So I've been working on promotion for that little mommyblogging anthology of mine, Sleep Is for the Weak: The Best of the Mommybloggers Including Amalah, Finslippy, Fussy, Woulda Coulda Shoulda, Mom-101, and More! (Out in September - e-mail me if you want the pre-order e-mail when it comes out.) There are 23 contributors besides me. They live in 16 different cities. I want them all to have a book signing if they want one (some don't, which is totally fine -- not everyone likes to walk into a bookstore all by themselves and yell "LOVE ME" with the hopes that someone will). So I've been spending a lot of my free time calling up Barnes & Noble and Borders in various cities and asking them if they'd be interested in doing an event.
So far I've scheduled two. I've been making calls for about two weeks now.
It's taking me back to the early days of my career, the days that I was in public relations. The days that I was once called a fucking parasite by the editor of an industrial trade magazine. (Dude, I'm just not that into you.) The days that I would look out at Lake Michigan from my windowed office on the 11th floor of 444 N. Michigan Avenue and think, "This is the best office I will ever have in my life, but goddamn I hate this job."
I liked writing press releases, but I was not loving media relations. I have the utmost respect for anyone who does it well, because it's hard to bother people when they're busy, especially if you don't have real news. Now, I do think this book is real news, so it's not really the same thing, and I'm calling bookstore events people and not reporters, but the act of dialing or e-mailing is very similar. Fortunately for me, I have the ability to hound people with little self-consciousness, bred in the days aforementioned, the days spent repeating my phone number and dreaming of writing a book one day.
That day is here, and here I sit, my fingers poised over my cell phone.
So I'm going to probably redo this blog a little so that I can feature the dates when these amazing women (and of course, Laid-Off Dad, who is also amazing) will be in a locale near you, Sharpie-wielding and fabulous, so that you can go see them and have them sign a book and maybe your chest. And when I get it scheduled, if you're nearby to one of them, you should totally go.
Let's talk about the whole Internet rock star thing. There are a LOT of Internet rock stars in this book.
Birdie's New Mexico Time Machine
Mommy Needs Coffee
Not Calm (dot com)
State of Grace
Surrender, Dorothy (not rock star, but editor)
The Modernity Ward
The Naked Ovary
Three Kid Circus
Woulda Coulda Shoulda
I guarantee you all of these people, Internet rock stars though they may be, are totally normal. Well, maybe not "normal." They are really, really good writers. But other than that, they spend their days taking care of their kids, looking for their socks, and worrying about the state of the economy, the environment and American Idol just like you. Every single one of these people is a gracious, approachable human being.
I know there's been a lot of talk around the blogosphere about mommybloggers selling out to the man. You're probably going to think I've sold out, too, as I attempt to pimp this book (and I will, I WILL). I guess I look at it in a different way. If Bossy can get Saturn to loan her some cars so she can drive around the country meeting people and have the experience of a lifetime, why shouldn't she? If Amy can get Isabel to document her second pregnancy on her very own new blog, why not? If Heather and Alice got sent to Amsterdam just for being them back in the day, if Izzy and Susan and Chris and a ton of other people got a free trip to New Jersey to learn to braid hair and get some baby shampoo, I guess I really don't blame them. If I can get a company to sponsor events so that America can meet the incredible writers who worked on this book for very little money, I will do so.
Most bloggers are not raking in the dough from their writing. Sure, there's Heather, and we all know that story, but she and her husband both spend almost all of their time working on that site and the promotional activities surrounding it. How many of us would make that kind of commitment? And blogging is a major commitment. In order to sustain a good blog, you have to post often and post well. The contributors to this book do that. It's a lot of work. It cuts into your free time. And most people really don't see any real cash from it -- they do it because they love it. For the community, for the daily exercise of writing, for the thrill of meeting new people. If companies recognize that they are opinion leaders and want to talk to them about products, I think that's just fine.
Consider the alternative.
Consider being ignored.
Consider Corporate America not recognizing that women make over half the buying decisions for the family. Consider Corporate America thinking our opinions don't matter. Consider it going back to the way it was a few years ago, when male-written technology and political blogs dominated the blogosphere to the extent that major newspapers asked where all the women bloggers were.
Here we are, world. Here we are.
I'm not saying bloggers should sell out. Nobody wants to read pages and pages of product crap. Bloggers know that. That's why most of us try to keep our main blogs pristine and only link out to review blogs. I know I do. I covered Rebecca Woolf's book here on my main blog because Rebecca is one of us. She's a great blogger with an equally great book, and I believe in supporting my peeps. There is enough room for everyone in the blogosphere. One blogger going to New Jersey doesn't mean another blogger won't go next year. If it's a good experience for everyone, it will happen again. If my book sells well, there will be another book, and I'll make a big effort to get new talent into it.
I'm really disappointed at the sniping that's been going on, though. The Internet rock stars aren't hogging the spotlight -- they've earned their way there through years of great writing. However, I know that people who read blogs read blogs -- they don't just read one. There is not a finite number of eyeballs. Blogging is taking over morning television. There is room for everyone -- just keep writing. Keep writing, and we will all keep reading. But we have to support each other. We've gotten the attention of the mainstream, and it's the first time I can remember "normal" people being able to influence politics and culture and commerce in the way bloggers are influencing it now. So seriously. Support each other.
And go see these great bloggers when they come to your area. You'll be amazed at how completely lovely they are.
And, just to prove a point: Review is up of Land's End swimwear - and you can win a $100 gift card. Because we like to share.