You’re not supposed to look at the image of yourself on TV while you’re on TV. You are supposed to have a facial expression other than “frozen smile melting into fear.” You’re not supposed to stare so intently at the host that it looks like you’re wondering what her hair tastes like.
This is what I know about promoting your book on television, and I learned it all the hard way on Showcase Minnesota last week.
My publicist, Courtney, has been doing a fantastic job setting up media events to promote September Fair. She’s nailed numerous newspaper, radio, and television appearances, not because I’m in demand but because I have serendipitously written a murder mystery that takes place at the Minnesota State Fair that just so happened to be released two weeks before the Fair opened. Turns out people like a little “dairy princess getting murdered while her head is carved from butter” mixed in with coverage of the prize-winning pumpkin, the farmer whose gone to every State Fair since he was born except for the year he was away at war, and the “how to make ____-on-a-stick” recipe segments.
But here’s the dirty secret: most of us don’t write because we like attention, and we certainly don’t like being on TV. We write because sitting in front of a computer, writing, wearing pjs so worn that the butt area is more screen than door suits us just fine. When I’m on TV, I’m not thinking deep or sparkly thoughts, and I’m not having fun. I’m hoping I don’t snart, do remember the name of either of my two children, and don’t accidentally blurt out “two city busses,” the calming mantra of my two-year-old second cousin.
It does get easier, however. A little Vaseline on my teeth so I don’t flash the snaggle-toothed smile, a couple homeopathic stage fright pills that taste like sugar and probably are, and clothes that don’t cling, and I can stumble through an interview all right. Or not. You can be the judge. And wish me luck—I’m doing Fox Morning News and Twin Cities Live tomorrow. While you're at it, why don't you tell me what the worst/most embarassing thing you've ever seen someone do on live television is. I'll treat the information either as schadenfreude food (schadenfood!) or a slippery slope that I'm plummeting toward.