of all-purple lingerie and these Ballerines Rocket Dog Randy violets:
    http://www.acheter-moins-cher.com/asp/produit100_rwt_p_652358.htm

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    March 4th, 2009 @01:47 #
     
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    Because I have loads of time to spare, I slapped all those titles into the Lulu Titlescorer.

    http://www.lulu.com/titlescorer/index.php

    The results are as follows: Your original title and three of the others had a 41.4% chance of "being a bestselling title". Your best bet is "Rand in Violence", which scored a whopping 63.7%.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    March 4th, 2009 @08:56 #
     
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    Alex and Richard, your gistology amazes me. I rather fancy those shoes, Alex...they're in my colour!

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  • <a href="http://www.moxyland.com" rel="nofollow">Lauren Beukes</a>
    Lauren Beukes
    March 4th, 2009 @09:13 #
     
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    Mmmm, alcoholic greek recipes...

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  • <a href="http://www.modjajibooks.co.za" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    Colleen
    March 4th, 2009 @09:20 #
     
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    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/jeremy_clarkson/article5821586.ece
    link to the article about joburg as a place for softies.

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  • <a href="http://www.jassymackenzie.com" rel="nofollow">Jassy</a>
    Jassy
    March 4th, 2009 @09:31 #
     
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    Wow, Alex - those shoes can only be described as "porno". Looks like the recipe book is the favourite so far although the title will need reworking to give it a 50-50 chance at least, especially if Helen is going to insist on a cut of the royalties for her sage advice. Anyone else used that Titlescorer?

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    March 4th, 2009 @10:18 #
     
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    Of course, Jassy.

    My book is currently ranked 14th in the "psychological novels" category (for 2008) on Bol.com, the leading Dutch online bookseller. (http://is.gd/lImG)

    Six Fang Marks and a Tetanus Shot (14.6%) is proudly rubbing shoulders with Anna Karenina (45.6%) and Bridge of Sighs (63.7%) - a lightweight among the heavies.

    "Anna Fang Gets a Tetanus Shot" = 14.6%. Damn.

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  • <a href="http://sarahlotz.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sarah Lotz</a>
    Sarah Lotz
    March 4th, 2009 @12:27 #
     
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    Sod off, Richard. Now I'll have to spend all day playing on titlescorer. Surprisingly, Pompidou Posse did much better than Pompidou Pussy.
    Random Vampires? Which is what the Twilight series should have been called. Us brits love vampire fiction, Jassy.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    March 4th, 2009 @13:43 #
     
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    I'd Apologise, Sarah, But I Don't Know How

    14.6% bestselling potential. Again. Damn.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    March 4th, 2009 @14:48 #
     
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    Even Helen The Wuss would buy a book called Random Vampires.

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  • <a href="http://www.helenbrain.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen Brain</a>
    Helen Brain
    March 5th, 2009 @15:46 #
     
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    I'd go with "Ran Down Violence" a brave memoir by Helfa Letha, the heroic woman who single handedly brought the taxi industry into submission by ramming law breaking taxis off the road in her Hummer.
    Single handedly because she was of course talking on her cellphone while she drove.
    The porn version will be called "Rough Ride with Rhoda Rage."

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    March 6th, 2009 @00:49 #
     
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    Yay, at last, a way for Hummers to be useful. ROFL.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    March 12th, 2009 @10:58 #
     
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    Spam, spam, luverly spam...

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  • ar
    ar
    March 12th, 2009 @12:59 #
     
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    That thnax dear spam is especially delicious in this particular thread. Yum.

    (I was going to say, i luv u allz and i luv ur site, but it would have looked like spam. I do though. Not look like spam, I mean, but luv u allz. See, this is why I never comment)

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