The Subject of a Zoom Lens
This line from my forthcoming memoir describes how I felt when I began to understand what was going on with my son – via a newspaper article about autism. Sometimes I create strings of words that stay with me; words that continually circulate like an echo in my head. That particular phrase – “like the subject of a zoom lens” – I hear all the time now.
As the day is slowly coming for the release of my book, my publicity campaign has rapidly ramped up. In my book, I was trying to figuratively characterize reality as “zooming” in on me. Now, I am literally the subject of a lens. Between photo shoots, interviews, and movie sets, I am way out of my comfort zone. Don’t get me wrong; I’m no shrinking violet. I am quite the extrovert: friendly, bubbly, and nice to be around (most of the time). But the marketing end of a book is the complete opposite of the writing. When you’ve spent years painstakingly going over each word, paragraph, and chapter, alone, finding yourself practically standing on a corner with a sign yelling at every passerby, “Hey, I wrote a book, and you should buy it” can make you begin to feel something like a snake oil salesman.
I am not afraid to say I’ve accomplished something as mammoth as writing a book, but to literally advertise me makes me uncomfortable. I think that’s why I never liked sales, especially real estate. Realtors are known for plastering their faces everywhere: property signs, bus stops, grocery carts, and, of course, mailers. It’s a branding thing, because you are ultimately selling yourself. But, I never liked that part. I preferred sending mailers featuring the property, not my face.
I believe I am a confident person. I just don’t like stuffing myself, or my book, down people’s throats, and that’s what I feel I am doing now. The number of times I have said the words “my book” in just the last year, put end-to-end, would take me to the moon. It feels ridiculous at times. I often think: do people really want to hear me talk about my book again? Lately, it seems to hover over every angle of every conversation. I know I am beginning to border on shamelessness when I try to think of how to insert the fact that I wrote a book to the checkout clerk at the supermarket.
Yet, I move forward a little uncomfortable in my own skin, talking with complete strangers, asking for reviews, and plugging social media, all in the hope that people will read my book. I get daily emails from my publicist (that too makes me feel so silly – saying “my publicist” – like I should be keeping up with the Kardashians) about new ways to market my book. Don’t get me wrong; she’s a great publicist and is helping me get exposure I would in no way have gotten on my own. It just seems so ridiculous to be asking everyone to buy my book. Of course, I do truly want people to read my memoir – I didn’t spend four years writing it for my own pleasure – I just wish I didn’t feel so awkward in the asking.
Perhaps in time my discomfort will get easier, especially once I have the real copy in my hands. I do believe the message of my memoir will help people. I just wish I didn’t have act like such a glamour hog to get that done.
So, that leaves me one thing to say: Will you read my book?
LeeAndra Chergey was born in the Midwest, but grew up in a pastoral area south of Los Angeles. She holds a BA from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She runs her own home staging business. When she’s not writing, you can find her, running, knitting, or reading. Married for twenty years to college sweetheart, Dan, they have two children Jenna, Ryan and a black lab, Ranger. Read more about the background of this book at okaysothenisaid.com, published by She Writes Press on November 10, 2015.