Sunday, May 4, 2008

By Susan Reinhardt

On April 29 I gave birth to a new book, “Dishing with the Kitchen Virgin,” Kensington, NYC. Some say it’s my funniest to date. So why isn’t it selling?
Why didn’t my publicist nab one single media spot or even a radio station in Iran or Japan?
“Why aren’t you out celebrating?” a friend and fellow author asked.
“Because so far, my publicist hasn’t landed one interview, not even with a rinky-dink, bum-blank channel in North Dakota.”
Such is the state of publishing in which some struggling authors find themselves balking and squirming. You cut the proverbial vein, pour everything you have into your book, then no one hears about it. Sure, I had my poor old preacher dad send out an e-mail blast to his friends, and I did the same, however didn’t know how to use the BCC, so I’m certain I pissed a bunch of people off, and now they’ll never buy the book.
On the bright side, “Dishing With the Kitchen Virgin,” at least made it onto bookshelves. Wherein lies another problem. Which authors get the tables out front, and who gets stuck, spine outward, on the shelves?
That’s sort of a no-brainer. Many of the wonderful writers on this blog never encounter such madness. And I’m happy for them. Really. I’m not green with envy, just yellow with book-selling jaundice.
But why should we complain? Thousands want to become writers, and actually finish manuscripts that never see the light of New York or even Flag Pond, Tenn. They may self-publish and encounter an entirely new set of frustrations. Most have to fight bookstores to even allow their precious works into the establishments where careers are made – or tank.
The upside of this is we write because we love it. We have to do it. It’s like purging our souls of words that build up until they become toppling towers. We do it to entertain, and not gain fame. Though, that would be nice. Not the fame part, but a bit of money so one doesn’t have to shop at Go Grocery every week instead of a chain supermarket.
My friends, the non-writing ones, think just because I’ve published four books I must be rich. It’s a myth people have. They don’t understand the agent takes a cut, the publisher, the distributor, the bookstores, and by the time the money rolls around to the author, it’s enough to buy a Coke. Not a beer. Unless you like PBR or Colt 45.
Enough whining. Now, for my neurotic side. I’m doing that awful thing authors do. Clicking on Amazon 100 times a day to check my sinking ratings. It’s crazy. It can drive one to the cuckoo farm. “Stop it,” I tell myself. “Your kids need a meal. The laundry is dirty enough to walk right out of the house and into the road.”
Then reverse the thought plays a game of justification. “OK, you can check six times daily.”
So that’s what I’m doing. Six times. So far, even though the book has been out less than six days, I’m not loving what I’m seeing.
But you know what? I’m loving what I’m doing and pray I’m selling enough my agent and publisher will buy my new offering, “Single, Screwed and Half-Unglued.”

Susan Reinhardt is author of “Not Tonight Honey, Wait Til I’m a Size 6,” “Don’t Sleep with a Bubba,” and “Dishing with the Kitchen Virgin,” her latest. She’s a columnist, has a radio show once a week and eats food with bad expiration dates to save money.
She is also a mother who is trying to learn to cook.


Beth Fehlbaum, Author said...

Hang in there! It has to get better!

Beth Fehlbaum, author
Courage in Patience, a story of hope for those who have endured abuse
Chapter One is online!

Kimberly Willis Holt said...

I loved your entry. There's hope. I'm down to checking Amazon three times daily.


Anonymous said...

There's always hope...and chocolate. Hang tough, Susan...

Kristy Kiernan

Tristin said...

That blog alone is sending me out, seeking your book.