You realize that Tied to the Tracks is about to come out, right? You might not realize — because I just found out myself — that the publication date has been moved up to June 8. Three days from now.
Now, of course I hope you go out and get a copy but what I was brought up to say is something like this:
Of course it may not be your kind of book, and please don’t worry about it if you don’t have time/energy/interest/money/inclination or you’re too busy/too depressed/not interested/caught under a large piece of furniture without hope of escape. Because of course books are expensive and you probably have more important/interesting/rewarding things to do with your money. So really, I insist that you don’t bother. Send your money to the charity of your choice, I’ll feel so much better about that.
That’s what I should say, according to the good sisters of St. Francis who were my teachers at St. Benedict. Self promotion was as horrifying as self abuse in that setting. Modesty and humility, those were the things that mattered.
Case in point. I am sitting, right now, at Starbucks getting up the energy to open the PJ manuscript. I sit at a corner table so nobody can come up behind me and read what I’m writing. It’s right next to the pickup spot on the counter. Two women just came over to ask me about my computer. This happens once in a while; mac people are drawn together by a mysterious magnetic-y force. So they come over, admire the computer, remark on the new intel based macs, and then they ask me what I do.
Here’s my standard answer, which I gave them: “I’m a writer.”
Sometimes people ask what I write. I prefer that they don’t, but I answer if they do ask. This time they didn’t ask, but because I’m sitting here writing about the challenges of a new book coming out, I was infected — infected, I use the word purposefully — with the need to be proactive. So I said: As a matter of fact, I have a new novel coming out this week. On Thursday.
Oh? came the answer. With a slightly glazed look. The oh no look. The more information than I wanted look. The how quickly can I walk away look. But having jumped in, I wasn’t going to drown. I said: A novel. called Tied to the Tracks. On Thursday!
Then they went away, leaving me here to feel embarrassed, but also with the odd and almost irresistable urge to stand up and talk to the whole room. In my old teacher voice.
Hey! If you come in here regularly and often see me sitting right here typing, you might be interested to know — well okay, you might not but I’m telling you anyway. What I was writing was this novel (holding up example I don’t have with me) about half of which I wrote write here. It’s a darn good novel. BookList says so. So on Thursday, why not wander by the bookstore and have a look? Why not INVEST in my writing career? You’ll get a good story and my thanks.
You know what? I bet that would cost me sales. I bet people who might otherwise have picked up Tied to the Tracks will decide, when they do happen to see it in a store, not to. Because of the weird, self promoting, loud mouthed author.
You see my dilemma. The damnedifIdodamnedifIdon’t nature of the beast.
However. If you are reading these words you came on your own power, and so to YOU I can say: (repeat refrain).
If you have time, of course. And interest. You would find it — if you’re so inclined, really, no obligation, at Amazon, at Barnes and Noble, at your local independent bookseller by means of Booksense, or you could order a copy from Village Books, my local independent. You can even request first edition signed and/or inscribed copy — I stop by there to take care of such things — and then they ship it off to you. Give ’em a call (360 671-2626). If you are so inclined.