Léna is also a Regional Manager for Writopia Lab whose mission is to foster joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Falling Down the Rabbit Hole . . . Of Publishing

alice-down-the-rabbit-hole-with-frame-and-wordsImage by bluebirdsandteapots via Flickr
I feel like Alice. I've chased the rabbit, the dream of being a published author, and I have in turns grown too big and then too small. I have made the mistake of thinking that by virtue of being published, I am validated as a person. Personal validation is an inside job, one that I'm getting better at, but at times I'm found in need of remedial help.

So, re: publishing . . . Shall I burst into tears? Or can I access that most-zen aspect of Alice, when she says "Curioser and curioser," an observer as well as a participant, but with ego in check?

I have an agent, a publisher, and a team of friends and colleagues behind me. And yet I fear my little book will get lost in the shuffle as so many do, when we live in a world where Snooki gets not only a book deal but a rush to be in the stores by the New Year. (Yes, I'm looking at you, Barnes and Noble and Borders!)

People ask if there will be a book tour. No. That's just the state of publishing today. My friend Rebecca didn't get sent on a tour until after she won the Newbery award for When You Reach Me. My friend Dave, one of the smartest guys I know, has a lot of suggestions and tough questions about sales and marketing, and reaching independent bookstores. With publishers and their publicists so befuddled these days, its as though authors are interlopers at a tea party held by the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. And I really don't know how to get Edges onto the map of all of those wonderful independent stores across the country. How to be more proactive? I'll have to create my own tour. To NYC I can say: I'll be all over you, I'll bring it, and you won't be disappointed. I will also be in Washington DC the weekend of December 18th, Orlando, Florida in February for President's Week, and possibly in the Bay Area next Spring.

Maybe I'll find out more in the next couple of weeks about an online and an overall marketing plan. If I don't, or if it makes me feel more confused and I do float away on my puddle of tears, I'll just have to remember it is part of my journey and will take me to another opening, another door, and remain curioser and curioser.

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  1. Hi Lena! My name's Jenny. I'm a fellow writer/blogger and I am a long time reader of your grandmother's (I grew up on her fiction but now am really loving her books on writing--Walking on Water and The Rock that is Higher.) I'm *so* excited to hear that you are a writer as well and will be releasing a novel soon! I might be a little older than your "target" audience (I'm 25) but I'll definitely buy your book when it comes out :]

    Writing good stories is a real calling and kudos to you for going for it, writing your first book, getting it pubished and creating your own tour! Let us know if you are coming through Kansas City :)

  2. I'm sure word of mouth will do wonders, Lena! And you'll get that tour eventually.

  3. Thank you both! Hope, as always, your support means the world to me. And Jenny - I'm so happy to "meet" you on here! I really appreciate you introducing yourself, and letting me know that you are a fan of ML'E! xoxo

  4. I know you can't go everywhere, especially on your own dime, but if you should happen to come to Portland (OR), both Powells and Annie Bloom's are great for readings. And I could round up some fellow book lovers to come and see you. :-)

  5. Thank you Kathleen! Portland is definitely on my list of dream places to visit! :D

  6. Brainstorming:
    Several authors I know of do guest blogs or interviews at their friends' blogsites. And being willing to do Skype visit for book clubs, libraries, schools, etc is great. Also, creating a FB page for the book so people can become a fan of EDGES and suggest it to their friends.
    The old saying that if you tell 100 people, and they tell 100 people, etc can go quickly in the cyberworld. All the best!

    -Wonderweigan in Wonderland :)

    P.S. And if you ever get to the Gulf Coast, I'll gather the literary masses. It sounds like you can go from sea to shining sea with the comments here. :)

  7. That be some awesome brainstorming! An FB page . . . hmmm . . . will try to figure that out soon! Thanks friend! ;-)

  8. I'll second Kathleen and Portland and Powells. Hmmmm. I'm going there at the end of the month...

  9. Thanks Lena! :D

    Oh yeah, the FB page is easy to make and good for recruiting because every time someone clicks "like" on your page it pops up in all their friends' news feeds :)

  10. Lena, I understand! This is what all of us fear, and most writers' experience. I actually had an official book tour when my novel came out back in the ancient days of 2006. Though I was flattered and excited, when all was said and done, I couldn't help feeling that the money my publisher spent to send me out could've been better wasted on a well-targeted online campaign.

    So I took up the cause myself, a bit after the fact. I spent an hour or two each day combing the internet for leads - anyone/thing that might connect with the topics of my novel, no matter how obscure. Then I'd write a personalized email and offer to send a complimentary copy, to do a book talk, reading, signing.... It did make an impact, however infinitesimally small. But you have time. (And you could hire an intern!)

  11. Your vibes everywhere are much appreciated, Sandy! And Jennifer, I DID it! Thanks to you ALL, EDGES has it's own FB page, but I have to admit, it wasn't so easy! Although now I see what I did wrong at first. Ah, technology. So humbling!

  12. And Judith! Talk about grassroots campaigning. Awesome!

  13. Ack! Being published doesn't validate you as a person? I will rally my little corner of the world behind you (even though it's not too far from your corner). BTW, thank you for your kind comment on my blog a few weeks ago. Don't know if you saw my follow-up, but I am a hug ML'E fan, too, and love the Upper West Side mostly b/c of her. I love reading your blog and look forward to reading EDGES! How frustrating that the work is far from over once you're published. You are an inspiration, though. Don't lose heart!

  14. Thank you so much Alison! Go Team!


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