Book Promotion and Other Strange Phenomena
James McAdams | May 2 2020
I assume book promotion has always been strange and, at least for introverts, annoying. One of the weird things I’ve discovered promoting my debut collection of short stories is a sense of disinterest, malaise, or even disappointment. There are so many books out there, why would someone purchase mine? How annoying am I being promoting it? And how much weirder are these issues during COVID-19, when book readings, etc. are impossible?
I’m not complaining, it’s just a weird time. Anyway, I’ve been making little promotional videos on a weekly basis to replace readings, podcasts, interviews, and reviews. I decided that I couldn’t just record myself reading a story, because that would be the vapidest thing ever, so here are some modifications I developed that I hope would be interesting to viewers. These include:
- Talking about my relationship with the blurbers. I think readers (I know I thought this, somehow) naively believe that blurbs come from Author Heaven, but it’s really just people you know who like you.
- Explaining what the blurbers mean, since in my case many of them have Ph.D.’s and reference Derrida. Writing a blurb is much harder than it looks.
- Giving “origin stories” to certain pieces. This came out of a Reddit thread, a girl told me this on a date once, this is an adaptation of a Chekhov story, etc. For instance, “Such Strange Suns,” a story about a young blind girl who thinks Alexa is God, was taken from an article I read somewhere. Or “Little Curly,” which is based in part on reading about the dog, Laika, the Soviets sent up with Sputnik without considering how to bring her home.
What do you think? It’s a long video and don’t expect you to watch, but this will give you a sense of what I’m trying to do. Remember, my main goal is to not appear pretentious and annoy people.