Louise Doughty has a nice little column on the publishing experience. Though I have to say I've never had a publisher send me flowers, I've never had a book party, and I don't get much in the way of really good interviews in the papers. And as I was reading this thing, I kept thinking that Doughty had lucked out majorly with this column. As she was lamenting the lack of attention for her new paperback release, she was giving it a nice little shot of press.
I had a book come out last May and another is coming out this June. I've been thinking about the difference between last spring and this spring.
Last spring I made, what was for me, a major marketing effort. I thought I had a really good hook for publicity, and I spent a great deal of time working on a press release and sending press packages to area newspapers, my alumni magazines, and even a couple of radio stations. I arranged for a store appearance in my hometown, though my contact at the bookstore made it clear that this was really against his better judgment because people don't come to see children's authors. Then I sent press packages to the newspapers up there.
For all my effort, only one area newspaper was interested in me and the resulting article was so poorly written I was embarrassed to show it to anyone. In Vermont I got nothing but tiny mentions in "Calendar" sections of newspapers. I am no longer a hometown girl.
Late in the summer or early fall, I found that my alumni magazine did give me a nice little review and the local NPR affiliate gave me a mention during a book review show, for which I am very grateful.
On the other hand, the bookstores around here wanted nothing to do with me. I was clearly being given the brush-off by a couple of places I called several times and sent arcs. Ten years ago when I was a new writer without an ALA Notable Book and foreign editions to my credit I could get into a few bookstores. I couldn't make much in the way of sales there, but they would have me. Not any more.
This year I sent out a few arcs, contacted an alumni magazine, and at some point I'm supposed to have an essay published in an on-line publication, which should get my name in front of new people. But instead of making calls and mailing packages to people who have no interest in receiving them, I'm working on a new book.
My self-esteem is a little healthier this year than last.