Hawking My Books At A Never-Ending Funeral, or: How It Feels Promoting Fix In 2016

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 10.854% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

So in 2015, I published my first book, Flex, and that was hella-exciting.  Debut novels are easy to push – people have never seen you before!  You’re showing up new at the ball!  People are happy to give you, the debut author, a guest slot in their blog or a review because this is your first!
Then six months later I had The Flux came out, and that was still pretty exciteamundo because Flex still had a lot of momentum, and there were still blogs and podcasts I hadn’t hit in the first tilt-a-whirl go-round of Flex PR.
(NOTE: At one point, Angry Robot said, “Since your first book got delayed, we want to publish your second book be six months after your first.  I went, “Are you crazy? That will make people think I can write a book every six months!”  And they were not crazy; I was so totally, utterly, wrong.  If you can publish a new, quality book every six months, or even faster, do.  Momentum counts.)
So here we are, with Fix coming out in six weeks, and this one is really hard to promote for two reasons:

  1.  It’s the third book in a series.  Admittedly, it’s the final one in a series, and it’s designed to be read as a standalone, but it’s always harder to sell, say, Rocky III or The Amityville Horror III because it’s just not as exciting.  Maybe the new installment is exciting, but now it’s a continuing saga, and you either liked Rocky or the Amityville Horror or you didn’t, so it’s hard to get new eyeballs in through the door.
  2. The news is an absolute, unending, toilet-clogged shitshow.

#2 is much more relevant than #1.
I mean, at this point last year, I felt like it was fine to joke a lot about BUY MAH BOOK and cajole people endlessly that BY THE WAY NETGALLEY HAS COPIES OF FIX FOR YOU REVIEWERS TO CHECK OUT and laugh out loud shilling this book, hey did you know you could preorder it?
But this year?
It feels like I’m hawking merchandise at a funeral.
*another black man killed*
*three cops shot dead*
*countries rioting in government overthrows*
*our own country led down the path of a psychopathic con-man who has a better chance of winning the election by the day*
And I really feel this strange urge to shut the fuck up, because frankly, there’s no good time to wedge in a mention of such an insignificant thing in between the school shootings and the protests and Britain spiralling down the hole.  Someone important has always died, and so it feels totally inappropriate at times to express the squee I feel at this new book getting out to market.
And the number of advance reviews are way down from the past two books, which is a shame because both my editor and my friends have called Fix their favorite book in the series…
But this is just part of the book game.  Any long-time writer will tell you there are things out of your control, and this is one of them.  It’s the third book in a series, and those are harder to get people excited about.  It’s a tumultuous news cycle, so getting that work out is harder.  Everyone knows you’ve gotta keep pushing forward, which is why it’s always about writing the next book so even if this one doesn’t do as well as you’d wanted, you’ve got that new book in the pipeline to tack your dreams to…
But still.  I’m spending time donating money to good causes, writing to my Congressmen and my mayor, researching how to vote in this next election.  I hope you are too.  And if that time spent making the world better means some of y’all aren’t in the mood to read about the deepest secrets of Valentine DiGriz, and how the Unimancers might actually be better for Aliyah than her father, and what happens to Paul when you take his daughter away from him, well, I get that.  I support that.
But see?  Even that felt scummy.  Write your politicians first, my friends.  The book can wait.
But yeah.  2016 is such a shitshow it just feels gruelling to even slide a mention that I have a book out in between the horrors of politics and the landslides of dead men, and I’d be surprised if other authors didn’t feel that too.
I know we’re supposed to believe that art is what saves us.  And art helps.  It really does.  But a lot of the times, art is just sort of crouched down, hoping that fascism and bullets don’t actually tear through our bones, and nobody likes hearing that but art didn’t stop Hitler, art didn’t stop Stalin, and art is just this thing that can blossom beautifully but all too often turns out to be these sad stems trampled underfoot when the bad men come.
Besides, this isn’t about art anyway.  The art has been done.  All the art I’ve had to render got put into Fix.  We are now into marketing mode, and if I don’t feel as much like marketing these days, well, I’m probably right to do that.
It’s just weird.  People are dying, and you should buy my book.
Hard to make a sale like that.
Hard to not feel like a total putz when you try to make that sale.

1 Comment

  1. Alexis
    Jul 18, 2016

    Yes, the world is so terrible right now. I personally have buried myself in Pokemon Go just to shut out the darkness. I’m not sure I even like the game, but plating it keeps me from reading more heart-rending news about…everything. I just can’t. The only good that’s come out of this is I’m determined to do my part. I volunteered to register people to vote last year, and I’m definitely doing that again this year.
    Also, I’m going to look up your book on Net Galley. 🙂

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