The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Thursday, June 26, 2008

New Author Angst

by Tricia Dower

Present fears are less than horrible imaginings.
— Macbeth

A recurring dream is of suddenly remembering I left a baby on a closet shelf, so long ago I’m sure it’s dead. With dread and remorse I hurry to the closet – it’s always the small, dark closet of the attic bedroom I slept in as a child. And the baby is always there, miraculously alive, clutching a bottle of curdled milk. Dream analysts might say the baby represents creativity I’ve allowed to go lie dormant or aspects of my inner child I’ve denied. When I’m in the dream, however, it’s about guilt.

I’m living that dream these days as Silent Girl lies out there where I’m unable to see her, unable to hover and make sure she’s okay. I worry about not having done enough to get her noticed. I stalk online book sellers looking for clues that she’s alive. Google her name for new mentions. Rearrange her at local bookstores so she’ll catch someone’s eye. Write to people who might find her interesting. Shakespeare groupies, for example.

Did you know there are at least 150 Shakespeare Festivals in North America? You can enjoy Shakespeare in a park, by the sea, on the beach and on the sound, in a parking lot, in a vineyard or in a tavern. There’s even an all-female Shakespeare troupe in San Francisco. I found festivals in Alabama, Alaska, British Columbia, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Brunswick, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Ontario, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Saskatchewan, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. And most of them provide e-mail addresses for individuals in charge of educational programs, artistic production, donations, volunteers, costumes and gift shops. I’ve written to them all.

In some respects, promoting the book is harder than writing it was. Instead of hiding away to immerse myself in a fictional world, I must become a gregarious huckster. And, I don’t have a bunch of words at the end of the day to show my efforts are paying off. Yesterday was a good day because an article I wrote promoting the book appeared on Backstory. And, an old friend wrote that he came across the book in his local Indigo and loved my “quirky metaphors and off-the-wall constructions.”

That’s me. Quirky and off-the-wall with angst. Perhaps I’ll visit my book again tomorrow at Munro’s or write to more strangers. And, then again, maybe I'll take a day off and watch the Tall Ships sail into Victoria's harbour. The baby on the shelf will keep for one more day.


Blogger Tania Hershman said...

I could tell you that your angst is perfectly normal, but what do I know? Thanks for giving us honest insight into how it is after the book comes out. I have no doubt - as I approach this myself - that promoting is harder than writing. Did we sign up as promoters? Did we long for the life of promotion? I don't think so. But the baby is ok, it's fine, the milk is a little off, but you can fix that.

Thu Jun 26, 10:07:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Andrew Tibbetts said...

I really felt that dream as I read it! That's a gut wrencher.

What can we do for silent girl? I'm going to suggest it to people I know who are in book clubs!

Thu Jun 26, 11:26:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

That's right, Tania. You WILL be going through this very soon. You've maybe got a leg up with the connections you've established with The Short Review and the practice you have promoting it, but when it's your own work, it feels different.

Thu Jun 26, 11:43:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Thanks, Andrew. That would be great if you mention it to book club members. They can get the same discount as bookstores if they order in quantity directly from Inanna. Plus, I'll be happy to participate in their meeting by telephone. Two book clubs in Victoria are doing my book this fall and I'm going to attend their meetings in person. It should be fun.

Thu Jun 26, 11:46:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Jacqueline said...

I loved this blog.

It's so honest and dreams are wonderful in what they tell us about ourselves!

Fri Jun 27, 09:34:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Thanks, Jacqueline. I find dreams fascinating and love to slip into their magical world that has its own physical laws.

Fri Jun 27, 03:10:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger T. Lee said...

I love the honesty of this post, too. That angst, I'm sure, is very common. Seems to me you're doing a great job of self-promotion. Do you have a promotion plan? It would overwhelm me, I'm sure.

Mon Jun 30, 01:03:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Thanks, Tamara. I DO have a plan and I've been working it. Time will tell as to whether it's effective.

Tue Jul 01, 03:42:00 pm GMT-4  

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