I’m a Failed Publicist (+ New Video)

It’s been a tough month. A tough month with very little writing. A month of reading at bookstores around the west coast and doing interviews and doing a not-so-great job at publicizing the release of my novel. It is amazing how consuming even doing a bad job of publicizing a book can be. I can tell you that I’m not a natural at publicity. Follow my lame Facebook author page to get an idea. (I’m admittedly better at Twitter, but if you follow me on Twitter, you’ll learn more about my drinking and parenting problems than any book news.) Even though there have been plenty of moments this month when I want to hide in my attic and never confront humanity again, there have been some fabulous moments too, like when someone grabs me after a reading and says, “I made my husband read your book. He never reads fiction. But he loved this book… even the weird parts.” Those moments are worth a hundred hide-from-humanity moments (which gives you an idea of how many hide-from-humanity moments I’ve had lately)……

While I get my head on straight with how to proceed after this book tour, I wanted to share the video I used while on my book tour. I billed it as a “MAKING OF… VIDEO” for my book. It was my experiment at finding a fresh way to talk about a book while still keeping the audience entertained. It attempts to address one of the biggest questions I get about my book: What the hell is true and what is fiction? It also addresses another question I get a lot: How the hell did you piece this thing together? (I guess a lot of my questions have the word “hell” in them…)

Consider subscribing to my second-rate blog either by email or RSS. Or, to hell with my blog, just check out my book. Or, to hell with it all, never come back again.

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This isn’t your mother’s neurotic Jew novel

I’ve had trouble knowing how to talk about my novel, especially outside of my immediate literary community. The thing is that it’s a story that readers from many realms could enjoy (which is what I tell myself while quietly weeping at night thinking about that reviewer who hated my book). But there are caveats. Caveats that I honestly had no great way to talk through. Until Kristen Forbes did it for me. In this post on her blog, she shares how she talks to her mother about my book:

“Let me just warn you,” I said to my mom after she professed a desire to not only read Yuvi Zalkow’s book A BRILLIANT NOVEL IN THE WORKS, but also to attend his reading at Powell’s… And then I brushed on some of the more risque elements of the book, things like ass cutting and spanking.

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Fear & Failure Results

This was a fabulous thing to witness. For one, people actually wrote about fear and failure in honor of my damn booky thing. Which is nice because — even though I have a lot to say about failure — I didn’t want to have to report on my failure to instill failure in others. So I’m sorry to say that the failure experiment was a success.

What I loved about the results is that everyone who participated was true to their bloggy voice, but also appropriately messy and honest and real and each person stretched for this challenge. So thank you for that. If I were cooler at social media, I would’ve come up with some sort of hashtag for twitter… What dya think? #writefail? #fearfailure? #yuvisucks?

Without any more stalling, here it is, the beautiful list of people who successfully talked about fear & failure (in order of when they were posted). Please let me know if I unintentionally missed anyone — busy month!…

Fear & Failure Successes

Kristen Forbes: “THE (SEMI-) GREAT FEAR & FAILURE EXPERIMENT OF 2012”. Hot damn. You should follow her blog on any given week. She writes so openly and honestly about fear and failure and grief and loss and joy and friendship and love and heartbreak. So it’s not a surprise that she took on this challenge. But even so, what she wrote was beautiful and honest and real. Full of reflection while still full of unanswered questions. She also talks through how she could’ve taken the easy road with this post. But she didn’t. Go read it. (And I love the fact that she has a blog tag called “argh”.)

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video: Notes from the (Failure) Field

This round I have a short video with a bit of an update related to what’s been going on with me as my novel approaches the official August 14 launch date (along with, of course, the emotional baggage that goes along with any of my stories). I’ll let you watch the experience for yourself… A crying, drinking anteater can more effectively express the experience than any of my words.

West coasters: check out my event schedule to find out if I’ll be fumbling my way through a presentation at a bookstore near you. (ALSO! Note a few recent time changes on the calendar…)

And don’t forget my passive-aggressive method to get other bloggers to blog about fear and failure the week of August 14th.

And in other news: As former president George W. Bush once said, “Fool Yuvi into being a guest on your podcast once, shame on Yuvi; fool Yuvi onto the podcast twice, shame on you; three times and everyone should be ashamed about being a fool.” In other words, I had a great time on the “Mikes on Mics” podcast talking about the many layers to being “done” with a book. Check it out: Are We Done Yet? with Yuvi Zalkow.

And finally, a moment of respect for the great David Rakoff who died at the young age of 47 today.

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A Crying Anteater

Sorry for the quietness on this site. A little crazed this month. I’ll have a video (about a crying anteater and a bad book review) on August 11. My book officially releases on August 14. There will be more posts during the August 14 week… Also, I’ll be hiding under my desk from August 15 to 30 (though also on a little tour). And I’ll be at my therapist’s office from September 1st onward.

Don’t forget my passive-aggressive method to get other bloggers to blog about fear and failure the week of August 14th.

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The (semi-) Great Fear & Failure Experiment of 2012

I’ve said before that I’m terrified about reading in public… especially this upcoming weekend in San Francisco where I’m reading with Cheryl Strayed to celebrate the release of her enormously beautiful new book TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS. I’ve also admitted to being scared of how people will review my book once it comes out on August 14. Even more than these two fears is my fear that I can’t tackle my next novel. Or that I won’t be able to figure out where to take my failed writer video series. I’m scared of failing on all these fronts. I’m not talking about one of those fakey failures where everything comes out just fine a week later and I’m better for it. I mean one of those big messy failures where I’m crushed by the disappointment of book #1 and I grow too disheartened to write book #2 or make any more videos. Or where I start drinking heavily instead of writing or my marriage gets really rocky due to my paralyzing self-loathing. Or something like that.

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I’m A Failed Writer #14: Project Mismanagement

So when I showed my friend Michael Schechter an early version of this video, he said, “you are out of your mind.” Actually, he had a more colorful way to say it. Partly, this was because we had just sampled ten different beers at Hopworks Urban Brewery. But also, the original video made it sound like I was done making videos… so long, schmucks!

Check out the updated video and hopefully you’ll see that I’m not going anywhere far…

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The Week in Neurotic Yuvi News

My next presentation will go live this Saturday. Without saying too much about the content, the presentation will incorporate my survey results when asking folks on Twitter, Facebook, and Email which writing program they use. Thank you to those who participated in the survey so that I could turn you into a meaningless piece of a pie chart.

And here’s a little bit of book news…

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