A successful publicity campaign begins months before a book is released. It’s designed to generate interest, stimulate pre-orders, and ensure the buzz behind the book translates into actual sales. It’s a long, arduous process that is supposed to be fun. Yes, fun. Especially if your idea of fun includes hitting a brick wall of resistance no matter whom you contact or what you pitch.
At first, I thought it was just me. I’m new to the whole process of contacting people and publications that might be interested in helping me promote my book. But I later discovered it’s a little more complicated than that. In fact, if I thought writing was hard and finding a publisher even harder and securing an agent completely impossible, then the reward to effort ratio for securing publicity out beat all of them.
1. I am not famous. When you’re famous, your publicist becomes your gatekeeper so that you are not inundated with frivolous requests of your time and talent which could be better spent producing new work, which is what you solely do.
2. I am not rich. Without a monthly budget of $20,000 to hire the top tiered publicist in the nation, I cannot expect to receive $20,000 of endorsements each month no matter how much I wish, hope, and pray.
3. I am ordinary. And not the oh-so-ordinary-girl-next-door-refreshingly-quaint ordinariness that inspires fame and fortune like Jennifer Garner, but the she-would-be-brilliant-if-she-stopped-making-emotional-decisions ordinary.
Therefore, I need to approach publicity from a different angle, focusing on the themes of my book. Although my memoir, Red Eggs and Good Luck, deals with a wide range of topics from ambition, childhood, courage, cultural differences, faith, family, forgiveness, identity, marriage, resilience, weight, and womanhood, I’ve been repeatedly asked by interested parties to write new material that addresses the intersection of the Chinese culture and the Catholic faith. I do not understand the public’s fascination with the Chinese Catholic experience anymore than I understand their obsession with the Amish mafia.
But I’ve been asked to become a witness to this unique experience. It’s what the public wants. And if I want any publicity for my memoir, then I must deliver what the public wants. It’s the only way to get past the brick wall of resistance.