Book Promotion: The Second Six Weeks
Read Andrew's first report from the book promotion trenches.
I feel like I’m writing a post on pregnancy or babies. My novel, The Bookie’s Son, is now three months old (really 40 years, but I’m not counting the gestation period...really really 65 years, but I’m not counting the traumatic events that inspired the writing.) The first six weeks of promotion, while it had it’s up and downs was mostly a high. During this last six weeks reality has set in. Except for one television show in Wisconsin, the media blitz has slowed to a crawl. The TV show in Milwaukee is called Morning Blend. The other guest interviews that day were with Glenn Close (taped) and Cody Simpson, a 15 year old heartthrob singer from Australia with three million twitter followers. In the green room, Cody wasn’t too impressive with his sullen face and entourage of father, manager, bodyguard, all on their cellphones.
Once on camera, Cody came alive, and I stood watching him banter with the lady hosts with all the poise and charm of a polished pro. Though I had 50 years on him and a lot of confidence in my communication skills, I suddenly felt woefully inadequate. I studied his every gesture, hoping I could learn from the teenager and do half as well as him (I wanted to make my 100 twitter followers proud).
On days when the book isn’t selling well and my Amazon ranking keeps going up (that’s bad) paranoia sets in. Who’s sabotaging me? What blogger did I offend twenty years ago? Even friends become suspect. Especially those who haven’t read the book yet...haven’t even purchased it. Other friends said they loved it, but why haven’t they written their 5 star amazon review yet? Were they lying? Do they just not care? Is my book not the most important thing in their life, or second or third? Then I do a promotion like the Amazon one day free e-book promotion I did two weeks ago and I spend the day watching thousands of people order my book for free, but because I’m suddenly getting some attention, my rankings start dropping (that’s good) as readers start buying the paperback and after the promotion is over, the Kindle sales also go up and now I’m a best seller again, and friends are gushing about how much they enjoyed the book, and strangers are writing wonderful reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, and the paranoia and gloom are gone. Am I really this pathetic? Basing my self worth and happiness on the whims of the marketplace, on the algorithms of Amazon? When Richard Nash spoke at the Muse and the Marketplace he said that writers just wanted to be loved. I dismissed it at the time as a good laugh line. Now I’m not so sure.
And what about the people that I know have purchased the book but I haven’t heard from? Did they just not like it? Did they buy it just to be nice but have no interest in reading it? Are they too busy with their own lives to realize that I’m waiting for their verdict? A person could drive themselves crazy worrying too much about this stuff. Which is why I’ve started writing again. That is where I get my pleasure. That is where I belong, not in the green room with Cody and his body guard. (Sorry, I don’t have any clips of Cody with his blond curls and millions of fans or Glenn Close with her Tonys, Obies, Grammys, Golden Globes and six Oscar nominations but if you would like to see an obscure award-free author on Morning Blend go to http://www.themorningblend.com/videos/160394145.html )
Yes, I will continue promoting The Bookie’s Son and hope that it gains some traction, and I’ll be happy to get some more twitter followers and delighted to talk to more tv and radio hosts, but I’m not going to to allow book promotion to control how I feel about being alive. I have my writing, my grandchild, and the joy I take in my body competing in athletics. I have access to a wonderful clear pond to swim in, and an outdoor shower. I have sunsets and good food, a lovely home, and good friends (even those who haven’t done as much for my book as I would’ve liked). I have books to read and books to write and dreams still to be fulfilled. I have a life, and the book promotion is an important part of it, but even without it, I have a life, and a blessed one at that.