Cynthia Ozick, Cinderella of the book tour

Aspiring writers longing for a national book tour should read this hilarious account by Cynthia Ozick in the New York Times:


Morning, Sept. 27, 2004. Audience of millions! Author, who generally sleeps till noon, is at television studio before 8 a.m. Seated in barbershop-type chair in secret makeup chamber, she is powdered, painted, blow-dried. Sees in mirror Aschenbach in “Death in Venice.” In greenroom, Author is introduced to fairy godmother: Ann Patchett in glamorous black dress. Fairy godmother and Author are deposited on sofa under blaze of lights. Soon host materializes, perfect teeth, hair, skin, jawline, resembling movie star, or flight attendants when they were called stewardesses and were forbidden to reach middle age. Host explains she was too busy all weekend to get through more than 10 pages of Author’s book. Hidden under white cloth, book is placed on something like cake stand for ritual unveiling. Suddenly show is on! Beautiful host asks Author to tell about novel. Apt moment to describe sensational plot of gripping page-turner! Or at least to remember to say name of novel. But Author’s tongue is all at once in possession of cat. Quick-witted palaver Author learned from media coach, gone!

Host flashes Movietone smile at fairy godmother. I’ve heard, beautiful host confides, indicating Author, her stuff is really hard to read. Good-hearted fairy godmother, loyally brandishing best-seller wand, cries out, “No, no, I don’t agree!” Painted old Cinderella sees coachmen turning back into mice, audience of millions melting away.


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7 thoughts on “Cynthia Ozick, Cinderella of the book tour

    1. In the U.S. my friends who are authors often design their own book tours, usually regional. They also “guest-blog,” maneuver their way onto radio and TV talk shows, and engage in various other ploys to get the word about their book out. It seems to help.

          1. I have found that too. No one has enough relatives to put your book on the best sellers list, unfortunately. One does have to be very creative.

  1. Those of my friends who can count as “successful” writers still have many Ozick-like experiences – one of the entries in this piece ends “went home in the rain” and that’s a motif for writers in general – brief periods of success and long periods of invisibility. It helps to be scandalous – Gert has sometimes thought of committing a string of horrible murders as a marketing ploy.

  2. I have a dear friend who with a few others publishes their work on their own Small Press. They all do organized book tours and consider it part of their normal business practice.

    Ozick certainly puts us right on the couch with her interview tale. So well written.

    Thank you for sharing. 🐞

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