A slew of publicity stuff

I woke up utterly panicked that I couldn’t possibly make it to a launch event in D.C. that I’d scheduled for 5 p.m., given that it was already 5:15 p.m., and nobody would come anyway, because I’d somehow scheduled it right against the main awards event for the SF convention I was attending in D.C. that day, and I felt SO BAD for the venue that had scheduled it, but it just didn’t seem worth trying to hustle across town to get there to read very late to an empty room, so I was nerving myself to call the venue and apologize and ask them to cancel the event.

Sigh. I am not in D.C. today, in case that isn’t clear. There is no actual event scheduled for 5 p.m. today, THANK GOD.

This is where my head is at these days, people. I am reading various guides to publicity, and there is a slew of publicity stuff in the works, because there is no point working hard for years on making something good for the world, if you then fail to *tell* the world about it. (I learned that lesson with Survivor and Perennial, the two books I published in 2018, which no one knows about. Sigh.)

I’m feeling perpetually intensely behind on all of it, mostly because at a big publishing house, they’d schedule book tour months and months in advance, not in this ad hoc scrambling manner. I’m going to the Bay Area next week, but I can’t possibly schedule a reading at Kepler’s, the big bookstore that hosts tons of readings and has a developed audience, because they book many months in advance.

I’m trying to keep reminding myself that I’m in a different situation indie-publishing; I have more leeway and time. At a big house, you really do only have a month, maybe a week, to convince them that your book has legs, before they give up and start spending time and money and energy on the next book in the queue. I *have* no next book in the queue to publicize (plenty to write, but that’s a different story) — all of 2020 will be dedicated to supporting Feast. I don’t have to ‘crush my launch,’ as one marketing book said I had to do. I mean, it would be nice to crush my launch, but it’s not a requirement.

I’m hiring two part-time college student workers for Serendib Press this week (hooray! Kirsten, I’ll get you their info to get them on payroll); they’re coming in Thursday morning to work with Stephanie.

I talked to a very nice book publicist last week, and when I couldn’t possibly afford her actual rates for a real campaign ($9000), she was super-generous and agreed to pull together a targeted list for me from her databases for much, much less. So that’s what Stephanie and the students (both aspiring writers) will be working on, taking the press release we’ve put together, and doing a big mailing to print, media, etc.

Again, all this should have happened six months ago, in some ideal sense, but I’m trying to let that go. The past is a river; that water is long gone. I felt a little better about all this when we booked the Omnivore event (San Francisco), and again booking the Cards board game cafe event (Chicago), and I think we’ve finalized a Sugar Beet Coop event (Oak Park), and a friend and a sister are hosting parties for me in May (New York), and a friend is ALSO hosting a party for me in March (Los Gatos). It really is just a matter of calling and e-mailing and scheduling more of this stuff. It’ll be okay, brain. Stop with the anxiety dreams, okay? They’re not helping.

My therapist asked last week what I’d say to my kids, or to a friend, who was behind on a task and beating themselves up about it. I had to admit that I’d be much nicer to them than I am to myself. I’d talk to them about making a plan, writing a to-do list, checking things off. She asked me to think about why I don’t extend myself the same compassion and understanding that I’d extend to them. I don’t really have an answer for that yet, but trying to at least think about it when the recriminations start going in my brain.

(Benjamin, you may need to start telling me to chill out, if we’re going to survive a book tour road trip together…)

((If you missed it the first time I posted it, THIS is exactly what writing feels like in the current publishing climate — if you pay too much attention to this kind of thing, the stress will strangle any desire to write. It’s awful, but it’s also utterly pervasive in the field: https://www.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10160394752204616&id=746234615))


(side note re: meds and anxiety — one thing the psych person is doing with ADD meds is seeing whether I might also need anxiety meds, but we agree that launching a new business, which is essentially what this is, is the kind of intense situational circumstance that might cause anxiety in the calmest individuals, and we should re-evaluate after launch — my next meeting with her is a week after launch, so hopefully I’ll be in a different state by then!)

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