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!