Once upon a time, long before this publishing stuff started, I thought that once I got my career job (school counseling) I would be done promoting myself because I wasn’t sending out dozens of applications a week, trying to prove I was a worthy candidate to anyone who would take me. Wow, was I wrong.
If I want people to read “Making Room”, I have to tell them about it. Scary.
And if I want more people to read it, I have to get reviews/endorsements from people in the industry. Terrifying.
I’m at the next phase of publishing “Making Room” – I’m going to call it pre-marketing. Two pieces to this: word of mouth and endorsements.
Word of mouth – getting the word out to friends and family before you have anything tangible to show, because they’ll believe you, they’ll remember, and they’ll support you. I’ve been doing this for awhile, but I need to spread my reach a little bit…
Endorsements – Reaching out to established authors, reviewers, newspapers, etc., and asking them to read your book and give you Early Praise. This encourages people to read your book because it has a bigger-than-you name attached to it. In other words, preparing yourself for a handful of “I’d love to”’s and dozens of rejections.
To get through this I have done two things: given myself a Daily Challenge and engaged in a good amount of whining.
The challenge: I have challenged myself to tell someone new about “Making Room” every day until I run out of people to tell. You should see my face when I’m telling people; it contorts and I say the words real fast and my tone suggests I’m not quite sure that what I just said is true. But I’m getting better! Everyone has, of course, been incredibly supportive. But publishing something you wrote is quite a personal feat, and putting it out for the masses is scary! But, the goal of publishing is not to have your book sit on a shelf and hope that nobody picks it up. So, tell people I must.
The whining: I have fought these endorsement requests every step of the way. But that’s only because I hate feeling rejected. The authors who say no have all responded in grace, not with any kind of nastiness or “Who does this girl think she is?!”. Half the battle is getting over the fear of being rejected because it’s going to happen, but looking forward to the “I’d love to endorse your novel!” responses that are inevitable. I’ve gotten 2; one is a 2012 Christy Award (Christian literary award) winner and the other is a 2012 Christy finalist.
Ultimately, I am not selling myself. I am selling the story, one that I believe will resonate with readers. It resonated with me. That might sound silly to non-writers, but as a story-writer, sometimes you have no clue what a story is going to be until you write it. It’s like a movie that’s playing in your head; you’re just the transcriptionist. You might have an idea of what’s coming, but sometimes the story just flows and develops and all of a sudden you say, “Whoa. I did not see that coming. But I like it.”
To borrow from “We Bought a Zoo” – one of my favorite family movies – all I need is 20 seconds of courage. 20 seconds of courage, and I can get the ball rolling on these next steps of the publishing process. And I can publish my first book! (With the help of my wonderfully patient and thoughtful publishing company team at Ambassador International).
[I chose the above quote because sometimes, this whole process is scary enough to make me want to stop pursuing it. But that’s not really an option.]
Stay tuned this week for an excerpt! (And pass it along… word of mouth, you know).