Pimping the Product

One of my most enthusiastic readers.

We writers aren’t allowed to be introverts anymore.

Back in the day, a writer was a man most times (women were home cooking the bacon and changing the diapers) with thick dark hair that he pulled with his left hand as he wrote his words down furiously on paper with his ink-smeared pen.

Then that man walked dejectedly to the local pub or bar and drank away his creative problems. Somehow, he produced a masterpiece with a good editor, and then his publisher made sure that readers bought thousands of that hard-earned tome.

Those were the good ole days.

Now men and women write on fast-paced computers, editing with a keystroke, and banging their heads against the monitor between washing the sheets and emptying the dishwasher.

That’s the best part of being a writer. The part when she is alone with her words and the dirty laundry.

But once the masterpiece is written – the thriller or the romance, the children’s book or the mystery – her delightful solitude is over, as is the writer’s romanticized notion of her writing ego.

Time to pimp the product.

Birds of Paradise, book dessert, truffles, author and illustrator

Me (in red) with illustrator Shelley Steinle at book signing with a “chocolate nest.”

I hate sounding so cynical, because the last think I am is a cynic.

What I am is …. Scared.

People scoff when I tell them I’m an introvert. I’m not quiet or shy (well, I am, but I hide it well). I work with people and laugh and join in social activities.

But secretly, I fantasize that I’m back home with my characters and keyboard.

But in this day and age, the majority of authors don’t have agents or publishers selling their next best book.

We authors need to do that ourselves.

The social media ‘stuff’ isn’t so bad – after all, we can still tweet in the privacy of our writing space.

But then it’s time for book signings and talks to book clubs and libraries and book stores and schools.

It’s time to pimp.

I wince when I send out e-mail notices to my friends from East Coast to West, shouting out my newest publishing news. Birds of Paradise! Ages 3 and Up! Not only do many of them buy my book for their children/grandchildren/nieces/nephews/neighbor’s kid next door, they write me letters and e-mail me how much they L O V E Bert and Bessie.

(Please, I beg silently, write a review on Amazon then!)

Birds of Paradise, children's illustrated book, young reader

A friend sends me a photo of her grandson who is enamored with this book.

They send me photos of their grandchildren dragging the book to bed, unable to let it go (please, I think quietly, write a review on Amazon).

They buy more books to give as gifts for birthdays and Mother’s Day and “just because. ” (Yay, please, please write a review on Amazon).

In the meantime, I fly to Tuscaloosa AL and, with my illustrator, sign and sell dozens and dozens of books at the bookstore Ernest & Hadley while people gush over the story and drawings – (please, go home and review the book, I plead silently).

Because in the end, the amount of books sold depends on the amount of people who learn about our product.

Ernest & Hadley, book signing

Book signing at Ernest & Hadley.

This week, I suck in my fear of extroverting and talk at local libraries about “Publishing My Children’s Tale…and Tail.” Attendees are sweet and complimentary and buy my books with enthusiasm.

Do I dare ask them at the end: “Please, write a review!”

Or is that just pimping the product?