Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret
among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture Marly Youmans is a novelist and poet out of sync with the times
but in tune with the ages. --First Things

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Book Tour as Acorn-Strewing

I wish Some Bright Official Bookperson would decide “once and for all”—and especially for me—what works and what doesn’t work to get the word out about books and to build that highly desirable and seaworthy vessel, a readership. Heaps of recent articles and blog posts have argued that the institution of the Book Tour is hoary, unpleasant, and a waste of time for any but those who are promoted mightily. This is something that a writer not receiving a solid “push” (i.e. one of the 98 or 99% of us) sometimes feels while on a tour, especially in its boggier moments, so it has an unpleasant whiff of truth about it. But just when I decide that I’ll be like Anne Tyler and forget the whole unwieldy abandon-the-three-kids-to-Daddy enterprise, along comes Miss Snark with a post about her Acorn Academy.

What’s an author to do?

For now, ignore. The rampant confusion may go away.

I’m feeling pleased with the week so far, as Monday-Wednesday brought these developments: 1. I found my name on one dedication page; 2. I was asked to write a book; and 3. I have fresh reason to feel good about my newest editor. 3 for 3. Not bad.

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.