February 17, 2011
“Lady Gaga, Eduardo Cruz, and My New Novel” by Niles Reddick
Lady Gaga arrived in an egg at the Grammy’s, and another headline I read speculated whether Eduardo Cruz got a tattoo of Eva Longoria or not. Interestingly, we don’t often see much about books, or authors, at all in the media. It may be that the writing craft has evolved out of what is interesting to the mainstream public, and sadly, I think that may be partially true. I also think it may be partially true that people lead such busy lives, watching headlines is much “easier” than reading a book
I have no clue who Lady Gaga is or why she would arrive in an egg, except as a publicity stunt. I also have no idea who Eduardo Cruz is, or even Eva Longoria, and I can’t imagine people would care what sort of tattoo Eduardo has, but these sorts of nonsensical headlines seem all the rage.
As a writer who has been published by two small presses, I have to admit that most of the publicity or marketing has been up to me, and many writers, including me, aren’t “schooled” in this area. If I get a tattoo, which I probably wouldn’t do for fear of disease, no one would care, and if I arrived somewhere in an egg, I would probably get locked up (and maybe should be).
But I do wonder what it would take for the media to begin paying attention to writers and their books. I would have written to media outlets by now, if I thought it would’ve made a difference. The issues I’ve written to them about before never even got a courtesy reply—you know, the “Thank you, customer, you are so important to us, we’ve sent this to sub-department 18 in India, and we’ll be in touch should we need more information” type response.
The deviant I aspire to be wants to create fictional headlines related to parts of my books to disperse to the media outlets: “Writer Niles Reddick confesses his aunt collected road kill,” “Writer Niles Reddick tells all about church split and minister’s affair,” “Writer Niles Reddick admits he called wife’s family, told them they won a shopping spree at the Piggly Wiggly grocery store, hid behind the greeting card section to watch them load buggies only to be turned away by manager and later arrested for a brouhaha because they hadn’t won,” and so on. I’m not sure these headlines would even cause a ruckus.
What I have done is what most of us do, awkwardly and quietly attempt to promote our books: through our college alumni magazines, reviews, blogs, facebook, local media outlets such as newspapers, magazines, and television, through conferences, festivals, or other speaking engagements. All of these have some impact, and while I haven’t given up my day job to write full time, I have to find comfort in the occasional email from an old friend or co-worker or comment from my mother: “I saw ‘so and so’ at the funeral home. You remember her, don’t you? She was the sister to your first grade teacher you met one time at K-Mart when we bought those goldfish that didn’t live a week. She saw the article about your new book in the paper and just knew you would always amount to something.” But did she buy the book, I wonder. I also take comfort that I don’t have to get into an egg or get a tattoo. Come to think of it, though, I still have a few complimentary copies of my latest book around the house. Maybe I’ll send Lady Gaga and Eduardo a copy. Maybe Lady Gaga can read the book while spending hours in her egg or Eduardo will be reading it while he gets another tattoo, and the paparazzi will blast my new book cover in the headlines. Hell, I’d love to hit the cover of The National Enquirer.