Is Publicity the End of the World?: A Guest Post by Don Rearden

Before I actually signed the publishing contract, before I found an agent, and before I finished my first novel I had come up with clever ways in which I would help sell my book. Okay, I’m lying. I’d never thought about that stuff — didn’t even consider it, in fact. Beyond a little concern about how terrible my handwriting is and how I would ruin the books people wanted me to sign, I hadn’t really allowed myself to dream of what I would do when my first novel finally came out.

Then, after signing a contract with that same goofy signature, I discovered I actually had a ton of work to do before the novel came out. If I wanted people to read my book I would need to work on publicity, of all things! Develop a platform, a website, start a blog, Twitter, and even start a Facepage (which is my mom’s endearing name for Facebook).

In the depths of writing my novel I spent an enormous amount of time pondering the apocalypse. To be honest, the self-promotion and salesmanship I would need to partake in sounded worse than the end.

Which brings me to the end of this posting — as I flounder and bungle my way towards the next few months of publicity prior to my book coming out, I am realizing that this isn’t the end of the world. A writer can actually have a little fun with this nightmarish idea of actually working to share one’s writing with the world. One might even be surprised about how excited people are to help and share their knowledge and time, even in today’s over-saturated media crazy market!

My book doesn’t come out until January 25th, 2011 — last week I spent three days in the Amazon Canada top 100 list. Surely this is a sign of the apocalypse, or I just have friends and family who really love me, or just maybe this publicity stuff won’t kill me after all.

1 thought on “Is Publicity the End of the World?: A Guest Post by Don Rearden”

  1. Hi Don, In a way, you are talking about the work one has to do on behalf of the work. Antonio Machado wrote, “In order to write a poem, you have to invent a poet to write it.” It seems to me that to do the work that the created stuff demands one must also invent the writer. Or at least shine one's self up a bit; work on the public self, to prepare (perhaps) for fame by being, publicly, the person you have worked to become. I, for instance, have learned to blow my nose more silently. This is good news to many. Used to shoving something in my mouth while typing (as I am now), I have considered eating appropriately when at table with others. If interviewed and asked about my influences, I will not roll my eyes as if to say "that old tiresome question.." and, instead, I'll have a collected and intelligent response ready (Don't ask now). The self in my head is ready for the world but I do want to bring that self forward as composed as a valedictorian. I don't want to drop the ball just because I didn't know what it would be like and when the TV lights shine on me, I don't want to be wearing a shirt with tiny stripes (makes the camera do crazy things). There's more to this than this brief response but if the work demanded by our books, movies, and other end products takes ten times that spent in the making, then I want to give as much to it. Like you said there are rewards — in sales, in friend making and in making a life of this zany vocation.

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