Friday, January 05, 2007

Sometimes You Put the Pedal to the Metal & All You Do Is Spin Your Wheels

All summer and fall, people asked me when I was going to give Book Promotion 101 workshops again.

"When I can pick up my briefcase with my right hand," was the usual reply.

After more than six months and two surgeries I'm finally able to do so, though I can't carry the briefcase very far if my laptop's in it.

So with some excitement and more than some relief, in November I planned two workshops--LA on Jan. 27 and NYC on March 10. I did everything I usually do to promote them: a "Feature Me" ad on Publishers Marketplace; announcements on my web site & PM page; emails to authors, publicists and literary agents.

I sat back and waited. Boom! Authors started signing up for the NY workshop 4 months early. It's already half full; I'm booking theatre tickets for that weekend.

As for LA, by Jan. 1 I'd heard from just two authors, one of whom registered. So the other day I sent out more email blasts, this time targeted to workshop alumni and my cozier agent pals.

Nada. Go figure.

I'm so desperate for a few days of SoCal sun 'n' fun that I've been composing yet another appeal, which begins, "Little* Bella needs a weekend in Los Angeles. Won't you help?" I won't send it, though; desperation is so unattractive.

After receiving several requests for a Boston workshop and assurances from local authors that they'd absolutely attend, I set up one for Oct. '05. I had wonderful guest speakers and publicists, and the pièce de résistance was its location: the Harvard Club downtown. (Was that cool or what?) I did all the usual publicity per above, plus took out ads on some sites for writers & sent personal emails to Boston agents. Not one single person responded; I cancelled.

The lesson here is that sometimes publicity works; sometimes it doesn't. And after you drive yourself crazy wondering why when it doesn't, you have to figure out when it's time to cut your losses and move on.

It ended up being a good thing that I didn't go to Boston. Instead I went to Denver with my husband--the only weekend he was available to travel--to scout out a new home. Now I wonder what will happen the weekend of the 27th if I don't go to LA. One thing's for certain: I won't be scoping out new digs, though I sure wouldn't mind a trip somewhere warm and dry. (I heard that Southwest is offering a $30 one-way fare to Phoenix. If only I knew someone--anyone!--in Arizona.)

*Never mind that I'm 6' tall!

Edit: I'm going to LA regardless, as a friend there is giving a big party on the 27th. (My motto: "Will travel for parties.")

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