Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Enter To Win

I have been receiving lovely notes from lots of adults interested in children’s books—librarians, teachers, readers—who are submitting their names for a chance to win one of ten free autographed copies of my upcoming novel, PRETTIEST DOLL (which will be published by Clarion on November 6, 2012).

Publicity is an amazing thing to a writer.

When you write, you disappear inside your head, and the only people keeping you company are the characters you dream up.  It’s a big party up there, and for a while, it’s fabulous.  But then you finish the book, and the characters go away, and you go back to your real life, where you make soup and watch “The New Normal” with your boyfriend and wait for your adult children to take your calls and visit your 92-year-old mother with dementia who is still mad that you took her car away and get quotes from roofers because you have roof rats and run every day because you are addicted to running even though you think you might have runner’s knee. 

And it’s as if the book and all those characters have evaporated, are just gone.

But now I have a publicist.  And publicists know how to make sure that people know about your book and those characters.  One of the things they tell you to do is to offer to give away some free copies of your book.  A lot of people will write to you if they think they’ll get a free book out of it.  (All in all, my book has received more “hits” than 89% of the other children’s books advertised this year.  Yes, I’m bragging a little. )

That is a pretty extraordinary thing.  With all the stories about the demise of the printed (as opposed to the electronic) word and the corporatization of the publishing industry, you wouldn’t think people would still want to own an actual book.  But they do.

I’ve heard from a teacher on Long Island with the same name as my daughter who thinks my idea (about a beauty-pageant contestant) is great.  And a young college student who writes a blog and wants to be a writer herself.  And a woman who likes the look of my website.  I didn’t recognize the name of her town, so I Googled it.  She lives in Iraq.  IRAQ.  Isn’t that incredible?

It is just the most heartening thing, to see how books are still meaningful to so many people.  It makes me feel happy and hopeful about the future (a fact that will make my closest friends laugh, because I tend toward the melancholic and despairing).

It’s not too late to enter the contest.  Visit my website ( and drop me a note.

And in your non-reading hours, check out “The New Normal.”  Ellen Barkin is going to win an Emmy.  I just about guarantee it. 

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