Hamburgers and Dreams

My father’s taking me out to lunch on Thursday.  I love and adore my father, I’d like to be just like him when I grow up (except for the whole chest hair thing).  And who doesn’t like a free lunch here and there? And we’re going to Five Guys to get burgers (Yum!)

But still I’m not entirely looking forward to this lunch.

The thing is that this particular Five Guys location is relatively new and when they opened about 3 months ago my father, as is his wont, met the owner.  In the course of their conversation my dad happened to mention that his daughter (me) had written a novel and there was a scene in the story where the main character and a guy she’s seeing go to Five Guys for burgers.  I’m not really sure where the conversation went from there (It is, in fact possible, probable even, that telling him about my novel was the whole point of the conversation but that makes me more nervous so I’m pretending that that wasn’t it.) but apparently the owner at least acted interested because my dad told me about it and invited me out to lunch some time.

Well, it’s been a while but I’ve decided to bite the bullet and go.

I imagine that you’re wondering what my problem is, it’s not that big a deal, blah blah blah.  But I hate this kind of stuff.  I’m really exceedingly bad at promoting myself.  (I blame my sisters and a whole childhood of intimidation but that’s a whole other post.)  But I also know that it’s something that I need to get over if I’m at all serious about this writing stuff.

Writers need to promote their books.  A lot.  Publishing houses don’t really have promotional budgets for the average book, so it’s pretty much left to the author.   (Which is especially hard because most authors are fairly solitary, we’re writers after all.)  And how willing an author is to self promote is actually a factor for a lot of agents and publishers.

And here I am talking about agents and publishing houses as if they’re issues for me to deal with, which brings me to one of the biggest problems I have with this whole lunch thing.  I’M NOT PUBLISHED!  This oft mentioned novel with the scene set at Five Guys is a manuscript that resides not on my bookshelf but on my hard drive.  I don’t even have an agent.  I think I’d be more comfortable with the whole thing if I had an actual book to show the guy, or at least a prospect, but I don’t.

But I’ve decided I’m going to go anyway.  And I will be gracious and charming and I will give him a printed out copy of On the Table in a binder and i will eat delicous hamburger and I will smile and I will promote.  Because i’m a writer, dangit, and that’s what we do!


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. E
    Sep 14, 2008 @ 22:00:39

    Good luck! I think you and I share the same “wanting attention but not wanting to look like we’re asking for attention” gene. But I think we’re the only ones. Anyway, I can relate.

    Dad’s so cute when he’s proud of his kids.

  2. chronicler
    Sep 14, 2008 @ 22:52:20

    Can I tell you jealous I am of you and your luncheon location! I had the pleasure of partaking of the goodness that is Five Guys and i was hooked in an instant! They are superior to In and Out (California’s best) and any other random burger chain that could be mentioned.

    So I googled them, because I thought they were an east coast company, and found out there is the one and only location in California about an hour and a half away from me!!!!! Oh now I’m not so jealous. Unless I count lunch out with a great dad.

  3. bythelbs
    Sep 14, 2008 @ 23:53:03

    Hey, maybe this burger joint guy has a brother-in-law who’s friends with the husband of a woman whose (or is it who’s?) sister’s best friend’s boyfriend’s father owns a publishing company and has been looking for the next best medical mystery/drama. You just never know.

    Have a great lunch!

  4. s'mee
    Sep 14, 2008 @ 23:59:36

    or you could just repeat some of your comments…like all that “Man on man!” stuff a few days ago…change it to five men and there you go!

    Sorry sis, I had to…still waaaaaaay funny. (Hope you’ll still tell me where the “5 Guys” place is)

  5. Melanie J
    Sep 15, 2008 @ 00:56:47

    I have heard of the mythical 5 Guys. I highly doubt they can beat In-n-Out but I’m definitely going to try it. I think they just opened one up by my sister in Midvale and I’m going to drop in next time I go visit her.

    As for promoting…well. I think if an agent or publishing house knows you’re willing to do the work, it gives you an edge in being published. This can be something you give as an example of how you’ve been willing to do your own legwork. Only dress it up as cross-promotinal opportunity where you networked with community businesses or some nonsense like that.

    Sigh. I’m working on this very same piece of the puzzle as I prepare my query letters for the manuscript I’m sending out tomorrow. Egads.

  6. diana banana
    Sep 15, 2008 @ 05:21:32

    you two aren’t the only ones with the gene. i also am known to think i want lots of attention and then i’m very embarrassed when i get it.

  7. Lisa
    Sep 15, 2008 @ 12:23:18

    Oh, I wish you the best!! I’ll probably never be where you are, but I’m being encouraged to publish SOMETHING (maybe at least an article or something) by a lot of people. I just don’t see it. I think I write about things that should be boring to other people. I joined Bloggers Annex in hopes of getting something “published” there for starters (to appease those begging me to try), but I look over my blog for what posts to submit and they all seem extremely boring!! So I keep not submitting anything!

    So I’m just saying that at least you recognize that you’re an awesome writer. Maybe if you focus more on how you like what you’ve written ABOUT, like Stephenie Meyer (sorry if you hate the comparison, I’m only talking about promoting) talks a lot about her characters etc. and not so much about herself (or does she?) Sorry, I’m kinda rambling. I just mean to wish you luck! Sheesh!

  8. Alison @ hairlinefracture
    Sep 15, 2008 @ 12:35:14

    I’ve never heard of Five Guys–but a good burger is always worth going for. And as another (mostly) unpublished writer, I say go ahead and be gracious and promote the book because who knows, it may lead to something.

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