by Susan Sey
Brace yourselves. This could be a long list.
Oh, fine. It's New Year's Eve. You probably have somewhere fabulous to be. I'll give you the abridged version. I need to be snoozing on the couch by 9 p.m. anyway.
Top Three Things At Which I Am Not Very Good:
(Sidenote: I never realized all the stuff I'm bad at started with an S. Huh. At least my awfulness is alliterative
I'll take them in reverse order
Salads: Yeah, it's embarassing but I can't made a salad. I think it's because I used to be a vegetarian. (FYI for all those steakhouses out there? You can take a pile of wilted iceberg lettuce, drown it in ranch dressing and call it dinner, but that doesn't make it so.) I suffered through enough of those iceberg disasters to have developed a knee-jerk aversion to the very concept of salad-as-dinner, & sadly cannot to this day make a proper salad. My heart just isn't in it. So if you ever invite me to a potluck, please understand. I'm not bringing salad, & if you force me into it, you'll be disappointed. Sorry.
Synopses: I can't write short to save my life. My hat is off to all you category writers out there because you ladies know how to tell a tight story. It's like poetry, where every word is perfectly chosen & pulls its weight. This is a skill I dearly wish I had but even my emails run into the hundreds of words. My grocery lists span two pages because I editorialize. ("Yellow onions. Sweet if you can find them. Not the white ones. Too strong! Not purple--funny color...") It's just that--okay, I'm cutting myself off because at this point, I'm only demonstrating the problem
Sales: My dad is a sales guy. He can talk to anybody. He can sell anything. He loves this work & he's wonderful at it. Apparently this isn't a hereditary talent because I get hives when I have to call the babysitter. (In case you were wondering, she's a thirteen year old girl, and I want to give her money. How hard could it be? But it's still calling up somebody who might have to tell me no, however kindly. It's torturous and I hate it.)
So here's my problem: I have a book coming out this summer. It's my first one & I'm deliriously happy about it. Or I would be if I didn't have to sell the damn thing.
Self-promotion. Another S word at which I suck.
There' s a lot of pressure on debut authors these days. In addition to writing a great book, you also have to have a great website. It should have fresh content all the time & offer lots of extra ways for readers to connect with you & your characters.
You should blog. A lot. Everywhere. You should be witty and warm and find ways to gently promote your work without coming off as a user who only dropped in to plug her book
You should do book signings and hold launch parties--things that involve walking into book stores, asking to speak (gulp) with the manager (who you don't know from adam,) and convincing him/her that you have enough friends & family to justify ordering a few copies of your book.
You will be required to print up bookmarks, postcards and a slew of adorable, charming, book-inspired tchotchkes (I'm drawing a complete blank on that one, by the way). They'll need to be distributed to any breathing person you might encounter for at least six months prior to your release date.
You'll need to make up a press packet, then call up a bunch of print journalists (gulp), radio announcers (gulp), and TV journalists (GULP) to see if they want to interview you. This is a) calling strangers and b) asking them to participate in your discomfort. The classic double whammy. Ouch.
Oh, & you'll definitely want to purchase some incredibly expensive ad space in each of half a dozen magazines.
And if you don't do even one of these things?
YOUR BOOK WILL FAIL, AND YOU WILL NEVER SELL ANOTHER THING AS LONG AS YOU LIVE. NOT UNDER THAT NAME, ANYWAY.
Okay, so maybe it's not that bad. Is it? Oh, lord, I feel a panic attack coming on. Is that a hive? Right there? On my neck? Oh god. I feel faint. Somebody hold me.
Clearly, I need help here. Besides writing a darn good book, what do you like to see an author do? Is it the blogging? The signings? The website? The ads? Is it accessibility? Is it a sparkling personality? And what turns you OFF? Is there anything an author could do (or fail to do) that would make you turn up your nose and toss their book (no matter how good) into the garbage disposal?
p.s. Oh crap. I forgot to mention my title, my release date or my publisher. Sheesh. I told you I was bad at this. Okay, take two. Ready?
Look for Money Honey by Susan Sey in July of 2010 from Berkley Sensation!
Whew. How'd I do?