Tuesday, September 1, 2009

TV, by Jess Lourey

You’re not supposed to look at the image of yourself on TV while you’re on TV. You are supposed to have a facial expression other than “frozen smile melting into fear.” You’re not supposed to stare so intently at the host that it looks like you’re wondering what her hair tastes like.

This is what I know about promoting your book on television, and I learned it all the hard way on Showcase Minnesota last week.

My publicist, Courtney, has been doing a fantastic job setting up media events to promote September Fair. She’s nailed numerous newspaper, radio, and television appearances, not because I’m in demand but because I have serendipitously written a murder mystery that takes place at the Minnesota State Fair that just so happened to be released two weeks before the Fair opened. Turns out people like a little “dairy princess getting murdered while her head is carved from butter” mixed in with coverage of the prize-winning pumpkin, the farmer whose gone to every State Fair since he was born except for the year he was away at war, and the “how to make ____-on-a-stick” recipe segments.

But here’s the dirty secret: most of us don’t write because we like attention, and we certainly don’t like being on TV. We write because sitting in front of a computer, writing, wearing pjs so worn that the butt area is more screen than door suits us just fine. When I’m on TV, I’m not thinking deep or sparkly thoughts, and I’m not having fun. I’m hoping I don’t snart, do remember the name of either of my two children, and don’t accidentally blurt out “two city busses,” the calming mantra of my two-year-old second cousin.

It does get easier, however. A little Vaseline on my teeth so I don’t flash the snaggle-toothed smile, a couple homeopathic stage fright pills that taste like funny pictures of cats with captionssugar and probably are, and clothes that don’t cling, and I can stumble through an interview all right. Or not. You can be the judge. And wish me luck—I’m doing Fox Morning News and Twin Cities Live tomorrow. While you're at it, why don't you tell me what the worst/most embarassing thing you've ever seen someone do on live television is. I'll treat the information either as schadenfreude food (schadenfood!) or a slippery slope that I'm plummeting toward.

12 comments:

Keith Raffel said...

You'll be great. Go get 'em, Tiger!

Lisa Bork said...

Oh, Jess, you will be wonderful. Everybody loves the State Fair, and they're sure to love you, too.

Paul Lamb said...

Congratulations on all of the media attention. Be sure to make a post when you're going to be on Oprah. (It won't be long, I'm sure.)

P.S. Never been to a state fair.

G.M. Malliet said...

You'll be great, Jess. You've done this before, right, so I suspect you've got it "taped."

Jess Lourey said...

Thanks for all the wonderful support! It's not a comfortable situation, this live TV thing. No retries, embarassment preserved forever. Lisa, maybe if I go dressed as a corn dog, I could more immediately associate myself with the State Fair and garner the love?

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

You'll be great! Don't worry about it.

I've seen some really funny things happen on live TV, but I don't think listing them here would make you feel any calmer. :)

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Beth Solheim said...

Jess was also featured on my Reading Minnesota blog where Minnesota authors, bookstores, publishers, illustrators and reviewers are celebrated.

Jody said...

Can't wait to read the book. I've been to the Minnesota State Fair twice & have seen the carved butter displays.

Jess Lourey said...

It's like a cheap trip to the Fair, Jody! Elizabeth, try me. I want to hear something truly awful. :)

Cricket McRae said...

If your appearance on Showcase Minnesota is any indication, you'll wow them. You're polished, funny, and look beautiful!

Jess Lourey said...

Cricket, will you be my best friend?

I can't watch the clip, but I do remember during the taping that, like a stuck record, I couldn't stop mentioning that I was from Minnesota.

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