Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tee Dah!

A writer friend urged me to celebrate every little good thing in this business because there are always plenty of bad-writing-days and setbacks to discourage us. I've taken her advice to heart, and often pop open a nice bottle of wine on evenings after I've completed a new chapter, or heck ... even written a decent paragraph. If several writing friends have had good news ... a manuscript sold, a good review, a productive day of writing ... we like to get together for a mini celebration.

So I guess right now it's a champagne moment, because not only has Knopf released this wonderful cover for my next book, Jersey Tomatoes Are the Best, but a talented young man (Jasper Lowe of Thompson Street Productions) has just completed a book trailer for the novel. These are very "big" good things, if you ask me.

They are also time consuming things which, frankly, have very little to do with the actual process of putting words on paper and writing a story. Jasper and I went round and round discussing small details, correcting typos, tracking down the right "actresses" for the video and the right person to do the voiceover. Everything takes longer than you think it will, and before you know it you're spending a LOT of time promoting a book instead of writing one.

When I write, I have to sink down into the world of the story and shut out all the ambient noise of my "real" life. I can't answer the phone or think about errands or make out the grocery list, and I have to set aside HOURS to read passages out loud and "get" my narrator's voice in my head. I'm trying to find a metaphor for this place where I have to travel, imaginatively, and I guess I can most closely liken it to stepping into a padded, soundproof box, alone, and waiting for a video to begin playing.

Facebook, Twitter, press releases, book trailers, blogging, author signings and appearances are diametrically different activities. What's more, the type of person drawn to the latter seems awfully different from the type who enjoys the former. How are we supposed to do this, authors in the brave new world of social media? It seems to require a split personality, at least professionally.

I asked author Robin Brande, who has published two young adult novels (Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature; Fat Cat) how she balances her role as writer with her role as marketer and she said after wrestling with the topic herself and asking other writers what they advise she's concluded that the most important thing for her to do is write the next book. She said adding a hundred followers on Twitter is much less important than making sure the book she's working on is the best it can possibly be. Sure, we can't ignore social media, and we can tweet and blog and friend a bit ... but the lion's share of our energy has to be directed at the next book.

So ... Jersey Tomatoes won't be out until March, 2011, but check out this wonderful video which Jasper Lowe created for it:

Book Trailer

I'm going to sign off, and return to my padded writing cell.

1 comment:

  1. Jasper did a great job - very professional! My daughter liked it better than other YA book trailers she's seen lately. She's looking forward to reading it, as am I.

    On the cover we both wish the dancer looked more like a dancer to match the tennis player. The tomato in the title was cute.

    I remember that first bottle of bubbly.