"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Saturday, June 18, 2016

A letter from the front

Dear Writer Friends Who Struggle to Get Their Books "Out There",

Next weekend, I will be releasing my 11th book. With each release, I've done about the same amount of release-style advertising. I've used social media, I've run Goodreads giveaways, Amazon promotions, blog tours, etc. It seems like each thing I do is less effective the second time around, which is frustrating.

You want to believe that your books will become more well known if you have more books out there to find. So I made the decision to try something different with A MORE DEADLY UNION. 

I hired a publicist.

My few friends who had used them gave me mixed reports, from "I love mine," to "she kept sending me places where I couldn't possibly sell anything." But I met Paula Margulies at the Southern California Writers Conference in San Diego, took her workshop, spoke with her briefly, and filed her name in the back of my mind.

When it came time to start planning this release, I visited Paula's website (http://www.paulamargulies.com/) a bunch of times, spent several days wrestling with indecision, and finally contacted her. We laid out a plan, a price, and a timeline, then I took a deep breath and a deep drink of good wine. As usual, I stood atop my personal roller-coaster and looked down at the frenzy that awaited.

It's a view I'm used to.

How's it going? So far, she's sent out press releases, given me two lists of book reviewers and book contests, a sample query letter for book reviews, and set me up to sign at bookstores (3 confirmed, 3 pending), and talks at libraries (1 confirmed). That's two weeks' work.

In two weeks, I've learned two things:

1. Having someone else tell everyone I'm the bomb makes it easier for me to say it. My friends and I discuss this often -- we can sell someone else's books better than our own. You all know me. Even a couple of blog posts ago, when I was promising to be the Big, Talented Fish, I was wondering how I was going to do that. Apparently, when I read my publicist's press release referring to me as "acclaimed author Gayle Carline" and talking about my "thrilling new mystery", I can start talking about this person, Gayle Carline, and what an acclaimed author she is.

I'm either getting better at promoting myself, or I'm developing a split-personality disorder.

2. Author Gayle Carline may be acclaimed, but little Gayle Sue still wants to recoil from the spotlight. After 11 books, as hard as Paula is pushing me forward, there's still a hefty chunk of me that says, "No, wait! If I start getting noticed, and people start taking me seriously, then I'll have to get serious about this." 

So what? *in a teeny whisper that only you and I can hear* "if i become a serious author then i'll be a bigger target for people who hate my books and my writing and i'll probably have to write more and give up something that i like doing now and Life. Will. Change."

Maybe it will. If it does, I just have to suck it up and enjoy success. 

What's next? My launch party is next Monday. It's going to be My Big Fat Book Party, semi-expensive and hugely fun. In the meantime, I'm having a good time working with the fabulous Paula. I'll report back with more gigs and results!

Love you and keep writing,

P.S. For some reason, every time I think of a publicist, I picture this clip:

1 comment:

Jennifer Silva Redmond said...

What a great post, Gayle! I love how honest you are...it's empowering to the rest of us. So excited to see you and AMDU in the spotlight.

Proud Member of ALA!

I support fair and equitable library access to ebooks and so should you.