Monday, January 26, 2009

The Real Family Acts

Originally posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Okay, so this is about the real family acts behind the book Family Acts—which is going on sale on August 28 – in case I haven't mentioned that fact, which I have been trying to do every chance I get. See, someone told me part of a successful marketing campaign is repetition, the theory being that in this day of over saturated media and the constant bombardment of information if you want to make something stick, like the date your book hits the shelves, you've got to pound it into people's consciousness. So I've been trying to pound. Which means, since I'm not much good at consistent thought, when it occurs to me, I somewhat sheepishly mention that the book is going to be making it's debut ON AUGUST 28. Then I apologize for being pushy. Hey, what do you want from me? I grew up in the fifties when girls weren't supposed to be smart or get above themselves.

But I digress. The reason the push behind Family Acts – the book, not the family team to promote the book - which has been dubbed TeamLu – has become a family affair is… well, my stepsons decided I needed help. Which is usually a fair assessment of me. Writers today have to be a part of their own marketing. Publishers, even super supportive publishers like mine—Ballantine Books, for those of you who write and would like to work with the best people on the planet – simply can't do it all alone. The days of the reclusive writer-genius hiding out in his or her ivory tower are over. Today even Emily Dickenson would probably be hustling her act on Oprah. So the boys, Christopher and Colin, decided they would help me with some merchandise. That's one of the things they do for a living, they build sets, and props and promotional stuff. They have a business in Birmingham, Alabama where they can pretty much create anything you want—including a green Styrofoam T Rex which is the size of the actual beast according to the latest scientific research, and if you don't believe me, check out the pictures on their website and

The guys offered to create a logo for me, which would then go on tote bags, mugs, tee shirts and the like. At the time that this was taking place my book The Ladies Of Garrison Gardens had just gone on sale and the jacket featured a garden full of sunflowers. I like flowers. I think flowers, puppies, birthday cake and Puccini operas are proof on earth of God's existence. Also ball gowns and Strauss waltzes. So we decided to take the sunflower as a part of my logo

. Cut to —two years later when the Ballantine art department is in the process of creating the jacket for FAMILY ACTS WHICH IS GOING ON SALE ON AUGUST 28. The cover we all loved and accepted was mostly purple and it featured a pair of green shoes. No sunflowers. Christopher and Colin pointed out that we had a theme going with sunflowers. But what those yellow flowers were going to do to the purple and green jacket wasn't going to be pretty. God bless Ballantine, they came up with a pink sunflower, which was placed, on the spine of the book and all was well (See? I told you they were amazing). Then a decision was made to change the book cover—it was the right decision, and I'm eternally grateful that it was made -- but the boys had already started making tote bags and mugs with the old Green Shoes design. We now had a bunch of defunct tote bags and mugs. And the pink sunflower, which had been a holdover from the previous book jacket and then retooled for the now defunct book jacket now had to be worked into the new book jacket.

Of course it all came together—it always does-- and the new book cover is spectacular. Please check out the pink sunflower on the spine when FAMILY ACTS GOES ON SALE ON AUGUST 28.

And TeamLu has a limited edition of the defunct Green Shoes Tote Bags and Mugs which my stepson Colin will send to anyone who would like one as long as the supply holds out. Just email him –

Oh, and please forgive me for being so pushy about August 28th – WHICH IS WHEN MY BOOK, FAMILY ACTS, GOES ON SALE!

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