Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Read “to save your life”

June 15, 2010
Since I am giving several readings in the next little while, I’ve been thinking about how to gear up for being such a public person and to prepare for those times when no one will show up. So I share this with you, from my friend, the writer Michael DiLeo: “As an argument in favor of giving even the most sparsely attended readings, I present the tale of a Texas writer friend who gave a reading of her second book (a memoir) at a bookstore in Baltimore a few years ago. This reading was attended by only one person, a professor of literature from a college in Pennsylvania, who had driven a couple of hours to the reading because he loved the writer’s first book (also a memoir) so much. She told me it felt insanely awkward at first with only that one eager face in the audience, but after a bit she began to read to the man as if she were reading to a lover, and she thinks she gave the best reading she’d ever done. Afterward, they talked and he told her how much and exactly why he loved her first book and how excited he was to read her second. Obviously, she was charmed. He invited her to have dinner, but she realized her publisher had hired a limo and driver for her (this was back in the day when publishers had promotional budgets), so they drove around Baltimore all night, stopping to buy champagne at one point, not ever getting around to dinner. A few weeks later he flew to Texas, asked her to marry him, and now they have children and live in Pennsylvania.
Moral: if you have even one reader, read to him or her like a lover; or, as I tell my students sometimes (after we watch the movie “Slam” for inspiration), read as if you’re trying to save your life.

Dialogue with Robin Black

June 8, 2010

Today Mrs. Somebody Somebody is available in bookstores in paperback! Today The Daily Grommet features an interview with me on their blog. They are having a contest, and the winner will receive a signed copy of the book.

Today ANDREW’S BOOK CLUB posted a written conversation between Robin Black, author of If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This (also available from Random House) and me. I learned a whole lot from Robin during our dialogue. (I always do!)

Today I heard that Mrs. Somebody Somebody is reviewed in the New in Paperback section of PEOPLE MAGAZINE’s June 14th issue.

Today there must be something in the stars.

Naked on 5th Ave Has New Meaning

June 3, 2010

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:”

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, 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:

Paperback Launch

June 1, 2010

In five days, Random House Trade Paperback’s issue of MRS. SOMEBODY SOMEBODY will be available in stores. The book is a Reader’s Circle Selection, which means someone other than me thinks it’s a good one for book clubs. Included in the back is an essay I wrote telling about the story behind the writing of the first story, as well as a reader’s guide to focus reading groups and get them talking about what they think.

The paperback has a jazzy new cover.  Susy Pilgrim Water’s illustrations grace the start of each story as they did SMU Press’s hardcover edition. If you found this blog by coming through my website, you’ve already seen some of Susy’s gorgeous, quirky work.

I’ll be updating this blog as the days count down. I hope to see you at a reading/signing soon.