tooting one's own horn

This one's not really promo, it's more announcing good news.

When a person's first book comes out, she tends to mention it in every conversation she holds.

Okay, I'll reword that to be more honest. When my first book came out, I tended to mention it every conversation I held. It was the firstborn, the new experience of being An Author. The whole giddy ride that is pretty cool first time out.

I almost had to jabber about it, even though I knew that no one else was going to get as huge a kick out of the news. I got over it and now if I sell a book I tell my friends and maybe post here or at my website. I don't go running around the internet world grabbing people and shaking them and yellling HEY! LOOKIE AT ME!

So now someone I know has a great contract. BIG, big numbers, enough work for a couple of years, and the topic came up -- should she bother telling people? Should she sit on the news? Where're the appropriate places to talk about it? The inappropriate ones?

If, after that exciting rush of the first book, you keep talking about "my book" and "my publisher" and "my editor" and "my agent" everywhere, even if you're just passing time, the nearly-but-not-quite-pubbed and the waiting-for-new-contracts, aka between books pubbed are going to think "shut the f^^^ up, okay?"

It's the new mom and the new baby syndrome. There are other mothers and other babies out there in the world but first time out, you're allowed to think Wow! Holy shit this is amazing! And yes, you're allowed to be in love with that baby, but LISTEN to me: if you talk about your fourth child the same way as long and in such excruciating detail, we're going to
--no longer think it's endearing
--ignore you until you leave and then maybe laugh at you a little
--search your house for drugs

So where can you babble on and on and on about your brand new fourth baby and your fourth book contract without coming off as a prat? Here's what I think:

--your blog, of course. No one is forced to come to the blog. It's your space. You might want to hold off on sounding like an advertisement just because it might lose you readers, but heck you can do whatever the hell you want there.

--your newletter (thanks to PBW)

--your writers' organizations (also thanks to PBW) like local RWA chapters.

--your yahoo loops, but only ONCE or TWICE (and maybe again when the book comes out)

--in an interview.

--you belong to a group blog?....There too, maybe? Sure, why not? Depends on the tone.

--in a bar at a conference with your friends. Maybe even with strangers after a couple of drinks. But not constantly through the whole conference and not even constantly that whole bar-visit. Nope.

Anywhere else? I don't think so. You can't go on and on in other people's blogs unless they bring up the subject of fourth books. You can't go on and on and on your yahoo loops after your initial announcement. You risk the making a lot of snarky people .... snark. Believe me, it isn't pretty.

What do you all think???

update: PBW claims to be crabby and suspicious yet is, in fact, lovely (although I don't suppose there's any reason those three can't exist together).

I asked her this question and she said (in her own blog) "Here! Congratulations!" [no, but I wish] and then later adds, "We have a kind of a sisterhood-in-the-trenches thing that non-romance writers don't enjoy, and we know the amount of competition you just beat out."


  1. This is a tough one because every book contract is an acheivement and a joy. You do want to share it with people.

    Same with awards, great reviews and any other good things that happen. I have some particular friends that I have to share these things with. If I haven't told them--it hasn't really happened. It's like when you're on vacation and you see the most fantastic beach, rock, tree, hunky guy, whatever and you think--gee I wish my friend were here.

    That's how I feel. Great review--gotta tell my friends. It isn't a complete experience until I do.

    But then where do you draw the line? For most things, I can stop with those friends. But if I'm terribly excited, I'm afraid I do find myself prattling on to anyone who will listen. The internet makes it so easy to get the message out there.

    Just stick a sock in my mouth if you hear me prattling on too far.

  2. yeah, TB, same goes for me --although for either one of us just the word "puce" should do the trick.

  3. LOL - puce?
    I would LOVE to have a publicist. That is my dream. I write, my agent sells, and my publicist promotes. And I continue to live in my little cloud world...

    OK - not such a realistic goal after all.

  4. Aie, Kate, you tapped into my brain. I was just saying in a chat last night that I'm paranoid about being one of *those* authors nobody wants to be around.

    Thanks for feeding the paranoia. ;)

    Seriously, it's a good thing to keep in mind. Gush in moderation.

  5. Sara? I was NOT talking about you no no NO! And I hereby make this declaration:

    If someone worries about being one of these OA's (obnoxious authors) chances are she is not one of them.

    Ta da!

  6. I have the opposite problem. I rely on good friends too much to toot my horn, because I feel so self-conscious in doing it. I REALLY need to get *big enough* to hire a publicist - lol. But it doesn't bother me when others toot their horns (and do so loudly). It's a sympatico thing. PBW has it correct - we recognize those in the trenches with us and know what they had to do to get where they are. One reason I don't begrudge La Nora or anyone else who makes it HUGE in this business.

    Good blog today, Kate.

  7. I have given my CP's strict STRICT orders to slap me if I ever begin to exhibit signs of OA!


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