Now that one of my stories, “Short Distance Romance,” has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dating Game, I have become part of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Inner Circle. I’m not making this up. The Inner Circle is a real thing. Much of it is top-secret, hush-hush, involving special communique’s, etcetera, but what I can reveal is that as part of the Inner Circle other writers who have contributed their work to Chicken Soup have tracked me down to congratulate me and coach me on how to get publicity for being published, critical to building an audience for the novel I’m writing.
One of those contributors is Melissa Halsey Caudill, of North Carolina. The title of her story in the volume is “Uncomfortable.” I’m not lying when I tell you that I had to pull out the Kleenex by the time I got to her last paragraph. Melissa has deservedly enjoyed a media bonanza in her corner of North Carolina. She’s been written about by two newspapers, made an appearance at two libraries, given a talk at a brew house, and has a book signing scheduled on Valentine’s Day at a dinner theater event hosted by the local arts council.
I have followed Melissa’s “playbook” for getting publicity, but so far in Boston–the big city just 20 minutes north of where I live–I’ve heard nothing but the sound of crickets. I don’t blame Boston. The City of Champions has been very good to me. I became president of the Women’s National Book Association Boston Chapter, met my literary heroes at author talks sponsored by the Boston Book Festival, and have attended a host of events at the Boston Public Library and local bookstores, featuring well-known and bestselling authors.
And that’s the problem. I live in an area that provides so many literary events and is home to so many writers, that getting published in Chicken Soup for the Soul garners, at the most, a mild yawn.
But the weekly newspaper that is published in my town, the Weymouth News, did a lovely feature article on me this week and gave my sister, Sylvia Braxton Lee, a photo credit for taking my picture to go along with the story.
Getting publicity in Boston is difficult, nearly impossible. It’s a competitive market. But I’ll keep writing and maybe one day Boston will notice me.