Tuesday, November 3, 2009

This Self-Promotion Thing

My book hit the marketplace in late July and here it is November already! After what feels like much too long a delay, I have scheduled a public reading/booksigning event, graciously hosted by the Center for Photography at Woodstock (yes, that Woodstock, in New York state), Friday November 13, 6:00 pm.

CPW is a world-class, 32-year-old, nonprofit institution dedicated to supporting artists working in photography and related media. But wait a minute -- my book has nothing to do with photography. Why would they host a literary reading? Well, besides the fact that CPW is run by very nice people, it is also a prominent setting in my story "Signs," in which the elderly protagonist's small but important journey of self-discovery is furthered by his encounter with the images on the gallery walls -- entirely fictional photo exhibits, I might add. CPW Executive Director Ariel Shanberg even told me, "Hmm, I'll be interested to see what your ideas were for the photo shows in our galleries..." My new skill: imaginary curating! It was fun to write; now let's hope he likes it.

The point is, for you authors facing the promotion challenge, this is a way of stepping outside the predictable bookstore or coffee-bar venue for a reading/signing event. A real location mentioned in your book is a logical choice, a fun blurring of the fact/fiction boundaries, and its owners may welcome the added bit of exposure and cachet that an attachment to the literary world may give them.

Which is not to suggest that a writer should craftily fill their book with real-world settings they can then exploit for readings. Blecch.

Truth be told, I'm a little slow and reticent about this self-promotion thing. It could be said that for a self-published author, that's the kiss of death. So be it then... my raison d'etre is not the selling, but the writing. I want to get back to writing my next project as soon as possible, but ever since my book came out, all my (miniscule) free time has gone toward establishing a presence, getting reviews, posting on various networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, yikes!), blogging, etc.

I'm looking forward to this reading, because the contact with my potential readers that I like best is the flesh-and-blood kind. Shaking a real hand is much better than touching screen and keyboard to commune with a virtual mask.

So I feel myself gradually stepping away from constant online promotion, even as I'm just now doing my first booksigning. I'm grateful to Ariel and CPW, and (in advance) to the other venues where I'll appear from time to time in coming months. As my baby, The Principle of Ultimate Indivisibility, totters out into the world with just a little support from me, I hope you'll give it a closer look. The book is about connections. Let's connect.


  1. I like the blurring of life and fiction so that there's always a lingering question in the reader's mind where one begins and the other ends--or if they overlap. Your reading and signing becomes part of the mysterious reader/writer dialogue.


  2. Yes, I like that perspective too, Malcolm. In fact, I'll mention it in my intro at the reading... after all, from a nonduality point of view, "reality" is just a fiction anyway. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope your new book is doing well!

  3. I followed Malcolm here, and I'm glad I did.

    This self-promotion thing seems to become an end in itself after a while. It's easy to lose track of the basics -- the writing itself.

  4. Hello Brent – I hope you don’t mind me dropping by. Talking of self-promotion... ;) I’m a British author and a fellow Bookblogs member and my next novel, Thaw, will be published online next year after its physical publication. I wanted to invite you (and your readers) to participate in my Blogsplash - there’s more information at http://www.fionarobyn.com/thawblogsplash.htm. Thanks for listening!