getting nothing out of it other than turning other people onto good books.” (You can see Catherine’s current such project at http://catherinemckenzie.com/52-books-in-52-weeks/)
Relentless recounting of successes by authors (the extreme-don’t-try-this-at-home version of Me! Me! Me!) can also drive other writers insane. Internationally praised historical fiction writer C.W. Gortner, (his most recent book is The Queen’s Vow: A Novel of Isabella of Castile) is the friend I need when the torture becomes too much. As we went back and forth about a recent online debacle, he said:
“Watching that was like a mash-up of Wonder Woman and Shameless. I’m going to Prada to bask in things I cannot afford and escape the Me-Me Circus. It’s getting to the point that Facebook qualifies as an instrument of torture.”
That’s okay. In some ways. I am doing my dream job. And I don’t expect anyone owes me a thing (except not stealing my book. No piracy please. I never did it to a musician: I’m glad my karma is clear.) And then, with in between all that booty-shaking, uber-gracious tweeting, and traveling, you have to write. Most authors will say writing their first book, in the quiet of non-selling, was the most comfortable. I know for me, because of the whole corporate problem my publisher is caught in (ongoing negotiations with Barnes and Noble, which has resulted in almost no Simon & Schuster books being carried at the only major chain bookstore in the United States, http://tinyurl.com/BandNSandSdispute) my promotion time has extended beyond the normal month or two. I’ll be traveling, online and on Amtrak, from February through June, visiting independent bookstores, book clubs, and participating in events. The result is that I’m fighting for a quiet space to write. And the result of that is working seven days a week since my book came out in February.
So, are writers being unseemly? Perhaps some of us are, sometimes. Some appear me-me-me all the time. Laura Harrington (http://www.lauraharringtonbooks.com/), winner of the 2012 Massachusetts Book Award for fiction, says, “I like to think of Katherine Hepburn. She understood stardom, and she also understood privacy.
“Her desire for privacy actually enhanced her mystery and her allure. She will always be considered a ‘class act.’ I think there’s something nearly desperate about some of what’s going on—and that is never attractive.”
I agree with Laura. And yet, I study my numbers. I worry, I watch, and like most authors I vacillate between my desire to be Katherine Hepburn and my pull towards jumping up and down like a contestant on Let’s Make a Deal.
So, when I cringe at another’s (or my own) urges towards me-me-me, I try to remember to allocate a bit of kindness towards writers (like me) trying to dance as fast as we can.
Randy Susan Meyers is the author of The Murderer’s Daughters and The Comfort of Lies. She also co-authored What To Do Before Your Book Launch with M.J. Rose. Find out more at www.randysusanmeyers.com. This article previously appeared April 14 in the blog Beyond the Margins.
Strange Bedfellows—Amazon & Big 6 vs. Indies
Independent booksellers filed suit claiming restraint of trade in Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Inc. et al v. Amazon.Com back in February over Amazon and the Big 6 working out a deal on materials only available in DMZ Kindle-friendly format. Amazon.com, et al fired back to get the case dismissed. The booksellers want to stop the publishers and Amazon from providing apps or restricting digital formats on DRM specific readers, and the independents want to be allowed to sell open-source DRM e-books. PW Daily
Out of Print: The Movie
A documentary of the shift in the book world with the digital revolution premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and narrated by Meryl Streep. http://outofprintthemovie.com/ Publishers Lunch