Monday, March 14, 2005

Writer Angst--Otherwise Known as Whining

I spent a significant amount of time this past month preparing a speech for an AAUW luncheon at which I was one of three authors invited to speak. I also worked on postcards, which took up some time. I am a disorganized worker and poor with time management so this was all time I could have used writing, researching, etc. However, I get few opportunities to promote my work and this AAUW thing sounded like a good one--these people actually want to hear writers speak, which doesn't happen too often at bookstores in my experience.

Well, I woke up Saturday morning to a decent snowstorm and the event was cancelled. My first thought was, bummer because of all the work I'd done (I was actually dressed for the event and putting on my make-up, too)and my second thought was relief because I didn't have to do this thing I was stressing over.

My contact told me I'd received a little press for this event in a particular newspaper but that the paper hadn't used all the material she'd sent, including my picture. I looked up the article on line. One of the other authors writes mystery novels. The article was totally built around her with a photo of both her and one of her book covers. The second author and myself got a sentence each.

My point being that I'd done a great deal of work for one sentence of publicity.

Now, this was no one's fault. (Well, maybe the newspaper reporter who by-lined the article could take some blame for slighting a couple of us.) It could be said that I gambled with my time and lost, got next to nothing for my effort.

Is there a lesson in this? Should I be ignoring the whole promotion thing? Probably not. It doesn't matter how good a book is if no one knows about it. And if you don't sell, you probably won't be publishing again. However, there are tens of thousands of books published each year and there are very few opportunities to promote them. So those of us who aren't big names have to take every chance we're offered, even when those "chances" are just chances. As I said, we're gambling with our time.

On the plus side, I have another AAUW speaking engagement next month when I can use the same speech. Now I have to wait another month, though, to find out if what I've done is any good.

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