I am getting better at riding out the shit that life throws me. Right now, in my personal life, the life I don’t write about in my blog (believe it or not I do keep some things to my self), I have had something happen to me that is best analogized with this: You are walking on, what appears to be, a lovely bike path, nice and flat, miles and miles of easy asphalt ahead of you. You are just going and swinging alone, enjoying the feeling of moving forward, the lovely scenery with water to your left and a thicket of trees to your right. Then, suddenly, upon the next step, you drop, fall, down, down, down, and land in new place, bruised and lost. It’s sudden. There’s no warning. And now, you have to figure out what to do.
This “shit” that life has thrown me is not the worst thing to have happened to me ever-that would be death, divorce, or illness. It’s none of those. Maybe that’s why while this sometimes wakes me in the middle of the night, but my heart doesn’t pound and I don’t get a tightness in my chest. While I am consumed with it in my head during the day, it’s more just the buzz and noise behind everything else.
So, it’s not that bad. I guess.
But, the point is, the reason for me sharing this with you all is that this “shit” has given me some perspective on my writing, and more importantly, (what this blog entry will eventually be about) on the marketing of my new book, Fear of Falling.
Due to this shit in my life, marketing my book seems like a minor concern and yet, at the same time I say that, I feel guilty. I shouldn’t neglect this book. Marketing is my duty in a way that when you create something, with it comes the responsibility of caring for its well being. I know the book isn’t my child, and I have blogged about realizing my old metaphor of birthing books and parenting them into the world doesn’t really work. A book is not a child. I get that. But still, I wrote the thing and published it. Shouldn’t I tend to it regularly? Or, is it like what happens with your pets once you have children? Where all your energy used to go to loving Fido, now poor guy is lucky if you clean his food bowl once in awhile.
While I feel guilty about Fear of Falling not getting as much of my time as it should, I am well aware of how futile book marketing efforts can be. That I can do every single thing short of tying the book to my neck like a necklace and still not sell a lot of books. I have talked at length about the going-up-hill-with-a-bag-of-rocks-on-my-back experience of book marketing. The reality is that you just don’t know what will work, and you do a lot of shooting arrows in the dark. That was fine with the first and second book and that was fine before I had two children and that was fine when I wasn’t in school and that was fine when my business was slow. But now, I am pressed for time. Now, I have other things that are simply more important.
Even when I was a marketing nut, the result was almost the same as not doing a whole lot. With book one and two, I did every single thing possible and sold a total of a bit more than 1500 (and I still sell some here and there). That is fantastic for self-published with no help. But the amount of time and energy it took was enormous, and I don’t regret it, but my life is very different now and I can’t live that way. I have to make money to support my children, and so my time has to go to children, work, and husband. Plus, I am in school, and school comes before marketing my book. I have to accept my limitations, and I have to let go of these voices that say “You should have waited to publish this one” or “You should have tried harder for a new agent or tried at least once with submitting to a regular publishing house.”
Should’ve, could’ve, would’ve.
It’s frustrating to love your book and believe in it but feel as though the time it takes for promotion is futile. Shot in the dark, and if you keep shooting and missing, you get pissed because your time could be spent doing something else. Recently I sent out a gazillion press releases, spent $800 on it and got only one response. Seriously? WTF?
The struggle is with the guilt I feel for not devoting the amount of time I did with book one and two. The struggle I feel is the sadness of how so few will get to read this current book. How, in many ways, this is the most important one. The struggle is to say, “I did this for simply the sake of my art and not to sell or promote.” Which is the truth. I went into this one saying, “I am publishing book three because I have to. Because if only two people read it and are moved and touched– it’s worth it.” I don’t regret self publishing it. I just wish that the few things I do for marketing would snowball effect out and bring in more readers.
Self-Trust When You Self-Publish
When it comes down to it all, I have to trust my self and my process with this book, and I have to remind myself why I did it and reconcile myself with the reality that some of the marketing I have done, which cost lots of money and time, isn’t working, and so that’s it. That’s it, as in, time to stop wasting money and time and just do what’s easy and accessible and free.
Forgive and let go...
I am done efforting with marketing and from here on, I will market only in ways that are easy. And if I don’t sell any more books, I accept that.
The struggle between work, school, marketing, children, husband, house. I really understand I no longer can do it all and do it all to the best effort. One of those things will suffer. It can’t be the children or husband or work or school. Those are, in ways, effortless. It’s the marketing of this book. Sorry, book. I love you, but I can’t do much more than I am doing.
Told you all, way back before I released this book, that I would be really honest about the third time around in self-publishing. So, here’s the update on the book’s progress.
Middletown High School in Middletown, RI ordered 12 copies to give out as awards to teachers for a unit they did on bullying. MHS is my alum and place I taught a few years back. I wish they would invite me to come and do a workshop. Cross your fingers. I have put it out there so...
I had a signing at Barrington Books and sold 20 copies between the three books.
Reviewing/blog goddess and student/friend of mine Joanne Carnevale posted the first official review.
A fellow named Marc Marc Archambault, author and blogger, will review the book on his blog My Indy Book Review.
Devyn Burton from 5 Awesome YA Fans has the book and will review some time next year on his blog http://fdreview.blogspot.com/. The Faerie Drink Review
I submitted to the IPPY awards.
I have acquired 73 fans on Facebook!
The Bristol Phoenix Wrote a lovely piece about the book and me. http://www.eastbayri.com/detail/131943.html
The Jewish Voice will be running a blurb and a head shot in their next issue.
Mt. Hope High school here in Bristol asked me to come and do a workshop.
The Barrington Library– so I hear– has a display of my books!
Clark’s Alum magazine featured a quick blurb about the book.
A reviewer from the Young Adult Book Club website is set to review the book shortly.
On the other hand...
The Newport Daily News has passed on writing an article about me. Too bad. They did a nice job a few years back on my first book.
A few weeks back there was a request from the press release service I used. Haven’t heard back, though. I spent $800 on this wire/press release service. I only got one response. Lesson learned.
I haven’t set up any more signings yet.
Ran a contest only one person submitted to. : (
If you have any easy and quick marketing ideas, email me! I will post any that I try out.