How far would you go to increase your book sales? Would you give us that unnecessary organ?

At a PR event recently, a publicist asked me if I could think of a hook to help increase sales for The Donor. “It’s a shame you don’t have kidney disease,” he said, “and it’s not like you’ve donated yours…” He held my gaze for several seconds – I could read his thoughts: Would you? Is this something you could do for us? For you?

So many things went through my head, but the loudest was: I’m not sure if I have time this week.

A few days later, I gave a workshop on pitching at Write Now, part of the Aye Write Book Festival in Glasgow. I talked about how strange and uncomfortable it is that authors have to sell themselves to sell their stories. I came home wondering, how far should you go?

Should you tell the press if you used to be a prostitute? Even if it’s a lie?

Would you upset someone you love by talking about the ups and downs of your relationship?

Talk about your addictions?

Your mental health?

Your parenting?

Would you sell a kidney?

(Go on, you have plenty of time this week. Whip it out).

A friend has just had her debut novel released. She emailed me about some interviews she’d been asked to do, wondering how much she should divulge about her life. I said something like this:

Don’t upset anyone you care about. It’s only a book, after all. It won’t hold your hand when you’re branded a liar, when an up turns to a down, when you realise you drink too much, or finally go to the doctor about the state of your head. And in a few decades, it won’t stick post-it notes around the house reminding you who you are, and where.




(NB: I wouldn’t go under the knife, but I’d sneak links to The Donor – Tod sei Dank in Germany – into my blog, and make a cool promo video…)


~ by helenfitzgerald on March 11, 2012.

One Response to “How far would you go to increase your book sales? Would you give us that unnecessary organ?”

  1. I have tried to donate a kidney – I offered them also a sliver of liver and some bone marrow – but they weren’t having it. I write poetry and wanted to be able to have a room of my own to write in. here’s one i wrote earlier:strange symmetryi wanted a marriagehe wanted a wifehe wanted a slave-of-his-ownI wanted a life


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