and a happy Easter to those who celebrate it.
I feel especially grateful today to Trish Browning, whose support has been immediate and unwavering. I haven't even met her! Thank you, Trish, and your readers for your enthusiasm and support. Read a litle more about it here
(Look at me! I did the "here" link! That's a step in the right direction.)
I went to a seminar the other night called "Be Your Own Book Publicist." It was taught by Christopher Lee Nutter, who wrote a self-help/spirituality book for gay men a couple of years ago, The Way Out. He managed to sell 8000 copies of this little book using newspapers, magazine reviews, etc. The dirty secret is that, even though he published through a traditional publishing house, his book publicist did almost nothing of this. He did it all himself.
We had a very interesting conversation that night, with Chris and 10 other authors who attended the seminar. Several of the authors--fiction and nonfiction writers alike--have contracts with conventional houses, and all said that the publicity departments had told them absolutely not to do their own publicity; it would "cheapen" them. Chris looked aggravated and said "But they won't do it! They don't have time! That's the problem!" He encouraged us to work with publicity departments, but really take the burden upon ourselves. He said that he had met an author a few weeks ago who was "just wrecked," walking around feeling awful because he'd been promised so much by the publicists and the publicists couldn't deliver. So this author had put in years of work and anguish (I relate!!) and the book debuted with a big flop.
Now, it's important to know that these publicists are not deliberately neglectful; they're just overwhelmed. They often have outdated media lists, and no time to do research to update them, and they send their books to general addresses at magazines, and at magazines 90% of these books end up on the "giveaway table": extra books that no one wants. They don't really do targeted, customized campaigns, because they don't have time. A women's fiction book like mine shouldn't be pitched to the same publications as Chris's gay men's spirituality book, really, but they don't have time to be discriminating so they blanket all their sources with all the same books.
It was an extremely enlightening 3 hours, and though I walked away feeling a bit overwhelmed, at least I have some more concrete ideas as to how to get my book out there. It's all a slow process, and continues to be slow, but I really believe that if I can just find my audience, it will all be worthwhile. Reading some people's comments about how the book affected them, or how they believe they need to read it at this time because it can help them (someone even wondered if it was a "sign from above") makes me keep on pushing.
Again, to my supporters, a really deep THANK YOU. You just can't know what feeling like my work is appreciated means to someone who's been wondering if her work would ever mean anything to anyone. Thank you, thank you.