Favors, & Anguish, & Blurbs, Oh My!

It is extremely hard for me to ask favors of people.  I’m not talking about the “Hey, Chris, can you please replace the toilet paper?” kind of favor.  I mean the kind where I ask someone to do something for me that requires a considerable investment in his or her time or energy (even when the person is my friend and probably wouldn’t say no).  Or, that has anything to do with reading my writing who isn’t the DYPS.  My hang-up is that I never want to inconvenience anyone.  It’s actually quite paralyzing sometimes.

All of this is by way of saying, a few weeks ago, when I was lamenting to Karen that I don’t personally know any awesome poets (who aren’t my good friends or former professors) to blurb my book, she suggested Marilyn Kallet and Julie Kane–both of whom are poets I admire, but neither of whom I know.

I was being my usual leery, bleah-y, doubting self, sure that they would be a) too busy, b) too annoyed to be asked by a stranger to do such a favor, and c) too unimpressed by what they read to blurb it.  But Karen, ever patient, said she didn’t think that was the case, and she reminded me that I had worked as the editorial assistant on Umpteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird:  Critical and Creative Responses to Everette Maddox, that Julie Kane and Grace Bauer (my diss. director) had edited, so maybe Julie would be more inclined to blurb my chapbook.  And I think she suggested Marilyn because she knew that Marilyn would blurb my book as a favor to Karen, since they are friends.

So, the long and short of it is, I asked both of them, and they said yes!  So now I’m just awaiting their kind words… (I hope they will be kind…)

And Now a Word from She Who Is Soon-to-be Published

I’ve been thinking about cover art and blurbs and such, and I can’t tell you how stressful that is.  I’m beginning to think writing the book was waaaaay easier than all the stuff that comes after.

Karen says I ought to hold a contest and have my students come up with possible cover art.  Which I could do, and maybe give like a giftcard or something to the winner.  However, there’s a little part of me (alright, a BIG part of me) that thinks that rates a 10 on the Gouda Scale.  But what are my options, otherwise?  I can’t take a photo to save my life, and let’s not go into my painting skills.

And then there’s the whole “author picture” thing.  That’s a debacle in waiting.  I’m about as photogenic as roadkill.  (And no, this is NOT a call from my devoted friends to protest otherwise, well-meaning and lying as you would be.)  Ugh.  I don’t even want to think how obnoxious getting a professional-looking photo will be.  It’s not like I can ask Chris to take it.  He takes ghastlier pictures than I do.  Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

And Goddess save me, I have to find people to blurb my book?  If there’s one thing I despise (but secretly crave it anyway) is affirmation and notice from others about my writing.  The thought of approaching anyone and asking them to read La Petite Mort and say how great it is, fills me with absolute blood-freezing dread.  I go out of my way to be unnoticed, quiet, fade-into-the-woodworky.  Asking someone to read my book and hoping they’ll like it enough to say some kind words is like a nightmare to me.  I think I’d rather extract every last tooth from my mouth, sans Novacaine.  I don’t even know who to ask.  Who even really wants to blurb a book?  Isn’t it kind of phony anyway?

Ugh.

I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking I’m the most ungrateful, idiotic, ridiculous person in the world, who just got her book accepted and ought to be hella grateful, and instead, here is she is bitching about it.  You’re damn right I’m bitching about it.  I am grateful–I’m not a complete moron–but is it wrong to be just a little freaked out about the extra associated crap that goes with the acceptance of the book?  The pictures, the blurbs, feeling like a big bleah-head??

(Not that feeling like a big bleah-head is new for me.  I feel like that quite often.)