After being detained in Dame Murderpool's bone-chilling basement cell for the better part of two weeks, INTERN escaped and has returned to North America, leaving Shamsbury-pon-the-Spoor in Elmira's capable hands. (it's a long story. INTERN will save it for a rainy day).
Anyway, INTERN's book (still a secret) has been out for almost three months now, and while shivering in Dame Murderpool's cell, INTERN had the time to collect her thoughts on some things she's learned in that time.
-It helps to be friendly.
As opposed to being demanding, arrogant, vain, mean, prima donna-ish, or, in the words of INTERN's editorial assistant friend, "a f&^#ing psychopath." INTERN has been told this holds true outside of publishing too, but so far this has been unconfirmed.
-It helps to have people.
Mention you've just had a book published, and suddenly everybody you've ever met becomes your greatest spokesperson without you even needing to ask. INTERN's landlady spammed all 1,400 of her nearest and dearest e-mail contacts when INTERN told her about her book, and the librarians in INTERN's hometown all but took out a full-page ad in the local newspaper. It's not about "networking" or schmoozing up important-looking strangers at cocktail parties—just knowing people, pretty much any people, is fantastically useful. (PS: It helps if those people like you, or at least feel a kind of vague semi-approval in your direction—see previous point.)
-It helps to be innumerate.
As in, it helps to be so extraordinarily bad at math that you can blithely ignore the fact that for the time you spend promoting your book by maintaining a new blog, website, twitter and facebook page, getting up at 4 AM for radio interviews on the other side of the country, and having a nervous breakdown over your selection of outfits for a 15-second national TV spot in which you look like an anemic weasel, you will make approximately 75 cents per hour unless the sales are really, reaaaaally good.
-It helps to be available 24/7.
One of INTERN's publicist's favorite tricks is to call when INTERN is still in bed and say "Why haven't you written back to my e-mail yet?" in a voice that floods a very groggy INTERN's body with terror and adrenaline. Some radio and TV opportunities literally can't wait, and if you don't answer the phone on the first ring or hop in the first cab to the airport or whatever, there's no second chance. It can be hard to wrap your mind around the extent to which you're expected to be "on call" for potential media events, even several months after the book's release. But it's also a good sign, because it means your publisher's still pouring energy into your book.
-It helps to see everything as hilarious.
Book sales awesome? Hilarious!
Bizarre and possibly sinister Amazon review? Hilarious!
Radio host invents a sexy and outlandish bio for you on the fly? Hilarious!
So much of a book's success or failure depends on things you can't predict or control, so it's easier just to laugh at everything that happens in equal measure rather than get really psyched about the wins and really stressed about the downers.
And that's about all INTERN can think of for now.