Promoting a book is hard.
Let me start again.
If you desperately want it to sell, promoting a book is hard.
If you don’t really care, and it was all just about writing, well, it’s easy. If someone wants to talk, you talk. If no one wants to talk, you don’t talk. The satisfaction comes solely in the completion of a dream. And, to be clear, I 100 percent dig that. I don’t care if a book sells 5 million copies or five copies—it’s a labor, and one should feel good about it.
That being said, I need my books to sell. First, because it’s my career. Second, because there are three other people in my house whose bodies need food to survive. And fourth, because I’ve reached a point where while the writing is still amazingly satisfying, people reading said writing adds a ton of oomph.
Hence, as the publication date of my eighth book approaches, for the eight time in my life I spent a day roaming a stadium parking lot, handing out promotional postcards (printed, kindly, by the good folks at Houghton Mifflin). For the first time, though, one of my kids actually came along to help. Our son Emmett, 11, not only roamed the lots of StubHub Center before Saints-Chargers, he enthusiastically slipped cards beneath the windshield wipers of hundreds of vehicles.
In case you’re wondering, it’s a quirky, funky, fun thing to do. First, you’re ALWAYS dodging security. Looking left, looking right. (These are life skills that will do the boy well shall he ever become a street-corner drug dealer or a ticket scalper. So, hey, that’s wonderful). Second, circumstance forces one to be creative. What commenced as mere card-window-card-window-card-window turned a bit … eh … well … um … weird.
Like this …
And this …
To be honest, Emmett wasn’t initially jazzed. But he got into it; caught the spirit.
Also to be honest, I’m pretty sure if I hand out 1,000 postcards, I’m generating no more than, oh, 20 sales.
So why is this ritual? Well, superstition. Also promoting a product you believe in. Putting yourself behind it. Showing that you care enough to wander a lot as people glance your way as if you’re a giant scab.
Spending time with your kid.