My new novel’s in stores–I think

September 5th, 2008

Someday I’ll figure out how this publishing stuff works, because I’m always confused.  For instance, my official pub date is September 10 but friends have already seen The Smart One and the Pretty One in stores (I haven’t) and I’ve noticed it’s available for order on Amazon.  So I guess it’s kind of “out.”  Now comes the fun part!

Did I say “fun”?  I meant agonizing.

Well, more accurately, both. 

It really is a great feeling to see your book out on a “new releases” table at your local bookstore–it’s a heady, exciting, anything’s possible kind of feeling, especially if you dreamt of being a published writer since you were a little kid.  (I really did, too.  I never wanted any other career although I did daydream about getting a guide dog.  I had awful eyesight and really wanted a pet.)

Anyway, that’s the good, fun part.  The agony comes when you notice all the OTHER books on the “new releases” table and realize they’re competing with yours for readers.  And probably outselling yours.  (Let’s be honest–I ain’t no Sophie Kinsella or Meg Cabot when it comes to sales.) 

Once my kids and I were in a Barnes and Nobles in New York and we saw a young woman pick up my novel (Knitting under the Influence had just come out), look at it, and then put it back down.  The kids were dying to run up to her and tell her to buy it, but I was too embarrassed.  She picked something else to take home.

That’s my problem: I’m very self-conscious and easily embarrassed, which explains the other reason having a book is so agonizing for me–I’m supposed to get out there and SELL it.  I was just talking to another author (the delightful and brilliant Liza Palmer) about the great irony of choosing to become a novelist because you LIKE to sit at home all day by yourself and stare at a computer, and then discovering–as soon as you actually have a publisher–that you’re supposed to be a brilliant, extroverted salesperson, too.

So we do what we must and I’m honestly not complaining because I know how incredibly lucky I am to get to do what I love, and if my career occasionally forces me to leave my house in the evening (something I spend way too much energy trying to avoid) then so be it.  Which reminds me:

I have a booksigning at Village Books in the Pacific Palisades this coming Wednesday, the 10th, at 7:30.  Anyone who knows me knows that this is my favorite bookstore in the world, and not just because it’s five minutes from my house.  Read my blog about it at bookstorepeople.com and you’ll see why I love it.  Or come to the reading and see for yourself.

I’m also reading and signing at Book Soup–another great, independent bookstore–in West Hollywood on Saturday the 13th at 5 pm.   Another cool store for you to check out (preferably while I’m there reading, since I’m always terrified no one will show up). 

And if you come around 5 on Saturday, look for me.  I’ll be the one with a big smile on her face and the look of terror in her eyes . . .

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