Naked on 5th Ave Has New Meaning

When a writer promotes a book, there’s no place for shyness, or diffidence of any kind. In fact there’s no room for an addiction to solitude, a tongue with a default position of tied, nor the inclination when the doorbell rings, to hide — those very tendencies that contributed to my becoming a writer in the first place. Not one smidge of discomfort is allowed when tooting one’s own horn. But never mind. Overcoming my natural inclination to hunker below radar in the back row turns out to be the least of my problems.

In gearing up to promote my first book, Mrs. Somebody Somebody, — still oblivious to the problem I was about to come up against — I contacted my shyest published writer-friends for advice on how to go about it. They all insisted, “First thing, you have to have a website.” The thought of hiring someone to create a website featuring ME seemed as likely as my parading down 5th Avenue naked. But I Googled every living writer I could think of and found that having a website dedicated to self-promotion is what one has to do as the bare minimum (pun intended.)

I asked around and found a talented website designer with many writers’ websites to his credit. He advised me on the sort of information I needed to gather for him: the cover design, bookjacket copy, book tour details, (so far so good) blurbs, my contact information, a bio, a photo, (yipes!) and then he asked, “Have you gotten a domain name yet? If you haven’t, I’d recommend that you go with the most straightforward: tracywinn.com.”

There it was: my name was going to be a commercial site on the internet. It was enough to make me reach for my handy-dandy cloak of invisibility. Nevertheless, I set about claiming my “domain.” And here was the real problem: my name. Every possible spelling of my name, Tracy, Traci, Tracey, Winn, Wynn, Win, and every dot com, dot org, dot net had been claimed.

My father, an ad executive and actor, had an extrovert in mind when he chose my name: perfect for the stage, uncommon, short, easy to pronounce, and with a nice iambic lilt to it. The Tracy Winn he had in mind would have had an eponymous website just for the fun of it. She would, without a doubt, have loved tweeting, too.

There was a time when I longed for a more floral or mysterious name. When I was eight I wanted to be Rosalind. When I started writing, I was tempted to change the spelling so that it was ethnically less easily identifiable. Trais Uin seemed an alternative that might catch the eye of the slush-pile screeners. But over time, I’ve accepted my name as it is. When I discovered that all the domains for Tracy Winn had been spoken for, I Googled myself.

There were quite a few listings. More than three hundred twenty six thousand, actually. If you type in tracywinn.com, you will find that she is a porn star, and that “my” most recent feature-length films are entitled “Saturday Night Beaver” and “Toys for Twats.” Somewhere among those thousands of listings, XXX, DVD, and Sextraganza! Adult Film Database… you will find Tracy Winn Stories and see that to claim my own domain, I have had to compromise, comfortably remaining almost impossible to spot in the back row at: www.winnwriter.com.

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3 Responses to “Naked on 5th Ave Has New Meaning”

  1. pam Says:

    Tracy- I am looking forward to attending one of your readings. I am now going to google my name. -pam

  2. Celine Keating Says:

    Dear Tracy,
    This post is hilarious – and hugely helpful. I’m at exactly the point you were a while back when told to create a Web site – actually I’ve been debating what operation I can suddenly need so I can be in the hospital instead of doing all the self-promotion!

    Just wanted to say I love the Web site and am rushing out to get the book today – not to mention a domain name asap.

    Congratulations on your success so far, and please, come and read in NYC!

    Celine

  3. Tracy Winn Says:

    Celine,

    Thanks for writing. I’ll be coming to New Canaan CT on October 7. It isn’t exactly the city, but if you know anyone from that neighborhood, please tell them to come to Elm Street Books!

    Hope you have a) the book b) a domain name by now.

    Tracy

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