My target was a midlevel, moderately successful novelist who wrote the kind of smart, sophisticated books I imagined my reader might enjoy. The daughter of a famous novelist herself, she had no idea what total obscurity looked like, but I'd known her vaguely for years and we shared at least one mutual friend. Fortified by a glass of white wine, I made my way toward her.I feel Johnson's pain when it comes to slogging on with marketing. Of course there are countless more important things then selling books. Case in point -- I'm heading off for our annual kid-free anniversary celebration, so I'll be back on the Fire Escape in a few days.
"Hi," I said a little too brightly. Was it my imagination, or was she already moving away from me? After a few forced pleasantries, I brought up the book and asked if she might be willing to read it. The expression on her face -- part horror, part sneer -- was exactly what I would have expected had I released a large fart and asked what she thought of it.
"I'm really busy right now," she answered, turning her back. After that, I stuck to e-mail. Electronic humiliation is so much more tolerable.
When Book Promotion Equals Groveling
After our interesting conversation about the value of author blurbs last week, Tadmack sent me to this Salon article. First-time novelist Rebecca Johnson describes perfectly the embarrassment of asking another author for a quote about your precious: