Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Too Much Promotion?

I strongly believe in the important role authors play in promoting their work. When my first novel was released in 2006, I spent practically every weekend for six months doing signings at Chicagoland bookstores and libraries. I set up a web site and a MySpace page where I started a blog. I flew to the DragonCon fantasy and science fiction convention in Atlanta to speak on panels about writing for kids and getting a book published. Even today, years later, I've still got a few promotional events lined up for the book.

Promotion is fun, too. I'm really looking forward to the upcoming release of my first book with Resplendence, and I'm going to the Romantic Times convention in April so I can do some promotion there. The fact that I'll get to hang around with a lot of other writers and readers, plus see the Mr. Romance competition is icing on the cake. The lesson? Promotion is good!

But is it possible to get carried away? You tell me:

Yesterday I had my annual gynecologist appointment. That is an event that all women dread. The best case scenario is that we get a clean bill of health, but even assuming we do, we must suffer serious humiliation to get there. Feet in stirrups, knees in the air, and someone feeling around down there; it's just overall unpleasant. Plus, it's a fashion faux pas to ever wear that paper gown with nothing but socks. There's always a fear that the team from What Not to Wear might burst in with a film crew and start mocking my outfit.

Anyway, so I'm there on the exam table, trying to participate in a normal(ish) conversation with my doctor. I was seeing a new doctor, so we eventually got around to talking about what I do for a living. I explained about being a writer and told her about my books.

She said that my young adult fantasy novel sounded like just the sort of thing she loves. So I replied that I had some copies in my trunk and would leave one at the front desk for her. It seemed like a normal conversation at the time. I've had a similar talk with many people in the past couple of years, and it kept me distracted from what was happening down below.

While thinking about it afterward, though, I kind of wondered. I promoted my books during a gynecological exam. Is that normal? Do other authors find themselves promoting their books at the most unexpected times? Has any writer left a promotional bookmark on someone's windshield, along with insurance information after they banged into a stranger's car in a parking lot? Do writers tell jail guards about their novels during fingerprinting or a strip search? Do they tell funeral directors about their upcoming book while burying Aunt Marge? I had surgery a few months ago and they used that cool twilight sleep for my anesthesia. I have no idea what happened while that stuff was coursing through my veins, but now I'm wondering if I tried to talk up my books to the hospital staff while I was "under the influence." Probably. Actually, book promotion is no doubt way better than some of the things I could have said while my inhibitions were down.

I guess the lesson here is that promotion can happen anywhere, anytime. Authors just have to be nimble on our …uh… feet so we can take opportunities when they present themselves. Is this an exciting business, or what?

Peace and happy promotions!

Kimberly Garland


Magdalena Scott said...


I went to the gyn last fall and basically had the same conversation with the doctor. I didn't have books with me, but gave her a postcard for each. Hadn't occurred to me til reading your blog that maybe this was an odd thing for me to do. Oh well. ;)

Leigh said...

LOL! Way to go ladies! Much like that favorite catch phrase "Promo Happens."

And hey, don't feel too bad. Last time I was at the Gyn, she pitched three books to me. Awkward!


Kimberly Garland said...

Wow! I'm glad I'm not the only author who's selling books at every opportunity. And I'm REALLY glad that I'm not a publisher who has people pitching books while her feet are in the stirrups! That's got to be a tough rejection to deliver. :)

Annmarie Ortega said...

I think Kim might have scarred me for life with this story... LOL

Blog Widget by LinkWithin