Monday, September 3, 2012

The Angst of Marketing and the Pleasure of Manners

Marketing a novel is much harder than writing it. You cannot hide behind the characters any more and must suck it up and step out front making yourself extremely vulnerable. Most writers that I know love people, have real affection and understanding for people, because one of the first attributes of a writer is creating characters readers like well enough to stick with to the end of the book. Great writers create characters we remember after we have read the last line and closed the book to go to sleep: Santiago in Earnest Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea, Jay Gatsby in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, and the unforgettable Scarlet O'Hara, Rhett Butler and Mammy in Gone with the Wind, for example. But, creating characters on the page and interacting with them in person are two different things.

 And what if they don't like your book! Your baby! Your love child! You must now send it out into a world filled with critics. 

The Book Launch is an event filled with excitement, anticipation, and emotion. You have to have passion for the subject about which you write or you wouldn't spend the months alone with it that it takes to write it. You might compare the Book Launch to the trip to the hospital to give birth to that baby. Just like responses to a baby shower, folks have sent notes in response to the invitation

"CAN'T WAIT!!!!!" wrote friends from Anniston who are bringing friends with them.
"This is so exciting. I can hardly wait! Congrats." writes a TSUD professor friend who is bringing her husband as well.
"I definitely want an autographed copy," writes my cousin from Montgomery who plans to come. 

These folks certainly know how to make someone's day.
Another Facebook friend regretted by writing:  "Thank you for invite. Disability prevents many engagements. Will definitely get the book. Love north Florida history." What a gentlemanly regret. 
A friend from Australia wrote:  "As I live in Australia and have too many family responsibilities at the moment so am unable to travel to the USA for a book launch... But I wish
you all the best and will check it out further online as sounds like a fascinating title.

Hope your book launch is a great success."
What a sweetheart!

And then there are those that the Punchbowl people tell me have asked never to be contacted again. I have removed their email addresses from my Contact list and feel badly about cluttering their mailbox. 

I have learned something about net etiquette through this that I will write about on my Manners and Etiquette page on my website Southern-style.  Making the world a kinder, gentler, more uplifting place is such a simple thing. There's a ripple effect to good manners that spreads out into the whole wide world when someone makes us feel good about ourselves. It takes so little effort (sometimes the simple press of a button) to be kind. And that is what good manners is really all about, isn't it?

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