Doing Publicity

Yesterday, I made a mistake: I drank coffee. But it was so delicious, a Starbucks skinny peppermint mocha, that I couldn’t help it. All right, I could have helped it. Either way, I could not get to sleep until 4:00 a.m., which gave me plenty of time to work on “Blanchefleur” (the story I’m writing right now). But this afternoon I was so tired that I fell into a deep sleep, and when I woke up I was so dazed that I drank water the wrong way. The way where you get it all over your chin. Trust me, I’ve tried it and it doesn’t work. (You can still try it yourself, of course. I’m just saying.)

So anyway, this post is about doing publicity.

I’m not very good at doing publicity. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m introverted and hypersensitive, which basically means that I tend to be overwhelmed by both physical and mental stimuli before people who aren’t those things (physical stimuli = anything sensory, such as noise or smells; mental stimuli = stress). I’m in a profession with high levels of both those things. So into my daily routine, I incorporate moments of rest, moments of silence. Reading is highly restful for me, as is writing: I can escape into writing, as though into my own country.

Although writing is restful, publicizing your writing is stressful, whether it’s online or in person. (I love conventions, but especially at conventions I need to find quiet spaces. I love the noise and the bustle, and even the stress of it for a while – but after that while I need to lie down in a dark room.) But you have to do publicity. If you want a writing career nowadays – and I don’t mean if you want to write, because all that takes is writing, but if you want a writing career – you do need to be willing to publicize your work. So what do you do?

Well, I have a book coming out in January. (Have you heard? As though I haven’t mentioned it enough!) It looks like this:

And it works like this:

So I’m trying to make sure that people hear about it. Of course, in the grand scheme of things there’s not a lot I can do: the publisher has a publicity department, and the people there know so much more about this than I do, and are so much better than I am. But I want to do what I can, in part because I care about this book, as I care about all my stories and poems – I feel almost as though they were my children (the children of my mind and heart), and I don’t want to simply sent them into the world without support.

So what to do? Well, first, you’ll see a new page on this website, listed in the menu above: Novels. I’m considering The Thorn and the Blossom my first novel, and on that page I’ll have information about the book. I’ll also be writing about the book on this blog – about how I wrote it, what I was thinking at the time.

Second, I’ve already posted this on Facebook and tweeted about it on Twitter, but I’ll mention it here as well: if you’re a blogger and you’d like a review copy, send me your address and URL, and I’ll try to get you one. (You can contact me on Facebook or Twitter, or simply by email: And I’ll probably link to and quote from reviews here.

Third, once the book is out, I’ll remind people that if they do decide to read it, they can review it on the book’s Amazon or Goodreads pages. Even if you don’t have a platform like a blog, you can offer your opinion. Or, you know, you can just rate it. Or even just press “like.” (Well, assuming you like it, of course!) Those are all ways of getting the word out.

Oh, and by the way, I’ve been updating my Amazon Author Page. Feel free to “like” that too (but only, you know, if you actually do!).

(This is for writers, but did you know that if you have a story in an anthology and you’re listed in the table of contents, you need to tell Amazon so you’re listed as an author? It’s not done automatically. This is the sort of thing writers need to know when they’re starting out, because they often start with short stories, and it can look as though they haven’t written anything when in fact they’ve been published and reprinted in a number of places.)

And then there will be the more personal things, like readings. Soon, I’ll be posting where you can see me in 2012, but it will certainly include Boskone, the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, Readercon, and the World Fantasy Convention. And at least some readings around Boston . . . I’ll post a more complete schedule.

It sounds kind of exhausting, doesn’t it? There are things I love about it, because I do genuinely love talking to people. (I don’t blog, or use Facebook or Twitter, because I want to publicize myself or my work. I do it because I want and need to maintain a connection with people, including friends of mine who are so far away, and people I barely know who are nevertheless fascinating and brave and kind.) But honestly, I don’t love it as much as I loved being awake last night at 3 a.m., with Ivan (called the Idiot) in the castle of the Lady of Cats.

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9 Responses to Doing Publicity

  1. It takes deep love and a devoted passion to battle the beasts of hyper-awareness of stimuli. I admire you for it all. And, I cannot wait to read your treasure. Thank you so much for sharing it all with the world at large.

    There is so much more to say, but for now I will practice patience and anticipation.
    I wish you satisfying success.

  2. Theodora, with you all the way on publicity… It’s tiring, though I love people, and one is not writing while doing it! The book looks lovely. I shall put it on my to-read list and to-blog list. (I wonder, whatever happened to our novellas collection… You wrote such a lovely introduction.) And you have a plan. Congrats!

  3. Marly, I think the collection has been dead since the economic downturn. You might want to check and see if you can sell the story elsewhere. I know Nicole did that . . . And thanks! 🙂

  4. This morning I got a lovely email from Amazon about our novel. How did they know? By
    clever advertising like secret clockwork in “Hugo?” Anyway I was delighted but I think I would
    like to wait and buy it at Fogcon in March. (1) Because then I can discuss it with other attendees.
    (2) I’m not sure about royalties but I novelist friend of mine prefers her work to be purchase in
    stores or at cons. (3) It will be an event to remember.

  5. “Our” novel? Your novel. My typo…except in a larger way, it is “our” novel as readers. I know I
    can count on your originality and musical prose to give me (us – the readers) what we look for,
    which is enchantment.

  6. I think it is “our” novel! I may have written it, but it won’t take final form until it’s read and happens in the reader’s head. My Brendan won’t necessarily be the reader’s Brendan. It’s kind of nice, that writing is collaborative in that way . . . 🙂

  7. How do you let Amazon know you have a story in an anthology?

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