The other day I was interviewed over Google "Hangout on Air", and it was rather funny as neither interviewer nor I had ever used it before. There I was, simply covered in slap ("paint"), whacking away at keys on my computer with loud damns while across the sea my interviewer stared into his web-camera and began to sing. I could hear him, but he couldn't hear me, but at last I got my computer sorted, so he could begin.
"So how's the book doing?" he asked.
Well, what a stumper of a question. Those Canadian boys are tough.
The thing about living in an attic in a 17th century house in the central belt of Scotland is that I am rather isolated from the majority of my readership, who live in Canada and the United States. If I were in Toronto, I could rush about seeing if my book were in the shops, and offer to do readings, and go on the Michael Coren Show, and charm the Paulines, and generally get in everyone's face. Actually, I hope to do all that in February, after buying a super-cheap round-trip ticket. (This means another Seraphic Singles Toronto Valentine's Day meet-up, by the way!)
I am vaguely known in the Catholic subculture of Toronto, thanks mostly to my column, but in Scotland, no. My biggest claim to fame in my Scottish neighbourhood is having spilled a container of single cream all over myself in the Co-op grocery store and therefore getting to see the staff loo behind the doors to the back. (The back of the Co-op, I was fascinated to see, is almost as big as the front.) At any rate, the idea of going to an Edinburgh Blackwell's or Waterstones and saying, "Hey, how about I come and do a reading here?" is intimidating beyond words. As you may recall, I tried to get in with the local writing scene, but the atheist pride and Catholic-bashing in the first group I tried was just too relentless and I chickened out. It's one thing in Toronto, where it's just fashionable; it's quite another thing in Scotland, where memories of sectarianism still linger and David Hume is THE poster boy for the Scottish Enlightenment.
That said, I suppose I should start emailing people at the various British periodicals to see if anyone has read my book yet. The biggest challenge is actually getting people with free copies to READ the book. And that is sad because, IMHO, if you read page 1, you are going to keep reading. The next biggest challenge is to get people to WRITE about the book, so I am most terrifically grateful to you who have already left Amazon and Goodreads reviews, Twittered and mentioned it on your blog. Apparently there was a review in Oklahoma's Sooner Catholic, too, but it is not in the online edition.*
Incidentally, my friend Deb says that Ceremony of Innocence would make a great Book Group read because everyone could talk about the issues--and there are all kinds, political and literary--late into the night.
Meanwhile, Rose, the Ignatius press PR woman assigned to the case, has been doing a great job getting me radio interviews. So far I have done two radio interviews, and I will have one on November 21 with Holy Spirit Radio in New Jersey and another on November 25 by Nebraska's Spirit Catholic Radio, both interviews to be recorded and played later in the week. Then there's my Catholic Register video interview which will go online, if the picture quality is good enough.
But what I told my video interviewer is that the book had been out for less than a month, so I didn't know how it was doing, but I had sold over 84 copies to my blog readers. He didn't look too impressed, but I was impressed because my average blog reader is a Single woman in university, and when I was a Single woman in university, I did not have much of an entertainment budget. Also, most of my writer friends back home are poets, and their own print runs are 200 copies. If I can sell 200 copies by Christmas to my blog readers, I will be able to look Clara in the eye in February.
Incidentally, I love photos of my books in faraway shops, so if you happen to see Ceremony, snap a photo of you and Ceremony in the shop, and then send it to me, I will certainly put it on my blog!
*Actually, that one's not out yet.