Thursday, September 01, 2011


I don’t know from one day to the next what I may blog about. I may wax philosophically one day and ponder the dynamics of dryer lint the next. Then there are those days when I don’t write a darn thing, nothing sparking an ounce of motivation.

Pursuing a billboard in Times Square has sparked much motivation. I’m so far outside of my comfort zone that I don’t know if I’m going to be able to find my way back once this is all done and finished. And that might not be a bad thing.
Today, I passed out promotional material about myself and my books. I’d designed and ordered promo cards months ago and they’ve been sitting pretty on an end table waiting for attention. The few that actually made it into my purse had to be tossed, the edges so weathered that it was darn right embarrassing. But today, I pulled up my big girl panties, sucked in a deep breath, and passed out over a hundred of them. I pushed cards wherever I went. Doing so pushed me to engage in conversation with complete strangers about myself and my books. By card number 25 I’d hit my groove and was doing it like an old pro, easily asking folks to visit my website and to vote for me at

The first few times I couldn’t help but think about my mother and her admonishments when I was a little girl and we would go visit family and friends. “Don’t get in there and ask for anything,” she’d say, her index finger shaking inches from my nose. Or my personal favorite, “Act a fool if you want to and see if I don’t act a fool on your behind when we get home”. Asking for votes these first few times has felt like I was begging for a cookie when I knew it would not bode well back at home. But the more I thought about my mother, I couldn’t help but remember each time she loudly announces to anyone who’ll listen that I am her daughter the writer with eleven published books. My mother would have passed out cards, sold books and had people voting like their lives depended on it.

I am very much responsible for promoting my books because as a mid-list author, whether I have national, best-selling acclaim or not, there is no one else out here promoting me and my mother can't always be there. And, truth be told, before this I wasn’t doing but so much promotion. I’m really didn’t think that I was any good at that sort of thing. I would blush and get tongue tied and I can’t begin to tell you why but perhaps it has something to do with my extremely shy personality. Now I have friends who’ll raise an eyebrow at that statement, but I truly am very shy in certain situations. Not all of them, but most of them.

In the last few years my books have done very well but I imagine that they’d have done even better if I’d been out on the road promoting myself along with them. In the past I’ve avoided the writer’s conferences and it’s been a rare occasion where I’ve done book signings. But that too has to change. I understand that if I really want to expand my audience then I need to get out here and meet people one on one. Readers need to know that I’m really not as uptight or as annoying as I might seem. And I know I've been some sort of annoying the past few days. But probably not as much as I'll be until September 20th and I win me a billboard! I’m also quite funny when I don’t try to be and I can be pretty engaging when the moment moves me.

Writing is hard work and when all is said and done, promoting that writing experience is even harder. I’ve been wading through it all like one might dip their toes into a kiddy pool just to get wet. So now I’m pulling on my hip boots so I can walk thigh high in the midst of the Promo River. So, please, wish me luck as I go wading in the promotional waters. And as I get myself good and wet, please do VOTE! Thank you.


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Deborah Mello said...

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