Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Okay so now, as an author, I'm shocked, offended and outraged. If you're going to sleep your way to the top have some integrity about it. Sheesh!
Bestselling Author of:
The Sophie Katz Murder Mystery Series,
SO MUCH FOR MY HAPPY ENDING
Saturday, November 10, 2012
My books have always attracted a wide range of readers. Many of them are Democrats and many are Republicans so on my Facebook newsfeed I can see a wide range of emotions in response to the results of the election. Most of it is predictable. The Dems are jubilant, overwhelmed with relief and pumped up by victory. The Republicans are angry, devastated and scared.One of my earliest memories is of the election of Ronald Reagan. My mother was very focused on nuclear disarmament and in the months leading up to November she invited people over to show them films of the effects of Hiroshima. I was so young but I still remember the pictures of mutilated children. They terrified me. And I understood my mother's message. If Reagan wins we will all die. So when he did win I ran into my bedroom and hid under the covers shaking and crying. My mother immediately came to me, comforted me and walked back her words, assuring me that we probably wouldn't die after all. Again, I was a little kid. I didn't understand nuance. When people I trusted alluded to the idea that life as we know it depended on the results of an election I believed them and when things didn't go the way I wanted them to I freaked out. Like I said I was very young and naive so it took me years before I realized...
....we never grow out of any of that.
When it comes to politics people continually reject nuance. The leaders we admire continue to tell us that the fate of the world as we know it hangs in the balance of one election....that happens every four years. We continue to freak out when our guy doesn't win at which point the very leaders who told us we were about to be destroyed in an apocalypse give us a metaphorical pat on the head during their concession speeches and tell us that actually, if we work together we'll be okay after all. But it's hard to undue months of doomsday talk with one head pat so we continue to cry, shake our fists, hide under the covers and freak out until we notice that the sun really is still rising and setting every day just like it did before the election. Our towns are not on fire. No one is breaking into our homes and stealing away our birth control or our guns. Conversely when our candidate wins we eventually realize that our problems didn't magically disappear. Shockingly, life continues (and will always continue) to be hard in a lot of very real ways.
Of course not many of us delve into that particular brand of election-day-crazy while we're still tugging on our mother's skirts. I guess I was just precocious that way.
Anyway, what I'm saying is that if you voted for Romney and are now really upset and worried that this signals the end of everything you cherish about this country...well, I get it. If anyone tells you that you're stupid or gullible for feeling this way and that if you only really understood the issues you'd be happy Obama won tell them to shut up. If you voted for Obama and are dancing in the streets I say party on! If anyone tells you that you're stupid for being happy about this outcome and that if you only understood what was happening to this country you'd have voted for Romney tell them to shut up. If you don't want to hear the Democrats' cheers or the Republicans' rants then stay off of social media for a few days.
Because in a few days the Facebook posted pictures of candidates are going to be replaced with pictures of cute animals again and the biggest trending topic on Twitter will no longer be #election2012 but something more along the lines of #SadIceCreamFlavors. Most of us will start talking to the people who politically disagree with us again without a lot of acrimony knowing that they're not actually an enemy of our country and "knowing" in our heart of hearts that they're still wrong about everything. Anger will dull to disgruntlement, panic to low level anxiety, exhalation will dwindle to mild contentment and feelings of triumph will transform into low level anxiety about the next election. This is America. This is our process. It's emotionally exhausting but it works.
Bestselling Author of:
The Sophie Katz Murder Mystery Series,
SO MUCH FOR MY HAPPY ENDING
And the upcoming
JUST ONE NIGHT erotic fiction trilogy
Read the first few pages here!
A few hours ago the fabulous Timoria McQueen contacted me via Twitter. I met Timoria at the launch party for my second novel, Passion, Betrayal And Killer Highlights. It was June 2006 and my party was at The Star Room in the Hamptons. The whole thing was paid for by my publisher and planned by the publicist contracted by them on my behalf. A month before my event Eminem had a party at the same club. Timoria was hired to do women's make-up at the party. At the time she was the National Make-Up artist for Shu Uemura but she's also a fixture at New York Fashion Week and she frequently does the make-up featured in the layouts of Elle, InStyle and so on. She was a great "get."
But to be honest I had mixed feelings about the party. Sure, every girl likes the idea of being the Belle Of The Ball but I couldn't figure out how this was going to help me sell books. The publicist assured me that the party would lead to great press. They would make sure there were celebrities in attendance, it would make the gossip magazines, I would be a star and then everyone would be flocking to buy the new Sophie Katz novel from the woman they saw in the pages of OK!.
I didn't buy it. If Eminem and other people of comparable fame were having parties at this club why wouldn't the Paparazzi be covering those events. They didn't need to cover the party of a little known author. If people did know about me it was because of Susan Schwartzman, the woman I hired (with my own money) to do the publicity for my first novel, Sex, Murder And A Double Latte. Susan had gotten me into Cosmo, The New York Times, The Washington Post, regional television shows across the country, the list goes on and on. In fact she had done such a good job I had assumed that my publisher would contract her to do the publicity for my second book but because of some "in-house" politics that didn't happen. So I hired Susan to essentially supplement what the publisher-hired-publicist was doing. But I only gave Susan a small stipened. It just didn't seem pragmatic to have two publicists doing two full blown campaigns. Plus I had heard (off the record...oops) that my publisher had contributed less to the campaign for my first book because I had hired a publicist for myself. I essentially saved them money by taking initiative. So I put away my checkbook and put my faith in this new publicity strategy. These people were professionals, they had to know what they were doing.
But they didn't. I have no doubt that the woman contracted by my publisher is a fantastic publicist. She knew how to boost celebrity profiles and she knew how to pimp the hell out of fashion designers, she just didn't know how to market books. My publisher spent close to thirty thousand dollars on that campaign, the majority of that money went into that party. When I got to The Hamptons and got a better idea of what was going on I began to get a little panicky. I knew I had to build on the success of my first novel and I could see that what was planned wasn't going to do that. My only hope was that A) the fantastic reviews my second book was getting would generate buzz and B) my editor, who told me flat out she saw the problem, would be able to fix things. Unfortunately by the time she was given more input into author publicity it was too late for my campaign to be redirected and the fall out of bad book publicity is low book sales and nothing protects an author from that. But that was all information I got in the days and months after my launch party. Before my launch party all I really knew was that my publisher was showering me with attention, they were throwing me a party in the Hamptons and that meant something even if the party didn't serve the purpose it was supposed to serve.
So I shelved any budding feelings of panic and went to The Star Room in a dress loaned to me by the renowned designer, Shoshanna. My editor was by my side listening to my every concern, my publicist was making sure I was red-carpet ready and they led me to Timoria who did my make-up and introduced me to the fabulousness of false eyelashes. It was in that moment, while I was wearing the designer loaner, being done up by a nationally renowned make-up artist, surrounded by my readers and others in a club fashioned for the stars that I completely gave into the glamour of it all. So what if the campaign was somewhat ill conceived? So what if I wasn't yet on the NY Times bestsellers list? I was clearly going places!
In the end I fully enjoyed that night and I'm so glad I did because otherwise it would have been a bit of a waste of time. The party wasn't even featured in a local paper, let alone a national tabloid. The new book got very little press. Despite the superior reviews Passion, Betrayal and Killer Highlights didn't sell as well as Sex, Murder And Double Latte and that led to smaller orders from bookstores for my third book (which my publisher didn't do any publicity for at all).
When Timoria contacted me I was immediately swarmed with fond memories...and then I felt incredibly sad because they are memories. It's ridiculous to feel sorry for yourself just because no one is throwing you parties in the Hamptons anymore and it probably wouldn't bother me at all if I wasn't struggling financially at the moment. It was just a oh-how-the-mighty-have-fallen kind of melancholy and I allowed myself to indulge the fear that my career is and will continue to move in the wrong direction.
And then I listened to some P!NK and some Macklemore and danced around my bedroom a bit to snap myself out of it (yeah, I do that) and I thought, If I've fallen then why can't I just pick myself back up? My books aren't selling as well as my first novel did but they are selling. I still have my fan base, I have a contract with Simon & Schuster for an erotica trilogy, I'm a member of the WGA (Writer's Guild Of America, the union for television and film writers). I've had meetings with top TV executives, I sold a pilot script to Lifetime...I mean, any of those things could lead to even better days...maybe better years, years so good that I might even have enough money to pay for my son's ridiculously expensive tuition without living off of rice and beans. And there is no reason to feel like my future can't be sprinkled with the occasional moments of glamour.