Humor: Bad Publicity


Humor: Bad Publicity

Rebecca Klempner

My latest book has just come out—meaning, it has arrived in the United States, but not yet at my home. In general, that’s a good thing. But it’s also preventing me from writing my next book.

Last week was my “off week,” meaning that I didn’t have to do the copy editing for this fine publication. Usually, I get to write, write, write during such weeks. In fact, when one of my appointments canceled on me due to the flu, I secretly rejoiced because I assumed it would give me two extra hours to work on my next book.

But this was what really happened:

SUNDAY: I exchanged emails with my editor requesting a change to my book’s marketing blurb on the publisher’s website. After that, I carefully crafted a friendly (not desperate, not demanding) note to bloggers to ask them to review Adina at Her Best or interview me.

MONDAY: I hunted down all those bloggers’ email addresses and so on, then sent out the note I concocted the previous day. As I pressed SEND, I prayed, “Please G-d, let them think my book is good. Or at least not extremely bad.”

TUESDAY: I sent PDF versions of my novel to those who responded positively to Monday’s emails and private messages. Then I drafted a letter about author visits.

WEDNESDAY: I sent out tweets, posted on Facebook, and began to plan a MailChimp campaign.

THURSDAY: I asked my editor yet again when I might receive my copies of the book, then I set up my book’s Goodreads page.

I need my book to sell well because 1) that means more royalties for me, 2) royalties help pay exorbitant L.A. rent, and 3) no one wants me to need to find a job other than writing.

(In case you doubt #3, let me assure you that the last time I had a desk job, I fell asleep at my desk regularly out of boredom, a lack of human interaction, and too little sunlight. And when I was a teacher, I worked so hard at trying not to blow a gasket at nudgy children each day that at the end of the day, my gasket would blow at home, where my own nudgy children live.)

When you become a writer, you think you will be writing. But there’s a lot more to it. After you write, you revise—a lot. Then you spend time looking for potential publishers for your latest masterpiece, selecting the one most likely to accept your work. And then you must send them a query letter or submission.

And if your story gets rejected, you get to begin this process all over again. I have one short story I’ve revised seven times and submitted 12. I have a picture book manuscript I have submitted to 10 publishers and about a dozen agents. I think I’ve spent more time trying to sell these stories than writing them.

Meanwhile, I would like to rewrite my next novel and submit it to some agents, and last night, I had a wonderful short story idea that I was planning to write later today. Yet, here I am, preparing my humor column again, because I must hit my deadline. After that, I need to edit the Jewish Home-LA’s local content.

If I finish those jobs before I need to make dinner, there about five more marketing tasks on my To-Do list.

Maybe next week I’ll get to write my new short story.