I’m giving birth to a new baby today. Its name is HUMMINGBIRD LAKE it is the second book of my new Eternity Springs series. This baby was conceived around fire pit with some writer friends over two years ago, and I carried it for six long months. Now, with older sibling ANGEL’S REST a month old, it’s time for the new offspring to join the family.
Right now I’m in the transition stage of labor. The hard stage. The one that makes a girl want to glare at her keyboard and declare “I’m never touching you again!”
That’s because now it’s time for me to talk about the book.
I’m supposed to engage readers’ interest so they will go out and buy it. The problem is that I find this part of the job more painful than watching my beloved Texas Aggies lose in the first round of this year’s March Madness. They tell us to come up with a one sentence sales pitch, a high concept, an elevator sales pitch. Yeah, right. I spent 400 manuscript pages telling this story, and I’m supposed to condense it down to a sentence? Aargh!
Sage watched a tall man dressed in jeans and a blue chambray shirt make his way forward. From her position in the front of the crowd, she noted his long, lean build, wide shoulders, and thick, wavy black hair. When he turned to face the crowd, she saw that he had blue eyes. Striking blue eyes, the color of Hummingbird Lake in summer. His face was a study of sculpted angles and masculine planes that the artist in her itched to sketch. In a tone just shy of miffed, she observed, “So, that’s the great Colt Rafferty, hmm?”
Ali looked at her friend in surprise. “You have a problem with him?”
Sage shrugged. “I’ve never met the man.”
Lori Reese sighed. “Dr. Rafferty is the reason I decided to go to college. I’m hoping all my professors look like him.”
Sarah slung an arm around her daughter’s shoulders and said, “If all your professors look like Colt Rafferty, I’m going to enroll in classes myself.”
Leaning forward, Sarah added to Ali, “Sage has had a stick up her butt about Colt ever since one of his carvings beat one of her paintings for blue ribbon at the summer arts festival last month.”
There. My little hint of things to come. Now, if I didn’t have such an attitude about talking about my work, I could use this blog space to tell you more about Sage and Colt and Eternity Springs. But remember that I’m in labor to birth this baby and this stage is AGONY. It makes me cranky. It makes me feel inadequate. It doesn’t matter that I think the story is really good and reviewers so far have liked it. (Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review!) I don’t care that it has the most gorgeous cover art I’ve ever had on a book. So what if the winner of an advanced reading copy contest just posted this on my Facebook page:
“HUMMINGBIRD LAKE landed in my mailbox on Friday. I had to finish it this morning before my husband and I went skiing….. what a wonderful book!!!! Your hero’s are so drool worthy. I haven’t cried while reading a book in a long time. Thanks for writing such special characters. Another touching story!”
All of the above are wonderful things, and you’d think I’d find them reassuring, but no. I’m in the end stage of labor. I’m now in full-blown author paranoia!
AP, as it’s known in my house is that psychotic behavior that precedes a book release and lasts anywhere from a week to a month. Will it sell, will readers like it, love it, hate it, talk about it? Will reader reviews make me fly or want to eat a whole pan of brownies? With nuts.
While in the clutches of AP, I’ll google my name and the title. I’ll check Amazon numbers and B&N numbers and Goodreads ratings way more often than is healthy for my blood pressure numbers. And, I’ll suffer this malady while trying to keep my mind on the book I’m writing, the copy-edits for the book I have written, and the proposal for the book I’m going to write next.
It’s all about time. Like everyone else these days, I feel like I don’t have enough time to stop and sneeze– and in the middle of spring hay-fever season, that’s a problem! Authors feel pressure–both internal and external–to self-promote. Now, some parts of the whole promotion thing are fun for me. I enjoy booksignings because I usually get to talk books and that’s always a joy. I love interacting with readers on my Facebook Fan Page: facebook.com/emilymarchbooks But I find it so hard to talk about my stories–at least at this stage of the game.
It also makes me a little crazy to think about all the other blog opportunities I missed because I’d rather cut out my own kidney than talk about my book at this point in the process. I was a marketing major in college. Once upon a time I sold advertising for a living. I know about advertising campaigns and promotion plans. I know that it’s important to get the word out about HUMMINGBIRD LAKE. So, why can’t I sit here and write a wonderful blog that will make you rush to the bookstore today and buy my book?
Maybe because in my heart of hearts, I’m still a Southern girl who was taught from the cradle not to brag or talk about myself and I find doing so distasteful. Or, maybe I simply have too much on my plate and I can’t find time to self-promote AND get my books written and delivered on time. Or, maybe I’m just lazy. Or stressed. Or lazily stressed.
Whatever the reason, this is my question to you as I bear down to bring HUMMINGBIRD LAKE into the world. Do you ever buy a book based on author self-promotion? If so, what sort of promotion was it? What works?
See, HEARTACHE FALLS comes out in another four weeks. Maybe by then . . .
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