Four years ago, after my first mystery novel hit the bookstores, I acquired a new job title: Doer of Whatever It Takes to Get This Book in Front of the Public So It Will Sell. Most of the time, it was a pretty cool job. I researched marketing possibilities, called up bookstore owners, scheduled book signing dates, talked to media contacts, went to book signings, drank bottled water, chatted with readers, and, in general, had fun.
Sometimes, though, it was less fun than other days.
Sometimes, it was almost depressing, as in “what in the world am I doing here being a struggling author when I could be home getting the laundry done and feeling like a productive member of the human race?”
Thankfully, most of those days are behind me now, but to reassure new authors that we all have bad days, I’d like to share two of my less-than-bright moments.
Scene: Bookstore signing
I spend an hour and a half at a table in a mall outside a bookstore. The place is mobbed – not with readers frantic to buy my book, but with adults and kids participating in a fun run to benefit the children’s hospital in town. At my table, I get lots of attention, though. The two most frequent questions I get are: “Where is a bathroom?” and “Is there some place around here where we can get something to drink?” Being the helpful person I am, I point people in the direction of the former and offer the others some of my bottled water.
Okay, so it’s not my most glamorous moment as an author.
Scene: At the local television studio before my appearance on the morning show:
“You’re not allergic to dogs, are you?” a nice young intern asks me before he opens the door to the green room, where I’ll wait for my turn on the show.
“How big are the dogs?” I ask, since I don’t do well with big dogs in open spaces, let alone big dogs in small windowless rooms where they can slobber all over you while you cringe in abject misery on a hard plastic chair.
“They’re little,” he says.
“No, I’m not allergic,” I tell him, and he ushers me into the room.
The intern is right, the dogs are little. Really little. They are also dressed up in Halloween costumes. One is a shark, one is a pumpkin, a Chihuahua is wearing a blonde wig and red dress, and another tiny dog has on Snow White’s signature blue vest and yellow skirt.
“Who’s the Chihuahua?” I ask.
“Marilyn Monroe,” the handler answers.
I give myself a mental head slap. Of course it’s Marilyn Monroe. What was I thinking?
I’ll tell you what I’m thinking. I’m thinking I’m waiting to be interviewed about my novel with a bunch of dogs dressed up for Halloween. I’m thinking I’m going to fire my publicist, except that I’m my publicist.
Some moments really are better as memories…
Care to share some of your moments (bright or not)?
~”Only a loser, and this is the VERY first rule of novel writing, wears what they wear on their author photo on the back of the book to their very first book signing” (Brad Meltzer).~