Thursday, September 07, 2006

How do I promote myself? I don't.

My 5th book is coming out in October.... (which is crazy, but that's a talk for a different time)

The B&N in Union sq already has it. Book release time means review time. I should have a thick skin about these things and I mostly do but like all good glass-half-empty people I dwell on the negative. The book got its first good review from Kirkus, which I got yesterday. This prompted me to google the title to see if there are any other reviews. It got another good review... but then I stumbled upon some blog that reviews kids' books and there was mine. The guy said something like "I don't know how this book ever got published..." or some such. He didn't say much else except that. OUCH!!!! Do I think about the Kirkus review? Not really. I think about Joe Shmoe's comment that no one will ever see (until I'm posting it now!). Is this the way most authors behave? Is it just me? Is my life as an author destined to be an emotional rollercoaster FOREVER?

This brings me to another thought. The old -- If you act like a superstar then you'll be one. I NEVER act like one. I'm sure most authors wouldn't have even mentioned the bad comment. It's obvious that I'm honest to a fault. I have trouble promoting myself and talking myself up. Just today my physical therapist asked if I had any books that were good for 4 year olds. I said yes but I didn't elaborate. I didn't say what an author is SUPPOSED to say which would be something like "Yes! I have one in my bag! Would you like me to autograph it?" Or - "Yes! Go to B&N and ask them to order one for you and several for the store." Of course I would never say that. I never say much. I'm the author who wasn't meant to be. Sure, some humility is good (that's why I keep my lowly bookseller job) but I could definitely use a dose of confidence! I'm actually embarrassed to admit that I created the books I have. I'm scared when someone wants to look at one in front of me. All I see are the flaws. I wish I could get over that.



Anna Alter said...

Oh Meghan, I hear you and I totally relate!! I've always been more embarrised than proud to show people my books, and I would much sooner change the subject when it comes up. When people used to asked me what I did for a living, sometimes I would just tell them about some part time teaching job so I didn't have to explain it all...

This has changed for me a little bit though in recent years. Maybe it was seeing my first book go out of print that started to shift things around a little. It just gave me a little perspective into what can happen if you don't stick up for your books, and yourself really. I'm not going to pretend I'm anything I'm not, but I AM proud of my work when it comes down to it, and I think I have something important to say. And so do you Meghan!

I didn't mean this as a pep talk, just that I know how you feel. And also that I think that while feeling that way might always be part of the equation, I'm sure you also have feelings of pride and confidence somewhere in there too that will come out in the right circumstances.

alvinaling said...

Meghan, I meant to tell you--I stopped by B&N in Union Square on Tuesday night for a bit, and read Steal Back the Mona Lisa and LOVED it. I thought it was so fun and creative and engaging, and incredibly special. I love the art, and thought the design of the book was really cool, too.

Reviews are tough, though. I take them personally, too. That's the industry. As for the marketing yourself...I think it's important to do it. It may not come naturally, but a lot of things don't. Baby steps!

Congrats on baby #5!

Libby Koponen said...
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Corey Schwartz said...

Meghan, I can totally relate too! I am proud of my one and only PB, but I am TERRIBLE at selling it! It will no doubt go out of print soon.

BTW, I met you years ago T B&N and bought a signed copy of George Upside Down which we love!