The first article about us as authors, back when we wrote Exposures as Marie Joyce, appeared in a newspaper called The New York Press. It was generated because WE sent out a press release. We had had a great editor, but there was no publicity or marketing budget for that book. Hell, our entry level—read minute—advance (divided in half, paid out in thirds) was barely enough for dinner out and a cab ride home from the restaurant, so we were left to our own devices to create whatever buzz we could for our freshman effort. Somebody had to know we’d survived four months in an apartment together, living on sugar and caffeine to keep us awake and writing while the rest of New York City enjoyed spring, and that we now had a book to show for it. . . didn’t they? We thought so, and we were proactive even then—or was it that we didn't have sense enough to know better? No matter—occasionally ignorance leads you in the right direction.

In our press packet we included “Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Read Exposures.” It definitely got us newspaper and TV coverage in Buffalo, New York, Virginia’s hometown. They are always welcoming to their hometown daughters (Donna has even been given a proclamation declaring her an official Buffalonian). But amazingly, our PR foray got us some ink in a New York City paper, which for newbie authors with an unheralded, unreviewed, unheard of paperback, was a little like winning an Olympic skating medal while wearing flip flops.

So, as an homage to that first adventure in shameless self-promotion, here are the Top Ten Signs that We are Within a Week of Publication:

10—Virginia wakes up in the middle of the night frantic because she remembered that she forgot to answer an email from a Facebook friend asking when we are coming to her town so she can alert her whole book club.

9—We both wade through our closets yet again, trying to find clothes we weren't photographed in on the last tour, that still fit, go together, and will make us look reasonably presentable instead of like the slovenly writer we've been seeing in the mirror every day.

8—Deciding we have none of the above mentioned clothes and that flipping through the Neiman Marcus catalog looking at the things we would buy if we had, say Nora Roberts advance is a waste of time, we pick out something black to wear to book signings—because it's black, and because standing at a podium naked is not an option (hmmm, might be good press though).

7—Donna wants a cigarette. Now, Donna was never a regular smoker, but during high stress author moments she gets the urge, which she would never give in to since Virginia was a smoker (17yrs clean) and we’re not starting that again. Granted, Virginia enjoys second hand smoke, but still. . .

6—We have to stifle the fleeting moment when we think that nobody, up to and including our mothers will want to read this book.

5—No matter how many times we check the voice mail, the New York Times Book Review still has not called about that cover story.

4—We check the online booksellers sales rankings obsessively, hoping our "pre order alert" emails to friends and family have finally sunk in and we're encouraged when the book is out of the seven digits.

3—Through constant repetition we have honed our technique for casually mentioning that we have a book coming out next week to every bank teller, sales clerk and restaurant server we come in contact with. Hey, you never know where you’ll find a book lover.

2—We are running out of civil answers for people who ask, “Why don’t you just get on Oprah?” Golly why didn't we think of that?

And the number one way we can tell that we’re within a week of publication:

We can’t wait to be done with the author part, so we can get back to developing this little idea we’ve had for the next book, thus starting the whole cycle all over again.

We are best friends who’ve been co-writing women’s fiction for twenty of our twenty seven years of friendship. Uptown is our seventh novel. For more information about who we are, what we do and/or to read an excerpt of Uptown please visit deberryandgrant.com. We can also be found online at: Twomindsfull, Twitter, Facebook.

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Comment by Victoria Mixon on February 24, 2010 at 1:44pm
Thank you for reminding us that authors are responsible for getting out the word on their books. I'd really like to hear more about exactly what you put into your press packet and how you decided whom to send it to. Like Sandra's down-to-earth explanation of headshots and bios, that's a tip we can all really appreciate.

And congratulations Virginia on 17 years clean! Wow.
Comment by Virginia DeBerry & Donna Grant on February 24, 2010 at 7:49am
Thanks Sarah for the compliment--we had a great photographer! And so glad you enjoyed the post Rebecca!
Comment by Rebecca Rasmussen on February 23, 2010 at 6:52pm
I loved this post!
Comment by Carleen on February 23, 2010 at 4:47pm
Oh, y'all make me feel sooooo much better! This is hilarious! And sadly very familiar!
Comment by Sarah Pinneo on February 23, 2010 at 4:43pm
You two have such a gorgeous author photo! Best of luck with your new title. S.P.
Comment by Virginia DeBerry & Donna Grant on February 23, 2010 at 2:24pm
Thanks Pauline--glad to have been responsible for a smile-always. Julie--don't think there's a best friend writing partner store--but that might be a good business--along with the naked book reading/signings!
Comment by Julie Jeffs on February 23, 2010 at 10:54am
This was exactly what I needed this morning. Thank you. I am certain you will do fabulously, how can you not? Now, where can I find one of them best friend writing partners, that sounds like just the thing I need? Whole new concept, naked book readings/signings .....
Comment by Pauline Frederica Kiernan on February 23, 2010 at 6:51am
This brought such a smile to my face - thank you. I'm going over to read the Uptown excerpt now. Good luck with the pub. day!

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