Dear Friends, PR mavens, typo-hunters and grammar-ninjas,
The following is the rough draft of a press release I am preparing to send out. Can you have a look at it and let me know how to improve it? Of special concern to me is the fact that the release contains racial content, so I am nervous about inadvertently offending someone. I’d like to hear if you think it is OK.
Please leave any suggestions in a comment. Thank you in advance for your time!
For Eventual Release
Contact: Greg Tjosvold 778-***-****
What Color is Your Hero?
“Sadly, most students can name more blue superheroes than black,” asserts teacher and children’s book author Greg Tjosvold, “and it is even harder for them to name an Asian-American character in kidlit who isn’t a martial arts expert. In ‘The Cash Converter,’ I deliberately set out to let the reader mentally choose the race of the main character. The results have been intriguing.”
In author Tjosvold’s debut novel, 12-year-old Jason Lee mistakenly receives a device in the mail that looks very much like a television remote control. However, he quickly discovers that it has the power to turn any object into its cash equivalent. “Imagine the King Midas story, crossed with a touch of Percy Jackson, and add in the movie ‘Goonies’ and you’ll have a sense for the type of adventure found in The Cash Converter.” It is a modern-day adventure with a touch of magic meant for a middle grade audience.
Adventure is not new. However, what makes the book unique is the fact that neither Jason’s physical appearance or ancestry are entirely described. “I deliberately chose to commit a writer’s faux pas. I gave Jason a very common multi-ethnic name and then never actually describe his appearance. The only thing the readers know, based on a nickname, is that he is probably slender. I wrote the story to tell a tale, but how I wrote it was an experiment.”
Reader reaction has been interesting. Many readers actually know a Jason Lee or someone with the same last name and unconsciously assign the character the same ethnicity. Others puzzle it out their own way. Picking up on one of the few descriptors given in the book, one young reader said, “He’s skinny, so he must be Asian.” Still other readers find it somewhat unsettling to invent the look of their own character.
Tjosvold laughs, “I essentially wrote the unpublishable book. Deliberately breaking writing rules is not the way to attract a conventional publisher to your work. However, utilizing eBook technology, I have been able to get my experiment out to the public. I hope more readers will discover and enjoy the book and that teachers will be drawn to it for the teaching opportunities it presents. Again, it’s an experiment.”
For further reading, see: Top 10 Non-White Superheroes