Friday, June 26, 2009

Cover Up! You're Naked

By Deborah Sharp

Here's my latest worry in a long list of worries: Am I over-exposed?

Not in the naked sense. More in the Paris Hilton sense . . . well, considering the sex tape, maybe Paris isn't the best example of the distinction. What I mean is am I too out-there? Between Facebook and Book Tour, my website and blogging, have I already mined even the most mundane details about me?

In the old days, authors used to keep a modicum of mystery. Look to J.D. Salinger for the extreme: No published work and nary an interview in a half-century or so, and they're still talking about him.

I started thinking about this when a small arts & culture magazine in my home state of Fla. assigned a writer to do a profile of me. Great, right? Publicity! I was suitably thrilled.

Until the writer asked me to share ''some details no one has heard ... something new.''

I'm only on Book 2. But already my back-story --- Former USA Today reporter, burned out on the news biz, started writing funny mysteries blah, blah, blah --- has become a bore.

So, either I dig really, really deep for something more interesting; or I start making things up. I'm leaning toward the latter:

Me: ''Did you know I was launched into orbit as part of NASA's Journalist in Space program?''
Reporter: "Really?? Wow!''
Me: ''Yep, the earth looks like a blue marble from way up there.''

As members of the Florida media for many years, my TV reporter hubby and I know journalists around the state. I've been lucky to get some stories out there on my funny, Fla-set Mace Bauer Mysteries. But in the process, have I become eye-rollingly predictable? Oh, please. Not her again!

When I was a cub reporter in Fort Myers, Fla., one local artist (nameless here) was a relentless self-promoter. He managed to get the News-Press to write about him even in the absence of anything newsy: "Artist X has begun to think about a new project . . . ''

Finally, the editor enacted an X-ban: ''Unless X is shot during a crack deal gone bad while he's dressed in drag, we're not writing another word about him.''

Which gives me an idea of ''something new'' to share with that writer for the art mag:
''Did you know I used to be a crack dealer?''
''Wow! Really?''
''Yep. I shot a man in Fort Myers once. I was dressed in drag . . . ''

What about you? Are you out there promoting, Paris Hilton-like? Or are you holding on to your mystery, Salinger-style?


Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Deb, just remember, even though you feel exposed, there are still hundreds of thousands of folks who've never heard of you. You just need to relocate every few months to keep it fresh. Maybe I should go to Florida and you can come to LA.

Alan Orloff said...

Whenever you're feeling overexposed, you can always don the identity of Mama. I'm guessing you wouldn't get tired of telling her stories!

Lisa Bork said...

Oh, my, I guess one can never be overexposed compared to Paris Hilton. I think you have the right idea, though; just have more new adventures to keep your personal story fresh.

Deborah Sharp said...

Hey, good ideas: I'll move to LA, pretend to be Mama (who would NEVER worry about becoming over-exposed!), and embark on a whole new adventure .... Thanks for reading!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

And the thing is that most writers have pretty quiet lives! After all, we're inside...writing.

I'm out there--online, anyway. I'd rather do a reclusive number, but that's not the way publishing works these days.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Keith Raffel said...

Deborah, I didn't know you had a navel piercing. Still a nice PR shot.

Neil Plakcy said...

Can't wait to see you in this outfit at the next MWA lunch!

You make a good point, though. At some time do people just get tired of hearing from us? There's a guy on one of my e-lists who twists every question to be about his own books.

"You're looking for mysteries with dogs? Well, you'll like my historical fantasy set in ancient Crete, where there's a dog on page 37."

I have sworn a blood oath never to read one of this man's books.

G.M. Malliet said...

I have a dread of becoming one of those authors who always always always talk about their books. So I probably err on the side of Salinger-like silence.

Anonymous said...

for all the celebrity sluts out there