Thursday, January 5, 2012

Entering the World of Promotion

For ten years—between 1984 and 1994—I taught professional editing to adult night classes at the University of Minnesota. Each quarter we built a community together. In the autumn of 1992, one student was a friend who encouraged me to tell the others about the publication of Dulcy’s book. I hesitated as I tried to keep my personal life out of the classroom.

The U of M classroom where I taught professional editing for ten years.

            The class of twenty-five had met several times when she stood up one evening and announced, “I just wanted all of you to know that Dee has had a book published and she’s doing signings and readings in the Twin Cities.”
            What a buzz and a to-do.
            All the students were excited for me and wanted to know how I got published and all the rigmarole I’ve been sharing with you. Their excitement ignited mine. So every week after that I’d begin the class with a ten-minute summary of the latest news about A Cat’s Life: Dulcy’s Story. I’d recount what happened at the most recent signings and list for them the ones coming up.
            Many of these enthusiastic Dulcy followers came to signings that were close to where they lived in the Twin Cities or the suburbs. Years later I was still running into these students at restaurants and malls. They’d gleefully recall the early winter of 1992. They’d so enjoyed “being in the know” about the publishing process.

Three students at one of the signings.

            These signings and readings took place at both chain and independent bookstores. Between October and April 1993, I entered a new world of publicity. None of it daunted me. I was doing this for Dulcy. She’d given me the gift of her book. Now I was giving her the gift of promoting it.
            Television and newspaper reporters interviewed me in Stillwater, the Twin Cities, Seattle where I visited at Thanksgiving, and Kansas City when I visited for Christmas. One well-known television personality in Minneapolis interviewed me at my dining room table. The newspaper reporters had me come to their offices and interviewed me there.
            I hadn’t worn makeup for many years. However, the television staff of the news and talk shows insisted I’d look “washed-out” without at least lipstick. Remember the friend who’d chanted, “Bor-ing! Bor-ing! Bor-ing!” when I asked for an opinion of the manuscript back in early 1990? She offered to go with me to the television stations and help with the makeup. I felt as awkward in applying lipstick as I had when I’d left the convent twenty-six years before.
            Reading for twenty minutes for Minnesota Public Radio was a fascinating experience. Daily, I listened to MPR’s “All Things Considered.” That program and its ebullient reporters informed my life. Now here I was, sitting in a sound studio and listening to my own voice recount the days of my life with Dulcy.
            The Arts Program on MPR taped my reading. It would be part of their offerings the next day. Glancing up from Dulcy’s book, I could see the program’s moderator beyond the plate-glass window. Within that studio, I felt Dulcy’s presence all around me. Our life together was touching many others. One more gift among the many she’d already given me.
            The next evening, at a signing in St. Paul, a man approached the table where I sat signing Dulcy’s book. He handed me a copy he’d just purchased. While I signed it for him, he told me how much he’d enjoyed listening to me read on MPR. The story I’d chosen to read had captured his attention while he ate his Reuben.

The same signing during the late autumn of 1992.

            A cat lover himself, he thanked me for sharing Dulcy’s story. Meeting people like him and hearing his and their pet stories made these signings and readings a true delight for me.
            In my next posting I’ll share with you the reason that all this happened back in 1992. I don’t think Dulcy’s book would be met in the same way today. You’ll see what I mean on Saturday.
                                                            (Continued on Saturday . . . )

PS: Health news: The infection persists. I started my third round of antibiotics yesterday. Mostly I’m feeling exhausted and so I’m napping, reading, and staring into space! 


  1. I have so enjoyed reading about your publishing experience as well as the fact you taught editing at the University of Minnesota. What a varied life you have led. You mentioned that you are moving back to Minnesota -- has that happened yet?

  2. Well Dee today I became a Kindle customer using my MacBook. How one touches lives is really a very wonderful journey. I have already fallen in love with Dulcy!! I love animals. We'll have Ellie the rescue cat for three more weeks until she moves out with my daughter. This month both daughters are moving out along with the pet. It will feel empty a bit at first but Hubby, Buddy and I will relocate in the spring when hubby ought to be strong again. Then we'll see about a new pet for the three of us.
    Hope that your illness gets better soon. Buddy, daughter and I are also on antibiotics but we are doing okay.

  3. Your writing charms me, Dee. I feel as if I'm not just reading your story--I am living it with you!

  4. Just read an older post about rawness in mouth issue. I have sores from germ due to dentures and found that a rinse with a stung alcohol did wonders and the dentist confirmed that it is a great germ killer since our mouth contains a lot of them. Your thrush will need probiotics in the diet and even anti fungal drops like Nizarol. I have been in that place more than once. My immune system was weakened during my teaching days due to mould and asbestos, etc. in my places of work. I had to stop in 1994 when my lungs just would not function properly. But with the help of many methods both conventional and not, I'm coping just fine.

  5. I love hearing your story about your life and the book and your promotional author talks and readings. I just finished the book Wednesday. Not a good idea to finish it in a waiting room--LOL! ;)

    Oh, you poor baby! I wondered how you were doing. I hope you are going to be totally rid of this infection soon! Keep resting and sleeping and healing. :)

  6. Broad,
    Thanks so much for continuing to read my postings despite the fact that I've been away from yours and others for three weeks. As to Minnesota, I hope to put the house on the market in mid-February (depending on the weather). Who knows how long the house will take to sell in this housing market? Once it does, I'll go up to MN and look for a place to live. I hope to be relocated by the end of 2012, but all that lies in the deep dark heart of the Universe. Peace.

    I'm sorry to hear that Buddy and you and your daughter are having to take antibiotics. I hope all goes well. Where are you hoping to relocate?
    I'm glad to learn that when you do, you'll bring another cat into your family. They become such endearing family members.

    Thank you for your kind words. I do so look forward to beginning once again to work on my novel. I think my writing has improved since I began blogging. Peace.

    You must have had so many problems with that asbestos. Is your immune system now fairly stable? Our bodies truly are marvels. They endure so much stress throughout our lives and yet they continue to permit us to reach out to others. A blessing. Peace.

    I take it that you cried in the waiting room. I'm glad you've met Dulcy. Do you think she and Karma share much in common? I'm going to visit a few blogs today and then nap again. I'm becoming a pro at napping! I hope your health is good. I scrolled through your blog for the past two or three weeks and learned that you'd cut your finger badly. You surely didn't need that. I so hope that it is healing well. Peace.

  7. Napping, reading, & staring into space have their place. Better to do that than to try to "recover" while overdoing.

    I never do the other makeup, but yet, lipstick I find essential.

  8. So sorry you've been sick, Dee, but it's good to come and read more of your life adventures. Publishing is quite the weird yet wonderful business, yes? Dulcy's story is one I definitely wish to read.

  9. Dear Dee,

    You have had such interesting and fulfilling experiences in your life. Writing and getting your book published is quite an accomplishment. Adding to that, sharing your knowledge of editing with your students must have been very satisfying. I am sure they were all enriched by your instruction.

    We are all hoping that this latest antibiotic will do the trick and that you will be feeling well real soon.

  10. Mary,
    The recipe for getting well seems to be working. I still have the infection and the thrush but the chills stopped this afternoon. I'm almost back in the saddle again----sans lipstick!

    I hope you do get to meet Dulcy. She was quite a wonderful cat and taught me so many things that have helped me live with other cats since she died.

    Thank you for your concern. I think I'm feeling better already. As to teaching editing--I learned so much about the craft as I taught. Those were a rewarding ten years for me. And the students were very responsive and told me repeatedly how much they were learning. Each quarter the twenty-five of them and myself became a community in which we all shared and helped one another learn. Teaching is a fine profession when one is respectful of the learner and the learning. Peace.

  11. You need to take care of yourself first, Dee. Everything else can come after that, but you need to get well. Now I'm worried about you. Please take it easy and let yourself get the rest you need. Please? :-)

  12. I cannot begin to tell you how much I have appreciated hearing about Dulcy and how your book came about, Dee. There is a certain excitement that I'm sure was akin to what your students were feeling as they learned of your book. They were proud of you, I'm sure, and it also gave them hope, I know, for that is what I feel each time I read this. Hope that maybe someday . . .

    Do listen to your body and rest as needed. I imagine a dose or two more of the antibiotic may be needed. It is encouraging to have you writing here as it means you are getting better. How fragile our bodies are - and how resilient. Here's to a restful night as I close, Dee, and a good day tomorrow.

  13. Me, again. I wanted to thank you for letting me know about Yarn Harlot. Penny

  14. Staring into space can indeed be time well spent! Turn it into a quiet never know, Dee, perhaps the inspiration for another book will come to you. You've obviously really enjoyed the publicity and promotion in the past, and that can be the most draining aspect of publishing. Looking forward to Saturday's next installment! Keep resting...Debra

  15. DJan,
    Thank you for your concern as you yourself are in the midst of dealing with much stress from the theft of your valuables. I am taking care of myself, and I've learned a big lesson: go to the doctor and pee in the cup as soon as any pain is felt! I guess that even at a stubborn 75 we can learn something new every day!

    I hope, also, that one day this will all happen for you and for everyone who longs to have what she or he writes published and read by others. Writers want to communicate. Sticking a manuscript in a drawer to moulder just doesn't seem right!

    Yes, I did enjoy all the happenings after publication. I've never thought of that as an encouragement to get published again, but you're right--it is! Now I just need to develop a routine that permits me to work everyday on a novel or a cat story or something that will span the distance between me and the reader. Peace.

  16. I can't imagine how amazing that must have been for you. I so wish I could have been one of your students, cheering you on :)

    Get feeling better.
    Love ya,

  17. I'm sorry you are still feeling poorly; let's hope this lot of antibiotics works.
    If anything like this ever happens again, you'll know to go for help right away!

    I've been a slow poster and commenter myself, mostly because of the long holiday, which lasts for a minimum of two weeks in the UK. But now I'm back to work too; I've caught up with your last posts and hope we'll continue to read each other's blogs with the same pleasure as up to mow.

    Happy (and healthy) New Year, Dee. May it bring you your heart's desire.

  18. I think sharing the news with your students was the right thing to do. As a student myself, when a teacher shares their passion with me about something it immediately grabs my attention and inspires me to get passionate about something. Success should always be shared!!

    BTW - I'm new here. Elisabeth sent me!!

  19. Having your own cheering section--how wonderful is that!!
    I hope you start feeling better soon.

  20. For what it's worth, Dee, I think Dulcy's story is a timeless tale of love and loyalty. I read it over the holidays and just loved it!

  21. Elisa,
    Those students made all this even more memorable. And when I'd look out at a signing/reading and see one or more of them sitting in the audience, I'd feel so happy for Dulcy's sake.

    Yes, I have learned to recognize the symptom and I vow that if this ever happens again I will hie myself to the clinic for the urine sample! As to what I wish for you in this new year, Friko, I send back to you just what you wished for me: may this new year "bring you your heart's desire." Peace.

    Lil Dreamer,
    Thanks so much for coming over from Elisa's wonderfully entertaining blog. Glad to meet you. And thanks for the tip on sharing. I think you're right. Sharing is how we build community.

    I never thought of those students as my "cheering section," but you're right, they were! And they made everything even more pleasurable.

    I'm so glad that Dulcy's book spoke/meowed to you. Your words--"a timeless tale of love and loyalty"--truly epitomize for me what her story is. Thank you.

  22. Dulcy's story certainly touched me deeply and I know it must have touched the hearts of so many. You heard her and you were able to put her story on paper. The site I told you about is called A place where writers can gather and sell their books. Hope you get well soon and all the best for the new year for you and your kitties.

  23. wow, such an interesting story :)
    I can already tell that you were an amazing teacher, because there are no better stories than the ones you've experienced on your own. your students were so lucky :)

  24. Hi Dee,
    It is fascinating to hear about your publishing adventures, and your teaching experiences! You have lived as many different lives as a cat!
    However, I agree with many before me who say that you must take it easy and be gentle with yourself. Getting well, being whole, is much more important than keeping up with the blog world (even though you are missed terribly when absent!)
    Big hugs to you

  25. Dee, I am just getting caught up with your blog after a crazy holiday rush. I hope you are feeling better. I'm excited to read A Cat's Life:Dulcy's Story.