Deb Rachel Likes A Good Myth

2012 Debutante Rachel BertscheMyths aren’t all bad. Sometimes they help us have a good time. (Birthday calories don’t count, right?) Other times they let us off the hook. (Since Say Yes to the Dress is on TLC–The Learning Channel!–it counts as educational programming. Duh.)

Ignorance, bliss, all that. When it comes to publishing, it can be true. Sometimes I’d rather buy into the myth.

For example, here’s a reality I’ve learned about book publishing over the last year: Unless you’re J.K. Rowling (and if you are, email me! I love you!) or James Patterson, your publishing house is probably not going to allocate their entire budget to flying you around the country for a book tour.  You can pay your way wherever you want, but that dream of lounging in first class on the publisher’s dime is, almost definitely, just a dream. It’s not easy getting people into brick-and-mortar stores these days, so unless you can guarantee a good turnout, it’s probably not in a bookseller’s best interest to host a big hoopla.

And still, I hold onto the fabulous book tour myth. Just in case. Also, it helps justify the super-cute white-with-tuxedo-trim perfectly fitted blazer I bought two weeks ago because it looked “authorly.” (No it’s not a word. Whatever.)

Another myth: That anything that happened to Carrie Bradshaw when her book came out is reality. Remember when she spotted the French edition of her book in the window of a Parisian shop and the fabulous book sellers decided to throw her an impromptu dinner party? I can guarantee that will not happen to me.

Also, if I have a book launch party, I will not look like this. Yup, that feathered slip and spiral staircase is Carrie’s book party entrance.

And still. A girl can dream can’t she? Not about wearing this dress, because, frankly, I think it’s weird. But about making that entrance? Or jetting off to France to drink Pinot Noir with Parisian readers?

Listen, that’s not publishing reality. I get it. I’d be the first to tell you that if you’re in this business for the glamorous parties and travel, you’re S.O.L. But the fun of being a debut author is that I’ve never done this before. When I’m willing to let myself get carried away, I can daydream about the fabulous life of a writer because while I know better, I don’t know better.

There’s only one first time. A year from now, I’ll know the ropes. But right now, when it suits me, I can buy into the myths. Because it’s fun. And while we writers often get hung up on the craft and artistry and business of what we do, shouldn’t writing–above all else–be fun?

18 Replies to “Deb Rachel Likes A Good Myth”

  1. No luxury air travel? No four-star hotels? No walking down spiral staircases in hideous designer dresses? Huh. I could have sworn…nah. Guess that was just my imagination, too.

    Well, that’s the good thing about being a fantasy writer. If I really want any of those things, I can always spin them in my head. *grin*

  2. I vote for the dress, Rachel! You should definitely have a launch party (even if you have to throw it yourself) and celebrate your book. We can always hope on future books for the air travel and dinner parties in Paris… Without myths, where would we be?

    1. Thank Meredith. I will have a party, I think, thrown by Mom. And there is nothing wrong with that! I’m excited. With or without the spiral staircase.

  3. I agree with Meredith – you should DEFINITELY have a launch party and make it YOUR reality. You’re right – you’ll only get one first time at this and it SHOULD be fabulous, no matter what you’re wearing or if you enter via spiral stairs or, you know, just a regular door.

    1. A regular door? Me? Unacceptable! I kid, I kid. I’ll have a party, but nothing as glamourous as Carrie. But i don’t need glamour! Just books and friends, right?

  4. Oh, Carrie…We know you meant well, dear. But you have done wonders for the Writers-Myth-universe. (Can we start on that ridiculously huge NYC apartment owned–or even rented!–on a writer’s salary? Not to mention your shoe-budget. Oh, girl. Please.)

    But Rachel you are so right that these myths aren’t all bad. The fun of the unknown and the dream is to imagine these romantic moments–what’s the harm? None, I say.

    And what does it say about ME that I think that dress is awesome. (I think it says I don’t have access to TLC.)

    1. I can’t tell you how many times people are like, ‘Oh you’re a writer? Like Carrie?” and it’s like “if by ‘like Carrie’ you mean I also write things, yes. If you mean I can afford huge NYC apartments and all the shoes in the world and will end up on the side of a bus? Uh, no.” And I don’t mean to be a hater, I loved SATC.

      As for the dress, it’s probably fabulous. I’m not one for fringes and flapper style anything. But Carrie was the fashion-forward one. So if she wears it, it must be fab.

  5. Okay, but can I still expense the fancy haircut & full spa day I’ll need to get ready for my booklaunch? What about the fancy makeover I’ll need for YOUR launch party? I mean, that seems reasonable, right?

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