Recently my local writers' group, Southern Magic, asked me to lend some words of advice to pre-published authors about promoting their work. As the publication date of Forget You approaches, I thought it might be helpful to show everyone my checklist of promotional opportunities that I'm taking advantage of this time around.
1. I am having a parade through downtown Birmingham.
This will be my sixth promotional parade, and let me tell you, it never gets old. The rush I get as I perform the pageant wave...the way people stop on the sidewalk to stare at me as I pass by...this is what being a famed author is all about.
Now, what always happens after my parade is that I get e-mail messages from a few wise guys who want to make fun of me because the police pulled me over for driving too slowly and, perhaps, weaving. Let me just stop you before you hit send because that policeman is not pulling me over. He is my ESCORT and everybody knows a parade has an ESCORT.
Let me also say this. Last year I heard super-agent Steven Axelrod speak about promotion at a writers' convention. His opinion was that when an author invents a new sort of promotion, that first author is the one who gets all the good out of it. Other authors will rush to imitate it, but they will not have the same sort of success. So I am telling you what I'm doing for promotion for Forget You, but I'm not necessarily advocating that you all follow exactly in my footsteps. I am looking at you, Ms. Ferrer.
2. I am going to be a contestant on "Dancing with the Stars." I do not even need to be paired with a partner/coach. I am going to bring down the house with my rendition of the robot.
3. I am going to decorate a well-known Birmingham landmark with the book cover.
Again, when your little fingers are itching to type me a message about my arrest while I was tying a banner to the base of the statue of Vulcan without permission...the police were just there to make sure I didn't need anything while I was working. Water? Coffee? Champagne? Look, I am trying to help you here, and I do not need your constant sniping. You are just jealous.
4. I am starring in my own reality show. I actually got this idea from the most famous person from Alexander City, Alabama--after me, of course--Terrell Owens. My show is going to be called "The J. E. Show" and it will document my heart-wrenching journey back to town, where I am so famous that I cannot even go to Wal-Mart without being surrounded with clamoring fans. On his show, Terrell went back to visit the high school football team. Likewise, I visited the high school library recently and they did not have a single copy of any of my books. I am sure they were all checked out.
The show was supposed to have debuted already. Unfortunately, there has been a production delay. My eight-year-old son stars in the show--his usual role is to tug and my skirts and coo, "O Mother, that I would be as loved and lauded someday!" but he is not currently presentable on camera. It seems that his third-grade class has been reading Chocolate Fever by Robert Kimmel Smith, and the teacher encouraged them to draw measles-like lesions all over themselves with brown markers. Isn't that adorable! She said the markers were washable. THEY ARE NOT. I have a sneaking suspicion that Robert Kimmel Smith purposefully sabotaged my promotion campaign with his own promotion campaign, but I will not be daunted. I am sure production of my show will resume any day now...when the brown marks wear off the kid's face.
5. And then I am posing for Playboy.
Any questions? I want to help you however I can.