SHAKING blog

Monday, June 27, 2005

The Things We Didn't Do To Sell Our Book...

What we have not done to promote our book:

  • Refuse to do publicity
  • Refuse to be seen or heard by anyone
  • Create pseudonyms so obviously false, it makes your mouth feel stupid to pronounce them
  • Refuse even to speak with our editor and agent, except via untraceable satellite phone and a voice filter that distorts our voices to a computerized baritone (but that'd be kinda hot, huh?)
What Doubleday is doing to sell "The Traveler," a new science fiction title by a so-called John Twelve Hawks, which they are optimistically positioning as the next "Da Vinci Code":

  • Allow Hawks to refuse to do publicity
  • Allow Hawks to refuse to be seen or heard by anyone
  • Create a pseudonym so obviously false, it makes your mouth feel stupid to pronounce it (why not, say, Sixteen Sparrows or Twenty-one Bluejays?)
  • Allow Mr. Hawks to refuse even to speak with his editor and agent, except via untraceable satellite phone and a voice filter that distorts his voice
And given Mr. Twelve Hawks' low seven-figure advance for "The Traveler" and its two sequels, its planned publication in 18 countries, and its recent optioning by Universal, I'd say we were the idiots. Lesson learned: Get us some cone bras and wigs, a queer obsession with the nefarious forces that control the grid, and an agent who digs role-playing--and we'll get a film deal.

What we have done recently to sell our book:

We travelled upstate for a big bookstore event where, in all due objectivity, I can say we rocked the Borders house. I mean, there were far more filled seats than empty ones. What was my surprise when I saw Mrs. Freed, my 10th grade A.P. History teacher, discreetly slide into a back-row chair! She flashed her still-girlish smile behind her trifocals, and spoke in the same wispy soprano, and good god, I couldn't remember her friggin' name. It was especially touching to me that she came, because I had done extraordinarily well in her class, and then colossally bombed the A.P. exam, having not cracked the study guide once, literally not once. It was the defining trauma of my high school years, and I would still be grounded if my father had a choice--but Mrs. Freed obviously found a place in her heart to forgive me, because here she was!

And then the camera bulbs were flashing, and we felt a stir and heard more clicks, and for a second I thought I knew what it felt like to be Lindsay Lohan, and then I looked up and...it was Dr. Orcutt! My dentist! From 15 years ago! He gave me a big hug and a throaty chuckle, the same nightmarish guffaw that I will forever associate with flouride treatments, when this sadistic dentist--this faux family man, this borderline psychotic--would shove that white styrofoam mouthpiece down my throat, and tell me to clamp down and suffocate for 10 minutes while the chlorine-flavored goo ate away at my little teeth. It was good to see Dr. Orcutt, and so sweet of him to take pictures. Maybe I'll finally make the Famous Patients bulletin board.

And then there were all the Gym Ladies, my mom's friends from body sculpture and step class. Sweet of them to come, too. And my mom's best friend from work. And my mom's best gay friend. And my mom. She was there too, and it seemed like she liked the book, because she asked a bunch of questions.

So fuck Fourteen Cardinals and his queer sci-fi hermit crap. He will never get to experience the warm, moist love of the fans on the book tour.

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