Now comes the selling part of Mr. Joe: Tales from a Haunted Life. The writing is finished, early copies and e-books are appearing, and we have begun our publicity campaign. Fortunately, Joe and I have a publicist who knows her way around the business of spreading the word, but that doesn’t let us off the hook.
I could say that publicity is the building of awareness, but it’s all selling, whatever name you give it. I am bad at selling. I dislike it. Sure, I like SELLING BOOKS—the more, the merrier--but not the act of selling books. Many other writers will tell you the same thing: We like to write. We aren’t meant to be extroverts. We feel awkward pushing our products.
I’ve probably told you my theory on the division of people. Some people are better on paper, and others are better in person. Writers generally fit into the first category and publicists in the second.
And you know that authors must participate in publicity campaigns. Sometimes that participation is painless, as it was yesterday when I entered Mr. Joe in a contest and applied to have it featured in a local book festival. All I had to do was assemble and package the books, applications, information sheets, and a check for the contest entry. I did have to leave the house to take the items to the Post Office, but all in all it was easy. It required organizational skills and a bit of writing for the book festival committee, which wanted a brief synopsis. That was fun.
Selling can also mean approaching others in person, introducing oneself, and proceeding to talk up the product. Fortunately, I have a co-author who looks forward to this phase. Joe will gladly assume the heavy lifting when we are out and about, promoting Mr. Joe; after all, he IS Mr. Joe.
I am relieved at this changing of the guard. I was the sole author on my first book. My brother was a loyal supporter, often traveling with me and sitting in the audience, but I was doing the personal book promotion alone. This time we’ll be together, sharing the publicity phase as we did the writing phase. Soon we’ll be doing the part Joe thinks is the most fun.For Christmas I bought Joe a sweatshirt that says, “ASK ME ABOUT MY BOOK.” He’s been wearing it all winter, and a variety of folks from grocery store clerks to strangers have asked. He likes that. I would have worn the sweatshirt inside out, because I don’t have the same skill set as Joe. It’s not a criticism, just more about my theory on the division of people.
Mr. Joe is a combination of our greatest talents. It’s a perfect balance. We worked together on the book, and we’ll work together on the publicity; that’s teamwork. But take it from someone who’s better on paper: It will be Joe’s time to shine.