Who wants to sponsor my mystery novel?

Inspector Well, I finally wrote that Great American Mystery! My publisher says the “hot” trend is corporate sponsorships, and it seems a certain technology company in Cupertino, Calif., will back anything in order to generate buzz for its upcoming product launches. Here’s their most recent correspondence:

Dear Dave:
  Everyone here is certain your book will be a huge success! Sponsoring works of fiction is the next frontier in marketing, but we’d never compromise your creative vision or ask you to “sell out” in any way. That said, just a few tweaks to ensure we roll big in our target demo:
  Can we change the title from The Blood-Soaked Badge to The Dell-HP Murder Conspiracy?
  Page 1 and throughout: Change “chief inspector Tim Tyler” to “cyber sleuth Steve Jobs.” Also, can we make him “tan and ripped” instead of “beefy and balding”?
  Page 2 and throughout: Change sidekick’s name to “Mac.”
  Page 6 and throughout: All phones should be “iPhones,” except for page 79, when reception suddenly cuts out. In that instance, the unit should be described as a “Motorola Razr.” Perhaps the heroine could muse: “That’s what happens when you buy an inferior brand.”

  Page 85: At the wedding reception, instead of peaches, why not serve “Golden Delicious Apples”? (Your call on capitalization. Upper case works for us.)
  Page 96: In the zoo sequence, the tiger attack is right out. We also can’t do Pumas, Jaguars, Panthers or—in time for holiday season, we promise, once we work out a few glitches—Leopards. What if the hero just wrestles a giraffe?
  Page 186: That love scene’s awfully steamy, and Steve’s kind of bashful. Please change “frenzied and sweat-soaked” to “friendly and platonic.” Let’s lose that business on the tiger-skin rug. Change “tiger-skin” to “bear-skin.” Oh wait, that’s in beta. Hardwood floors are a lot more classy, don’t you think? And rather than playing Bolero on the hero’s antique Victrola, maybe they could jam to Wilco on an iPod nano jacked into a faux-wood Bose SoundDock.
  Page 298: Whoa! Great twist. Never saw it coming. One thing: Please change murderer’s name from “Doctor Wentworth” to “William H. Gates III” throughout. And instead of relying on clues, forensics and deduction, couldn’t the hero just solve the crime by using Spotlight?
  Page 300: As they watch the sunset on the beach, can we describe it as “a RAM-killing, crash-inducing, hard-disk-frying Vista?” (Again, your call on capitalization. We’d prefer it upper case.)
  Also: Instead of your mom, could you dedicate the book to “Bono.” (Don’t ask.)

I haven’t actually written the Great American Mystery. I am, however, entertaining corporate sponsorship offers—just in case.

—Posted by David Gianatasio

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