The Agony and Ecstasy of Marketing Stella Adler’s Biography

Stella as Zinaida in "He Who Gets Slapped" (1946)

Stella as Zinaida in “He Who Gets Slapped” (1946)

Nothing can prepare you for promoting your book. And it doesn’t matter if you’re indie (self) published or traditionally published; nowadays you have to do it yourself. DIY is the new normal (tweet this). Some of you may have noticed Stella’s biography was slated to release April 22. Unforeseen delays pushed the release date back to May 13, which seemed like the end of the world at the time. For 48 hours I thought the book would actually not go to print. After thirteen years working on the book, you can imagine the drama that created in my home. Dinner was a funereal scene.

Now that April 13 is imminent, the delay was a blessing in disguise. I can’t imagine how I’d be ready to launch Stella’s biography by Monday and continue breathing. Tonight, after helping my son with his homework and putting him to bed, I made a to-do list that I could not complete. This was unprecedented. To-do lists are inherently finite, even if you can’t get to everything that day. At least you have the list of what you need to do, but in the case of book marketing, it’s inexhaustible. When I reached number 18, I was too overwhelmed to continue. Here’s what I wrote in no particular order:

  1. Edit and return the Mid-Manhattan book talk flyer
  2. Get emails for people you still need to invite to book release party
  3. Pitch New York Yiddish community for an event
  4. Complete Noah’s summer camp application (random, but necessary if I’m to work while he’s on spring break)
  5. Write the press release for Harold and Stella: Love Letters
  6. Find a stage manager for Love Letters
  7. Create a Facebook event page for Love Letters, the Mid-Manhattan Library, Book Soup book talk, Samuel French book talk, and Drama Book Shop event.
  8. Send book cover to the Latino Book Festival
  9. Create a flyer for the Stella Adler Theatre event
  10. Call Chizzy about Steven Bauer
  11. Email Roseanne Barr
  12. Set up a Goodreads Contest
  13. Set up an Indiegogo campaign for Love Letters
  14. Cancel Mom’s geriatrics appointment
  15. Deal with Jury duty summons
  16. Write out your book talk
  17. Have publicist approve book reviewers on NetGalley
  18. Update your Events page on website

And that’s where I stopped because I realized my web designer has been AWOL for the past two weeks and it was too daunting to think about my website.

Writing this blog post was not on my list, although I knew I was overdue updating you all. Book promotion is not for the faint of heart (tweet this). You propose event ideas and wait. You pitch reviewers, bloggers, podcasts, radio and TV producers and wait. You follow up. Any one of these queries gets a response and then you haul ass to produce the materials, copy and people to make it happen. You stress, cry, get disappointed, elated, and tear your hair out. And yet, there’s something very empowering about today’s DIY artist. I mean, what else would I be doing with myself right now? Showering? Or, god forbid, writing my next book?

My fellow writers, actors, musicians, artists, what are your DIY experiences?


4 responses to “The Agony and Ecstasy of Marketing Stella Adler’s Biography

  1. I know it will be well worth the wait! Can’t wait to read it and SELL it!! Now… take a deep breath and all will be wonderful!!

  2. Oy vey! Lol!
    Keep persevering during this period Sheana… once it is released and the ball starts rolling again, you’ll feel ever so much better. I am so looking forward to this book! It will be an absolute gift to the fans and admirers of Stella Adler!
    Keep pushing and believing in your labor of love!

  3. Thank you, Jonathan! You’re my favorite cheer leader right now! Can I hire you?

  4. Haha! Absolutely.
    I’ve always got my cheerleading pom poms on standby.

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