by Risa Green
I saw the wretchedly awful Sex and the City 2 a few weeks after it came out, and while there wasn’t much I could find in it to relate to (Personal Maybachs? Private butlers? Harem pants??) there was one scene that resonated with me; it was when Carrie gets the advance copy of her book in the mail, and says that there’s nothing better as an author than seeing the fruits of your labor in print for the first time. For a passing moment I smiled, then went back to grimacing over how unkind the lighting was to Kim Cattrall’s wrinkles.
I had my own such moment about two weeks ago, when I received a box on my doorstep, and opened it to find ten advance copies of my new book, The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball . Like Carrie, I sat down and paged through it excitedly, admiring the cover and reading the blurb on the back. Unlike Carrie, however, my best friend is not a high-powered publicist getting me reviews – unflattering or otherwise – in The New Yorker, and taking me to the top of the best seller list in a matter of minutes. And so after my excitement waned, the reality of my situation set in: it’s time to go out and promote this thing.
Let me just say that I am not a natural when it comes to talking about myself. In fact, I would venture to guess that many of the people who know me on a casual basis have no idea that I’m a writer. Even some of my good friends have no idea that I write this blog every week. It’s not that I’m not willing to talk about it – I am – it’s just that if it doesn’t come up naturally in a conversation, I’m not the type to try to steer the conversation around to it. I always figure that it will come up eventually, or that someone else will tell them sooner or later. Writers, by nature, I think, are reclusive and introverted. We’re great at getting inside the heads of our characters, but we do it alone, with nobody there to judge us until after the fact. If we wanted the limelight and the instant gratification, we would have become actors. So it’s ironic then, that in the book business, where budgets are tight and national book tours have been eliminated for all but the most famous authors, us shy, modest writers are expected to go out and hawk our wares to everyone we know, like door-to-door salesmen. Because honestly, the thought of having to announce, unsolicited, that I’ve got a new book out, or worse, of asking people to buy it – well, frankly, it makes me want to vomit.
However, queasy or not, it needs to be done. Thankfully, I have some friends who are naturals at this. Within seconds of walking into a room, everyone in it knows that they’ve got a project they’re working on or a new product they’re rolling out, and when they leave, their phones are full of new contacts and people willing to help them spread the word. So I’ve sucked on a few of those anti-nausea lollipops, and I’ve listened to their suggestions. The first of which is that if I want people to know that I have a new book out, I need to tell them. Ah.
So…I have a new book out! It’s called The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball, and it’s for girls in the 11-15 age range. The book is about a fifteen year-old girl named Erin Channing, whose kooky aunt dies and leaves her a Pink Crystal Ball (one of those “magic” balls where if you ask it a question and give it a shake, a new-age-y answer appears). Except that this ball is really magic, and everything Erin asks it starts coming true. The ball comes with a set of cryptic rules for how to use it, and over the course of the book Erin and her two best friends figure them out. They discover, among other things, that the ball only works for one person at a time, with each person getting to ask it eight questions. As in most teen stories, there’s the requisite mean girl, the weird guy, and the awesome, boyfriend-material guy who is under Erin’s nose the whole time, only she doesn’t realize it until she’s messed everything up with him. There’s also a voodoo doll, some crowd-surfing, and even a little art history thrown in for good measure. It’s pretty tame – no bad language, nothing more than a few kisses here and there. Ultimately, it’s a story about being open to new experiences while still staying true to yourself. Ultimately, it’s the kind of book that you’d want your twelve year-old daughter (or niece or cousin or friend’s daughter) to read. (Oooh! Look at me, being all immodest and self-promoting!)
Well, now that I’m getting the hang of this, I should also tell you that I put up a Facebook page called The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball by Risa Green , and that I need sixty-three more people to join it so that I can get a special Facebook web address that is sort of like a vanity license plate, and that will make it easier to advertise in other promotional materials. Which is my way of asking you to please join it. And also to tell your friends to join it. And, I suppose I should also tell you that the book is available for pre-order on Amazon , but you probably already know that from all of the really embarrassing banners that the founder of mommytracked has plastered all over this website, which I love and adore her for doing, but which still makes me cringe every time I see them.
So there you have it. If I can think of any other ways to totally mortify myself in the coming months (oh yeah, the book comes out September 1st), I’ll be sure to let you know. And now I’m off to the bathroom to go puke up my lunch.