After last week’s column and the 50 plus comments I received, I was very, very tempted to write a follow-up post on the topic of race and racism, reader habits and the publishing industry. But instead, I’ve decided to move on. Not because I don’t have more to say, but because I think there is probably a better forum to have this discussion, considering this column is really supposed to be about the publicity and marketing campaign for my debut novel, Substitute Me. If people do want to read more about the unfortunate practice of seg-book-gation in the industry, they can read this
2009 interview with author Bernice McFadden. And if people want to educate themselves more about authors of color and what some people are doing to try to combat the industry’s narrow definitions of who reads what, please visit author Carleen Brice’s wonderful website,White Readers Meet Black Authors
. And of course, I encourage you to just talk amongst yourselves, to pay attention and have honest conversations about these hot-button issues. Feel free to visit my blog, My American Meltingpot
where we talk about race and identity and pop culture all the time. I also review a lot of books by people of every color and ethnic background.
But back to the moving on part.
One of the hardest things for me about maintaining the energy and enthusiasm for planning my publicity tour for Substitute Me is the fact that I’ve already moved on to other things in my creative world. I’m actually in the revision phase of my next novel (Actually, it’s really my first novel but it sat on an editor’s desk for two years.) and the deadline for that book is just around the corner.
But I’m not talking about time management issues here. I just feel like my strong feelings for Kate and Zora – the main characters in Substitute Me
-- have kind of faded away. I loved them once. We were so close I sometimes found myself having conversations with them as I drove to work in the mornings. I really cared about them and wanted everyone in the world to know them. But it’s been so long since we’ve spoken. They’ve been packaged up now and summarized in a press release. And now a whole new cast of characters is fighting for my attention.
So how do I maintain my enthusiasm for Kate and Zora? How does a mother divide her attention between her oldest child -- the responsible one who doesn’t need her constant vigilance -- and the baby whom requires 24-hour care? At this point, Substitute Me is my older child and my publicity efforts for her debut are calculated and practical. I spend time late at night crafting my newsletters and on the weekends planning tour spots and launch-party details. Meanwhile, during the daylight hours, when the sun is at its most inspirational, I force myself to sit with my new book and give him the best of my creative energy.
I hope that works for now.
What do you all do when you have to promote your work, but you’re already working on your next project?