In the new world of book promotion, I’m finding the mass media monolith (alliteration is irresistible) of a short seven years ago when I published my last novel has devolved into a beach of promotional shards.
I think I might even like this landscape better, but it certainly is different.
Rather than speak to a hundred book salespeople at a mini-conference, I am going from store to store for short morning chats before the doors open. While it’s great to meet the people who might choose to hand sell my novel, I feel like I am speed-dating a hundred individuals this month.
When it comes to a blog tours, I stumbled across a joke I had missed when I was interviewed on Steven Beattie’s That Shakespearean Rag. I asked him how it was possible that the Canada Council could be funding blog tours when there are no expenses involved in that type of promotion. He smiled and reminded me the news item had run in the Quill and Quire on April 1. I realized I had missed the joke.
That interview was quite wonderful, at least partially because we talked intensely for an hour and Steven wrote the profile. Much harder are the new style interviews in which the host blog poses a series of questions the author should reply to. These types of interviews do provide a lot of space for an author, but I find I keep searching for ways to talk about my book in a manner I haven’t used before. I’m writing my own profile again and again, which is somewhat harder than merely talking about it again.
Perhaps it’s good to stretch this way.
Of course, one can’t help but be a little repetitive. Amusingly, I have noticed on my Facebook page that the number of “likes” is very high when I link to early interviews and reviews, and much lower later on.
No complaints. It’s wonderful to be out and noticed for one’s work, but one gets noticed in a different way now.
I’ve been very lucky in my reviews so far, having been covered in the National Post, The Vancouver Sun (with a reprint in the Montreal Gazette) and the Toronto Globe and Mail. That last review by Donna Bailey Nurse was particularly insightful.
Newspaper reviews are, of course, the remainder of the old monolith. But TV and radio shows about books have fallen on hard times. There are far fewer of them. Lost in the last few years were TVO’s Imprint, Newsworld’s Hot Type, and CBC Radio One’s Talking Books. Thank God for the ones that remain, namely Shelagh Rogers’s The Next Chapter and Eleanor Wachtel’s Writers and Company.
And what of the contact between writers and readers? The late Paul Quarrington told the story of stopping at a strip mall to buy worms for a fishing trip, only to see someone reading one of his novels on the sidewalk. He approached the man and said he was the author of the book. The reader looked up skeptically from the book and said, “No you’re not.”