What? Publicist? My publicist?
I read this sentence about three times before it made any sense to me, and when I skimmed on through the rest of the email, several more key phrases popped out at me:
“Interviews: I have mailed a copy of the book to your hometown newspaper…”
“Book signings: …call your local bookstore…ask if they would be interested in a signing…”
“Public speaking: …organizations that target your book’s audience are a great place to do a reading…”
I freaked out. And not in a good way. My heart rate went up and I started squeaking at my dad and sister that I couldn’t understand it, that I was one out of 101 people in this book, and how could I possibly justify something like a book signing based on that? If I were one out of five, or one of of ten, then maybe–
Then my sister pointed out the bits of the email I’d overlooked in my alarm:
“…if you are interested in hosting a signing…”
“…if you do not wish to be contacted for interviews…”
Nice going, Ari.
Still, I find it interesting to ponder why I reacted to this the way I did. As I explained to my father in my earlier moment of panic, a lot of it had to do with the fact that my contribution to this book felt so minimal that I couldn’t imagine why a book signing with any one contributor made any sense.
Another part probably had to do with the fact that organizing a book signing is a lot of work (finding a venue, advertising, making/posting flyers, etc.), which also seemed hard to justify based on my having contributed such a tiny part of the whole. Additionally, while I would fully expect to be involved in marketing a book that I wrote, it never even occurred to me I might be asked to do that for an anthology (maybe it was in my contract and I just forgot?).
Finally, there was the fact that it just felt uncomfortable–sort of weirdly pretentious–to hold something like a signing (or even an interview) in this kind of situation. I mean, the piece that I submitted was written several years ago, and my actual submission was a pretty casual affair of copy-paste-obliviate! I just feel like I didn’t put any work into the finished product (apart from one round of edits), so how could I hold a signing for that?
But the more I think about it, the more I realize that the true problem here is that, in my efforts to not draw “undeserved” attention to myself, I’m actually taking a rather selfish view of the whole affair. After all, I’m not marketing just myself; I’m also marketing the other contributors and the book itself (not to mention the series) and doing my part to help the publisher. Moreover, maybe I should be considering this a practice run for actually having a book of my own. And the more I think about it, the less scary it seems.
Anyhow, I’m still undecided, but I’m at least considering it.
Thoughts, dear readers? Leave a comment if you have an opinion/advice/whatever. Maybe I’ll just crowdsource my decision.