Publicity and Promotion

It is dangerous to let the public behind the scenes. They are easily disillusioned and then they are angry with you, for it was the illusion they loved; they do not understand that what interests you is the way in which you have created the illusion. Anthony Trollope ceased to be read for thirty years because he confessed that he wrote at regular hours and took care to get the best price he could for his work.


 Beware the highly publicized autograph session at bookstores. It is terribly embarrassing to sit behind a tall stack of your own books for two hours while customers sidestep your table, throwing sneaky or hostile glances, en route to selecting an armful of cookbooks, diet books, and how-to books written by total strangers.


There's nothing that puts the audience to sleep faster than an author reading his nonfiction prose. Yes, she/he can illustrate her/his talk with a few well-chosen paragraphs, but if you read five pages, expect snores. Of course, we expect writers of fiction to read. We want to hear their voices read their voices, but they should not read endlessly. . . . And we generally find that the bigger the author, the more pleasant he or she is. It's the insecure ones that complain about the number of books in the store or that the bookstore failed to bring in a large enough audience.

CARLA COHEN (Co-owner, Politics & Prose Books)

I am convinced as a member of the reading public that bad [author] photographs are bad business. I have been put off reading books, which otherwise looked rather attractive, by the puss of the author printed on the back of the dust cover.


If you ever write something, and it is reviewed, and the review includes a photo of you, and both the photo and the review are bad, you will find that the photo is more painful.


Be completely clear within yourself about the purpose of the publicity, tour, speech, signing, etc. If you still think it’s worthwhile, give it your best shot, and quit as soon as politely possible.


To promote a book you are expected to get it up eight or ten times a day, sometimes in Philadelphia.