Why Are Dead Birds Falling From The Sky? (Hint: It’s Totally My Fault)

Dude, What?

Dear Publishers Of Books:

You may have noticed that, around the world, birds are dropping out of the sky like frozen poop from an airplane bathroom. These dead birds are found all over the map — Arkansas, Kentucky, Georgia, Italy, Sweden — and many suspect these instances will increase as the coming Hellpocalypse of Cthulhu’s awakening draws closer. You will note, of course, that the first birds to go were several thousand (also calculated as “one fuck-ton”) of dead red-wing blackbirds in Arkansas, and days later, more blackbirds took a free-falling dirt-nap in Louisiana. Further, in Sweden, you will see that the birds that perished there were jackdaws — which sounds like a totally made-up bird, but I assure you, is no more made up than the titmouse, boobie, or nuthatch. Jackdaws are in fact a type of crow. Or they are at least “crow-flavored.”

Let’s switch gears for a moment.

You may have also noticed that I am a penmonkey (equal parts “game designer,” “screenwriter,” “alcoholic,” and “novelist”), and it is the latter identifier that should ring a bell, as my novel BLACKBIRDS is out on submission with you fine, friendly folks, and has been for a number of months, now. You may gaze upon a mock cover I did for this novel below:

Mock Up Cover

This novel deals with a cranky, profane psychic character, Miriam Black, who has a very curious way of solving murders before they happen. It is a book very much about death and how we deal with it. It is also funny and contains both sex and blood, and who doesn’t like that? Communists, that’s who.

I have, over the course of many moons, received a cascading series of glowing rejections from your wonderful industry. Editors love the book! They assure me that they would not change a thing. “Huzzah!” I thought, “What good news!” But then I got to the part of the letter where it also says something like, “We love the book and it’s perfect as it is and yet, somehow, mysteriously, we could not convince the army of terminators our sales board that this was a book that would sell more than seven copies. They remain in fact unconvinced that even your mother would buy a copy. Trust us. We called her. We asked her. She shrugged and gave a half-committal ennh, then said something about how you write rude books about rude people and why don’t you write a nice book about a girl who buys a pony? She also reminds you to call her. As we feel that you are a bad son and a wonderful but unsellable author, we have decided to not publish your truly spectacular standout don’t-change-a-thing novel, BLACKBIRDS.”

This is of course a shame, because I feel I am a prime catch. First: I’m dead sexy. (I look hot dressed up as a Barnes and Noble book display.) Second: I am nothing if not loud and irritating, so you can be assured I will market this novel until my fingers are worked to bloody nubs and my tongue explodes. Third: I have that mythical “writer’s platform” thing covered. Fourth: I think I wrote a pretty snazzy book with a flawed-but-lovable murder-solvin’ psychic-havin’ sexy-bein’ character that people seem to really enjoy reading.

You may at this point be asking, “Wasn’t this asshole supposed to answer the mystery of the dead birds?”

I am, and will.

You see, it is not coincidental that the name of my book is BLACKBIRDS and that many of the dead birds are also blackbirds (or, at least, birds that happen to be black of feather). It is also not coincidental that my book is about death and solving murders, and this mystery of the birds also orbits the cheerful, charming subject of death, doom, and gloom. Why is that, you ask?

I’m totally the guy killing all those birds.

Whew. I’m really glad to have that off my chest.

It’s been so hard! Seriously. Go ahead — you try to kill a metric fuck-ton of birds by yourself in order to pimp out your unsold novel. It’s really tough stuff! I have had to shoot fireworks into flocks of grackles, I’ve had to rig up supervillain-esque contraptions that hoses blackbirds down with water before blasting them with the coruscating energy from a secret Nikola Tesla device, I’ve had to break into secret government labs and release toxic Phosgene into the atmosphere. Heck, I’ve even had to pilot an ultra light plane amongst the birds while (with a free-hand) clubbing them all to death with a croquet mallet.

I am, frankly, exhausted.

Unfortunately, the bird deaths will continue as long as my novel remains unsold. This is, of course, regrettable, but I see no other course of action beyond these Blofeld-like tactics.

For every day that my novel goes unsold, I will continue punching, scalding, exploding, electrocuting, poisoning, and tickling birds to death. I have already begun to expand my purview beyond blackbirds and crows — you may have read about the thousands of dead doves in Italy? Yup. That was me. My only regret there was that I could not also manage to spraypaint them all black, y’know, to keep in theme.

Oh well. Next time!

So, while I am pleased to announce that the bird deaths are not in fact a sign of the Apocalypse, they are however the acts of a disgruntled novelist who just wants his book to find a home with a lovely publisher.

Please buy my novel. If not for the awesomeness of the book itself, do it to save the birds of the world. Because I’m totally going to keep killing birds until someone buys this goddamn book.

Thank you for your time. I appreciate any efforts on my behalf. The birds thank you, too.

BLACKBIRDS is represented by super-agent Stacia Decker of the Donald Maass Literary Agency. You may contact her to request that the bird deaths cease make a wonderful offer on my book.

Regards,

Chuck Wendig

P.S. I also have a non-fiction book on pitch called CONFESSIONS OF A FREELANCE PENMONKEY. Please don’t make me kill any monkeys or writers. Unless you want me to kill a few writers? Call me.

P.P.S. Oh, the fish aren’t my fault. It’s possible that you have another grumpy novelist out there who wrote a book called FISHHEADS or some shit, but if you ask me, all the dead fish are a sign of the fucking Apocalypse, so you should probably start praying to your God and building bunkers and what-not.

28 comments

    • @Sarah:

      I do not know what a “gannet” is, but I am happy to attend to those pee-pee birds with my croquet mallet.

      Also, I am glad to hear that you would buy a copy. Now, if I could just get another 100 (or 1000, or 10000) to commit to that by signing a legal document, I might be able to attract the interest of a publisher. ;)

      — c.

  • Could you write a book loosely tied to bees next and then go kill those stinging little fuckers? ’cause they’re totally out for my blood, my life! And really, I don’t want to die at the end of a bee’s butt.

    • I am unfortunately a huge fan of bees.

      Besides, someone else is clearly doing my work for me since both honeybees *and* bumblebees are now dying by the bajillions.

      That said, I would totally fuck up some yellow jackets if given half a chance. I’ve done it before, will do it again.

      Those guys are jerks.

      — c.

  • I have no grounds for this, and I don’t even know if it is your real name. But I think ‘Charles Wendig’ could look better on that cover. Sorry to stick my nose where it don’t belong, it just leaped out at me (and keeps pecking at my brain) when I saw the mock-up cover.

    That being said. Good job on the sales pitch. I think it may be the most inventive self-promotion I’ve ever seen, and look forward to how you start pushing Double Dead later this year.

  • You wielded a croquet mallet one-handed? That’s fucking barbaric.

    That said, I would totally buy this book, publishers, and am sitting here frustrated at my inability to do so.

    • Hah, I used to go by Charles (or Charlie, or “Cha”), but that was also my father’s name so I aimed for something to differentiate.

      At this point, given the fact the name “Chuck Wendig” (and not Charles) is on, well, 100+ different products, I should probably just hunker down and nest on that name.

      — c.

  • So that’s what it takes to sell a novel, huh? If that’s the case, hitchhikers, truckdriver & people of Texas better watch the fuck out over the next couple of months. I’ve never really liked Texas though, so that will be fine, maybe I will just sell it to highest bidding cartel, they should be able to wipe the entire state out in about a month, right?

    • @John:

      Who knows? I cannot say if my plot to murder the world’s birds to get my book published will even make a peep. It’s possible that publishers hate birds. In which case, I’m doomed.

      — c.

  • Ya, I guess that’s true & who would want to save Texas? I have sister that lives there, but I find that as more of an incentive to get rid of the whole damn state. For now I’ll stick to more traditional means of trying sell my novel, because I like hitchhikers & we need truck drivers.

  • Why this makes me sad: If the hilarious and twisted Chuck Wendig has to stoop to bird-killing to get the attention of publishers then what will the rest of us slightly less hilarious and less twisted do? We’ll have to kill actual people or something. That sounds like a lot of work. and messy. lame.

  • There was a news story on last night about the blackbirds and I told my family that it was totally all you. They kind of looked at me weird. So thanks, for that.

    I’m actually really pumped for both Blackbirds and Confessions. So keep killing them blackbirds (and maybe a writer or two for Confessions) so that you’ll get pubbed!

    • @Stoney —

      I’m feeling like Konrath is drinking the Kool-Aid and is no longer balancing his rhetoric with reality — I’m not saying he’s entirely wrong, mind you, only that he’s gone gonzo without restraint over the idea of self-publishing.

      I’m not yet so sold that it’s the way to go for everything.

      Blackbirds, at present, will remain on the market for traditional publishing. I will release Irregular Creatures, my short fiction collection, on Amazon though, sometime in the next couple weeks.

      — c.

  • Oh, I’m not in favor of throwing the baby out and huffing the bathwater (I like bathing the baby in aerosols and paint thinner, don’t judge me, you don’t know my life) but I think he has some compelling arguments that are worth thinking about.

    …you know I’m still working my white board of rejection/agent submission, tchuh. I didn’t buy those dry erase markers for nothing.

    Knowing you had thought about self-pub for a specific project, I thought there might be some use to it, that’s all.

  • Thanks, now I can stop wondering about how those birds really died. Great plan.
    Attention publishers: I will buy Chuck’s book, stop dicking around and publish it already. damn.

  • Damnit, man, that’s where you screwed up. You do NOT use a croquet mallet to club blackbirds. Those are for flamingoes only. You use cricket bats on blackbirds. Much more efficient.

    (also, I would read the shit out of that novel, from your description. If I had enough money, I’d make an offer on it. Alas, I do not, so I will stand here and hope that some other publisher gets around to publishing the damn thing for me…)

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