I can flirt with the best of them. I can make lewd comments, behave boldly, brashly, wear low-cut shirts, talk trash, cuss like a sailor, pinch a friend’s ass, and take seductive fat-girl photos. But I can’t toot—blow—my own horn.
Back when The Book was being published, people would ask me about it, and I’d do the pshaw wave. (It’s the opposite of the Queen of England’s wave; it says not hello or goodbye but getthefuckouttahere.)
I didn’t know I was supposed to be promoting it; I thought that was the publisher’s job. For a month—and, to my surprise, only a month—they scheduled me to appear in magazines and newspapers and cool online sites. I spoke on radio—“A Chef’s Table” (syndicated NPR) and several Satellite radio stations. Nah, let’s talk about you, I wanted to say. What are you doing these days? That’s more interesting to me, even if it’s less funny.
Self-promotion skeeves me out. I don’t like to brag or boast unless it’s about my daughter, and then I can be relentless. But it’s unseemly to promote yourself. Tacky. Fugly.
I often sign up for those marketing-tip emails from fierce bloggers and self-promoters, thinking it’ll give me a kick in the pants about just doing what has to be done to survive as an artist, to reclaim my envied position at the desk in my dining room. But I hate those people. They sound smarmy and loud. I read their first two emails with the voice of Billy Mays or Aussie crocodile wrestler, Steve Irwin. (Ironic: they’re both dead.) And I wind up deleting all the rest of them unread. I can’t bring myself to send the “remove me” message. It’s like quitting.
Self-promotion has been a sore spot with me where a friend is concerned. He does it; I don’t like it. I had another friend—used to shake your hand with a business card in it, like it was a plastic baggie full of crack. Butt crack is more like it.
I’m not saying I don’t want attention and admiration and overwhelming envy from you. I will flash you a poem or a song, usually with cleavage to make it more palatable, usually on a Saturday, when I think no one’s looking, and I will whack you over the head with a photograph or 20. But they’re usually not accompanied by: “And I am selling these photographs for money. Hit me up for deets!”
Sure, I post links to my blog from Facebook and Twitter and Flickr; those email marketers have taught me well (in their first two emails). But I usually follow them with a links to things more amazing, like Chuck Prophet’s new CD, Temple Beautiful. (He was just on “Fresh Air”!)
Do I lack confidence? Am I shy? No way! I am fucking awesome. I’m just uncomfortable asking you to prove our friendship is important by shelling out some money for yet another thing I’ve made. I would rather give you some. That’s why my next paragraph has me already hurting in the groin.
Please pre-order my book of poetry, BOYGIRLBOYGIRL, published by Finishing Line Press. It’s not that expensive, it has a pretty cover, and the more books I sell before March 5th, the more copies they print. (Imagine sticking the publisher with a thousand of these babies!)
I should mention this: each week, I get a recap of the sales. With names. So if you are my friend, and you don’t order, I’ll know about it. I’d rather not. Because it can’t help but become this uncomfortable thing between us. Like an unvited hard-on.
Try before you buy. Then, please, buy.
The Skanky Ho