Friday, November 26, 2010

Please Like Me Anyway

by Rachel Brady

Three things never get easier for me:

1. Small talk
2. Fundraising
3. Book promotion

I can't grow plants, carry a tune, or do plenty of other things either, but the things on this list seem to present the most handicaps for me in life.

Small talk is tiring. Expending energy to have non-conversations exhausts me. I prefer to save my enthusiasm for other exchanges that actually have a point, or at least some real, honest-to-goodness entertainment value.

Fundraising is an enigmatic blend of Love and Hate. I want to support all my causes and be a part of the solution, but how do I do that without annoying humankind? I don't like making shoppers avoid eye contact or causing homeowners to feign absenteeism when I ring their doorbells. ("Just give me your order forms, kids. I'll buy all the cookies myself.")

But the worst is book promotion. Don't tell my publisher, but I would rather stab myself in the eye with a pencil.

My first book was in print before I told anyone I knew that I liked to write. Admitting to trying to write a novel felt pompous somehow, so I did all my writing in secret. This was fine until it actually got published. Then I wanted everyone to know. But I didn't want to have to be the one to tell them. It is strange how something that was personally so rewarding also made me extremely self-conscious.

Letting the world know that a new book is out, for me, sounds something like this: "I wrote a book and I hope you will read and enjoy it but don't misunderstand me I'm not pressuring you to buy it oh nevermind forget I brought it up please like me anyway here's my card."

In publishing, they tell us that nobody will buy a book they don't know exists. Authors are encouraged to market ourselves, speak widely (I think this includes small talk), maintain a web presence, use Facebook, tweet like crazy people, place ads, schmooze, network, hob-nob, and wash cars on street corners in bikinis. Whatever it takes to get the word out.

It really suits some people. For me, everything about book promotion feels uncomfortable and awkward so I'm trying to think of creative ways to get other people to do it for me. I'm bartering books for banter over at my blog for the next week. And I would would really appreciate it if you guys would stop over and help me out.

I'll give away a book here today too. Leave a comment to enter. It shouldn't be a pep talk like, "Go get 'em! Be confident!" because that doesn't work on me. Rather, I think the signed copy will go to the commenter with the best "Foot in Mouth" story. Because, really. Who doesn't enjoy a good Foot in Mouth story?

One last thing. If you are a librarian or book club groupie, or if you know one, I always have a standing offer to send a signed copy of either of my titles to folks who introduce Emily Locke to their reading groups.

This concludes my awkward "I have a new book out" post. Please like me anyway.


  1. I was at an office event and this gorgeous guy walks in. I whispered (or so I thought) to my co-worker and said "his zipper is opened" just as he walked by. He stopped, smiled, looked down, zipped up and said "thank you." The problem was he was commando.

  2. I hear you on all three of these issues, Rachel! Particularly book promotion . . . when I do a booksigning I absolutely refuse to chase the customers around. I think the bookstore staff appreciates that, but my main reason is the many times I've walked into a bookstore and discovered an author seated near the entrance. I didn't know he or she would be there, and I don't want to give them false hope by engaging them in conversation. So I avoid eye contact and go about my business--and when I'm the author doing the signing I remember that reaction and leave the no-eye-contact customers alone. Honestly, I consider it good manners.

  3. Rachel, I have this feeling that your wonderful sense of humor will get you through anything. ;-) Writing a book is hard enough (and getting published!), but promotion is another story entirely. I do enjoy getting out and talking to people after I've been cooped up with a deadline; but I find that, as I get older, I really love my private time more and more. So it's tougher than it was for me 10 years ago. I think the most important thing is believing in what you've written. Then when you talk about it, your passion shines through. Good luck with the new book!!!

  4. Thanks, guys, for dropping by. :)

    Dru Ann, let me know where to send your copy!

  5. After meeting you in person, I can't believe that you'd have a bit of trouble at a book event. You are so darling! You look more like a movie star than a book author.


  6. Marilyn, I LOVE YOU!!!

    Thank you. You're a doll.