My New Years Resolutions
I hate making New Years resolutions. While I like the concept of New Years in terms of rebirth, renew, refresh, and recharge, etc, I really hate this idea that I will make this list of goals that are usually impossible to accomplish or in the idea of becoming a better, slimmer, more perfect ME. So, that being said, I have changed my mind this year. I have decided to make some resolutions.
The resolutions came from some obsessive thinking. That's how all of my good (and bad) ideas start. I woke up this morning thinking and obsessing, as usual, about my life and where it is and how I want some things to change (remodel my house) and some things to stay the same (my marriage)…but then this creeping, little thought slithered in. It was something like this- probably not as clear as I will write it out, but it was this:
Your books are sitting downstairs, in books, unsold. They are collecting dust in the warehouse of Baker and Taylor and iUniverse. Get moving. Get back into the shameless self-promotion and tireless pushing you were doing.
So I got up and went to the computer, trying to figure out how to do some more promotion.
Now this is an odd time for me, in terms of my books and writing. I have an agent, and we are working towards getting a book deal for not just the two books I self-published, but also the entire series (about 5 books). Plus, I have written a collection of short stories and also another novel (in progress). Our goal is to get a book deal that enables me to stop self-publishing, and I always viewed my self-publishing as a possible stepping-stone towards regular publication. (My ultimate goal is to make a living from my writing, but it seems to be, as other writers know, impossible.) What makes this whole thing odd is that the feedback we have been getting is that my self-publishing the books isn't necessarily helping the process. This is odd in and of itself as the self-publishing garnered me the attention of agents and led me to sign my deal with my current agent. Now that we are knocking on doors of publishers, however, some (two independents) are reluctant to pick up books that are already published. Now here's what I don't get: Are they reluctant because the books were self-published or just published in general? And, what about books like Eragon or Legally Blonde? Both began as self-published and went on to be VERY successful. Now, the feedback from the mainstream publishers is something like my work isn't sexy enough (my books are the antithesis of Gossip Girls) or they don't have room on their "list" to add my work. No one has said my writing sucks or my characters aren't realistic. So, as you can see, waiting for a publisher, even with an agent, isn't easy, and you can see that it is a truly confusing and odd time for me with my publishing endeavors. Luckily, I have been doing this awhile that I know publishing and writing and even promoting are all separate things.
The thing is, I never set about writing or getting published with the idea of money, fame, or honor. I set about simply because I love to write, am good at it, and feel that my stories about Maddie Hickman (my main character in the series) are IMPORTANT and need to be shared with as many people as possible. Simply put, I have something- a lot of something–to say. I never set about self-publishing to necessarily reach a book deal, although that was always in the back of my mind. My goal originally– and I guess– is what keeps me going underneath all the confusion is to connect with readers. Self-publishing was the fastest way to do that.
So as I wait for my agent to land us the killer deal I feel is in the not so distant future…what the hell do I do in the mean time? I know I have a very busy and full life with my business and my daughter and husband. I know the notion of adding on more work especially when a lot of marketing for books is futile (book signings are the WORST!) all of it adds up, and it adds up to book sales and networking. But ultimately it means I will reach the readers I want to reach. It will help me attain my original goal–share my work with other people.
I have pulled back from promoting after a flurry of retreats and book signings in the early fall. Simply put, I was exhausted and had found that the last three books signings for my new books were AWFUL. The second book is probably like the second child. You put up with less. You expect things to move along like they did with the first, and you let more things go– all of which I did with the second book, and it is reflecting in books sales. The sad thing is that this is a better-written book, and I am so very, very proud of it. And yet…the idea of getting back out there and shamelessly pushing it, well, it overwhelmed me a few months ago, but I feel renewed, now. The idea of rebirth and refresh– the new year.
After all, I think I lost sight of why I did all the shameless self-promotion…I did it because I believe in my work. Again, like with children, I bragged about these books because I think they are fantastic and even in their imperfections they are beautiful works of art to me and not only that, they are probably the best pieces of who I am creatively.
So, I have decided to try to get back out there and promote. I am starting with this blog, which I will email all my contacts about. (Hello contacts!). I am going onto the sites like Author’s Den, Amazon, and this new one called Bookcrossing and I will try to do some online promotional stuff. And my New Years resolution is to promote my books. The first major task I have assigned myself is to find 25 organizations that would accept my book as a donation. It’s a great, grassroots way to promote, but it’s also giving. I like the idea of giving away my writing; it goes along with that original goal of connecting and sharing my work with others. On the one hand, I would love to sell a lot of books but on the other hand I would REALLY love to just increase readership…
Just thought of two other things:
1. I also have short stories on my website that I want to expose more people to and need to find a way to self-promote that.
2. I donated 50 copies of my first book to Hope High School in ’05 and it was the best experience EVER. I like the idea of donating to an educational organization.
3. Another New Years resolution I have is to be home more, but I need to work. So I want to find a way to earn money from home. My newest idea is to teach some of my classes online. I contacted my web guy to try and help me figure this out.
If any of you have any self-promotion ideas, please leave your comments here.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Go make a resolution that isn’t about being thinner or more perfect….Maybe if we all did that we would keep the resolution!
New Years Resolutions:
1. Self promote writing.
2. Work from home more.
What are your resolutions?