Saturday, December 5, 2009

What? You mean I have to. . . ?

Years ago, I purchased several photographs of various hunky actors and posted them in all their glory on the inside of the locker room door in the ICU where I work. It had become a tradition at my previous place of employment to post the pictures in the ICU nurses' restroom, and was one I wished to continue. As one of the newer employees, I saw it as my way to boost morale--which has never been particularly good in any hospital that I have ever been associated with. On top of the stress of caring for critically ill patients, there's always something to bitch about or feel irritated with, but those few moments away from the strife are a solace of sorts for me and my fellow nurses--and anyone else who decides to sneak in and use our potty.

Over time, I've become accustomed to Mel Gibson, Val Kilmer, and Harrison Ford gazing back at me as I leave that sanctuary and once again return to the fray. They smile at me as if to say, "You can get through this. We know it, and you know it. You're just as tough as we are, and we're here for you."

Our census has been quite low for the past three weeks, mainly due to the fact that our cardiologist has been out of town visiting relatives. I say out of town, he's actually been out of the country! Many of us have been placed on call, and our monitor techs have been hit especially hard because though we have to have two ICU nurses in the building at all times, the monitor techs are considered expendable. It's gotten to the point that being pulled to another unit is almost a blessing.

Why do I mention all of this? Because during this slow time, one of my dear friends did a wonderful thing. She took down the pictures of Val and Mel, visited my website, snagged my book covers, printed them up, and taped them to the door. Words cannot express how deeply touched I was by this gesture, but it is something I never would have dreamed of doing myself.

Which brings me to the purpose of this blog: Self promotion.

Some writers are good at it, but many of us are not. Pitch a book to an agent or an editor at a conference? I'd sooner commit hari-kari. I did the pitch to the editor, of course, or I wouldn't be here, but that was on paper. I can do anything on paper, but face to face? No. Walking into a bookstore to ask if I can do a booksigning literally gives me cold feet. . . and hands. . . and palpitations. I'm not very good on the phone, either.

Why do we do it???

God only knows. Writers share the need to write, but not all of us share the need to put what we've written out there for the world to see. After all, though the things that occur in our stories may have never happened to us, those ideas came from inside our heads, giving the rest of the world a peek at what they might otherwise have never seen. It's almost like allowing someone to read your mind, which is a little bit scary.

I've never been a particularly private person among those whom I know well. Any of my friends will tell you to be careful what you ask me, because I might give you more information than you bargained for. I can do that if asked a question, but volunteer it? Rarely.

I worked in the ER a few nights ago. One of the staff had been our monitor tech in the past and knew that I had books published, but the others were newer, and most of them I'd never met before. Did I tell everyone about my books and try to sell them? I did not. Wouldn't have dreamed of it.

On towards morning when the day shift came in, one of the nurses is a friend on Facebook, and she commented on my post about having set up not one, but two booksignings for Fugitive in January. The nurse I'd been working with all night long perked up. "You write books? What kind of books?"

Suffice it to say, the next night, she came up to the unit and bought all four of them from me.

Fortunately, I am blessed with wonderfully supportive friends who will go out and pimp for me whether I like it or not. With book five coming out soon, I'm getting a bit more confident, and I'm even thinking of setting up a signing when our gang goes to Nashville in February. I can see them now, collaring people in the mall like those cosmetic salesmen who get you into their lair and won't let you go.

All I can say is, Look out, Nashville!


  1. That's super, Cheryl!! Congrats! I'm more a paper promoter also! :) But my co-workers are all smiles when patrons ask about my books. My co-workers constantly hand me any book that has a wolf title in it--children's books to adults. :) And they're always offering new titles for my books and plot ideas. :) Just like family. :)

  2. Your book covers would make great posters, I can see why your friend did it. Even though you don't like to self-promote, it would be neat to have posters at your signing for readers to either buy or as giveaways. (Your online family, just helping out with suggestions) :)

  3. Terry,
    Friends and family (online or not) are so good to us, aren't they? What would we do without them?

  4. Mason,
    Barnes & Noble promised me posters, but I don't know if there will be any to give away or not. If there's only one, I think I'd like to keep it myself! ;-) But I guess if someone else REALLY wanted it, I could be persuaded!

  5. Morning Cheryl, loved this post and I agree with Mason-your covers are beautiful and they should be up on a wall! If the .jpg was bigger, we could all print our own!

    Your post made me think of something my daughter said just yesterday that I was reminded of when I read your post today. She got her first report card of the year and while she is doing very well, she didn't score very high on one of the writing essays. She told me,"I'm not very good at writing naratives, but if I can write about stuff that didn't happen to me, I do just fine." It's true, but I thought it very grown up that at 10 she already knew that about herself. I'd think it'd be easier to write about something that you had personal experience with, but clearly it's easier to write about the other.

    Have a great weekend!

  6. Your daughter is right, Lisa, writing about your actual experiences is often far more difficult than making something up. Who knows? You might be reading one of her novels someday!

  7. Great Post Cat Master!!! I love the Idea of Posters. And I love the fact they put the book covers on the Locker Room Door.
    You and Terry both have Hot Covers.
    You know I could see a interesting Story For You two Ladies. Time travel one of Your Alien Cat Heroine's meets one of Terry's Spears Studly Wolves. And there is Growling, Hissing, and Fur and Claws. But they find love in the remote wilderness. LOL!!! You both can thank me later. When we do the books tours for this NEW YORK BEST SELLER. LOL!!!

  8. After putting this piece of Meat into the Crockpot. I had a second thought on my previous post. A time traveling Zetithian Male meets Lone Wolf Woman in Wilderness might me more interesting. I think that would be Purrfectly Wonderful. LOL!!!
    I'm going to get baking. and shopping.

  9. I keep advertising your books at work because they're awesome :D If you get posters I want one lol.

    I have a week off in February but I don't know if I'm going to visit my friend in Virginia like last February. But I still want to plan to go to the RT convention :D

  10. You are I am very alike, Cheryl, and not just because of the ICU nursing thing. I am terrible at blurting out about my writing. My husband is my promoter. He will, quite literally, pass out cards to EVERYONE! The funny thing is, it works. More often than not the salesperson or whatever is thrilled. But me do that? Very rarely. I am trying to get better about self promoting. I have lined up a book signing locally for Jan, although that was because I was with a friend who egged me on!

    Very cool that your coworkers are so supportive. Mine are as well. Of course, I don't have hunky half-naked men on my covers so they aren't hung up all over the place! Still, the support from family and friends is marvelous.

  11. OK, I have the flu so hereby apologize for the above typos and massacre of the English language! Geez....

  12. I have to comment on your comment about the 'look' Mel and Val gave you on the way out of the john. It should have been "We try to be a tough as YOU! Thanks for being our inspiration!" People with jobs like your, Nurses, Techs, Police and Firemen and others, should be out role models. Those others are nice to look at and dream about, but people like you are DA BOMB!!!You deal with things, on a daily basis, that most humans don't want to think about. My hat's off to you Cheryl, and your co-workers you all are my heroes.

    Oh By the way, having two jobs, running around the mall to get people to buy your books, is just fine, a great idea. Good exercise, great way to meet people, raise a little revenue,,you know what I mean.

    Happy Saturday, and love the hunk on your site!!!

  13. Oh yes, friends are fantastic at saying "buy this book". One friend's three sons were great at loudly announcing my book was in the bookstores. I guess it was more fun when they were 10 than it is now that they're in their 20s.

    If the conversation works around to it I'll mention my books. Sometimes it's easier than others.


  14. Making the posters was such a sweet, wonderful idea! Now you get to look at your very own heroes. How cool is that?

    My favorite baristas at Starbucks were talking about taking all my book covers and shellacking them onto my 'personal' table. It would be fun but I don't think the home office would approve. {grin}

  15. Whew, time traveling aliens and shape-shifting wolf women! Sounds like a wild ride, Donna! Have fun baking and shopping!

  16. Thanks, Ana! It's great to have an in-store promoter. Hope to see you at RT!

  17. Sharon,
    I've been encouraged by my friends to do a signing, but when it came right down to it, I was by myself when I finally got the guts to ask. My husband isn't much of a promoter either, but then, he hasn't had the opportunity. I plan to drag him along to at least one of my signings, so we'll see how he does.
    Hope you feel better soon!

  18. Thanks, Jessica. I've never considered myself as being particularly heroic; just good at what I do, but to some people, that's what counts.
    Nice hunk, isn't he?

  19. That's the way it is with me, too, Linda. If it comes up in conversation, that's fine, but I don't like to be too pushy!

  20. LOL! That would be too cool, Robin! Maybe they could make little stand-up posters for your table instead of the shellacking job. That way everyone could see them!

  21. hey, I"m in for a signing in Nashville. Haven't read all the posts, but maybe Danielle, you want to do a Sourcebooks bookstore signing? We've got enough variety to please any romance reader.

  22. Hey Cheryl!
    Chiming in late to say GREAT POST! I'm not always that forthcoming about promoting my books either. Hard to believe, I know, but I don't want people looking at me like I'm some used-car or insurance salesman. :-P Other people's books I have NO PROBLEM talking about, but my own... um, not always.


  23. Great post, Cheryl. I'm a lot like you, but hey, isn't that why they invented the internet? ;}

  24. Did you mean during the RWA conference, Judi? I'm going to be there in February, too, which is when I was thinking about getting one set up, but having one in the summer would be fun!

  25. Sounds like you and Kathryne are as reticent as I am, Cindy. I hate the idea of being considered a pest. I will mention a book once to someone I think might buy one, but if they don't follow up, I don't chase them down. I had to break that rule to get book signings set up, though, which was hard for me.

  26. I agree that the Internet makes things much easier, Kathryne. I can send out emails pretty easily, but the fact that some replies aren't very cordial slows me down a bit. I keep trying though!