So unlike 99.99999% of American authors, I pass out postcards for my books.
In the days before my Mets book came out in 2004, I combed the Shea Stadium parking lot, dodging security while placing a card (featuring the book cover on one side, information on the other) on every car windshield and in every passing hand. With the Bonds book two years later, I flew out to San Francisco and did the exact same thing.
Now, in 2008, I’m having second thoughts. I recently received 2,000 cards from HarperCollins for Boys Will Be Boys, and I’m debating whether to comb the Texas Stadium parking lots myself, or pay some kids $100 a pop to do so.
On the one hand, I enjoy the work, andâ€”as my parents stressed throughout my youthâ€”I believe in doing every possible job for myself. That’s why I rarely farm out research (well, also because I’m too cheap).
Yet on the other hand, what says “Pathetic” more than an author handing out his own cards in a parking lot? I’ve worked hard to try and establish myself as a writer worth reading (I’m not saying I’m reached that pointâ€”but I’m trying), so do the cards ooze desperation? I’ve often told myself, “Don’t let anyone know you’re the author,” but I’ve got a big mouth. It inevitably comes out.
Anyhow, would love to hear from you. Handing out the cardsâ€”good idea? Or bad idea?