I've devoted months now to the study of book publicity, its highs and lows. The entire purpose of this endeavor was to demystify the process, to let it become less frightening. And mostly that's worked. But I'm happy to report that there are still a few things about the launch process that came as a complete shock. They are:
- I'm so tired of me. My book is getting amazing blog coverage, with Q&As, interviews, reviews, giveaways and recipes! Yet every one of those requires me to write a Q&A, guest post, recipe, or at least a witty aside. By now I've written about what my family eats for dinner, why I try to limit sugar, which luxury item I'd most like to have with me on a nuclear submarine, how I felt the day I was dumped by my first fiction agent and why there's so much friction between working moms and stay-at-home moms. It's hard to make a cup of coffee without trying to think of how it might possibly be configured into a guest post. I'm so flattered by the opportunity, yet so tired of talking about myself.
- After Julia's Child received good trade reviews, freelance publicists solicited me. And that even an audio book narrator dropped me a line, hoping I'd keep her in mind if the book went to audio.
- Even with glowing trade reviews and a history of living there, I got shut out of doing a bookstore event in New York City. Bookstores all over New England said "yes please!" But New York said "fuggetaboutit." A publicist gently explained to me just how few bookstores are really left in New York. "They only want celebrities. And I don't mean celebrity authors. Actual celebrities."
- The number of people who show up at your bookstore events shall be inversely related to the number of hours you drove to get there.
- Every email I've written this month seems to consist of me either A) asking someone to do something on my behalf or B) thanking someone for doing something on my behalf. Next month I plan to not ask anyone for anything, even a cut of meat at the butcher's counter.
- I didn't know how easy it would be to make progress on another novel. I thought this month would be disastrous for adding words to a new WIP, but it's not. Working on a new story has been such an escape from the daily grind of pushing Julia's Child out into the world. All I want to do is hole up with the new book, with its fresh themes and issues.
- I'm afraid not to follow you. So many of my new twitter followers @Julias__Child are lovely book bloggers who are currently reviewing me, that it's hard to keep track. So I'm following everybody who does not reference sexual favors in his/her twitter bio. I nearly followed--and I'm not even kidding--a twitter account devoted to the promotion of grapeseed oil.
- I feel like a spammer. I never wanted to be one of those people whose twitter feed and facebook stream were filled with reviews and giveaways of her own book. Here's the problem: book publicity is an exchange of services. Up and coming book bloggers need authors to help them spread the word. So it feels rude not to RT reviews / giveaways / Q&As that these sites produce. Seriously, what's the solution here?