If you follow my blog or any of my social media, you know my very first book was published last month. And today, the ebook sequel is up on Amazon! These last weeks have been a whirlwind of promotions, emails flying in with congratulations, and local friends teasing me about how they personally know a real author.
Back in October when I signed a contract with Winged Publications, I floated on air for several weeks while adding finishing touches to edits. Then, it was time to “put it out there” for the whole world to see.
Elation turned into terror.
“But you said we’d wait until December 26th,” I babbled to my publisher. “I’ve only been preparing a launch team. We’re not launch-ready.” She’d pointed me to dozens of resources teaching authors how to spread the good news of their book babies’ births, but I didn’t have the luxury of time to study all of them.
“Relax,” she told me. “Learn one thing at a time and just keep doing it.”
I could do that. Inhale deeply. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. The threat of hyperventilation faded into the distance.
So, for the past month, I've done something marketing-related
everyday except Sunday. Visited a bookstore, posted on social media, learned a
marketing tip and planned when to implement it. The new discipline holds me
steady. I am learning.
You don’t have to do it all at once.
I’m sure I’m not the first author who has panicked under the
pressures of a thousand-item to-do list in order to successfully market a book.
While all of those tasks are helpful, the pressure is not.
Once upon a time, each of us was a baby. As we observed the world around us, we wanted to walk. Did we get to our feet and run around the block on our first try? Of course, not! (Although my brother may have been an exception!) We took a first step. And fell. We tried again. And again. Giving up never occurred to us.
We kept practicing until a second step plopped us on our diaper-protected fannies once again. Eventually, several wobbly steps brought us to a parent’s arms. But were we satisfied with
the security of those arms? Absolutely not. We wanted to try again. We set a
goal for the nearest chair, for the dog, for Mom's sparkly watch resting on the end table by the sofa. Today, unless our health has
failed us, we don’t need to think about walking across the room or taking a
three-mile stroll around the park. The skill was mastered long ago.
The marketing portion of the writer's life holds a similar set of baby steps. We observe what others have done, practice with someone guiding us, take our first solo forays into the public eye, and as time passes, we gain finesse.
I hope my most recent lesson in the writing life is helpful to you who are not yet published but hope to be. You’ll know not to panic when that wonderful notice arrives: We want to buy your book. And I hope my experiences over the past month have brought back good memories to those of you well ahead of me in the world of published authors.
Whether you have a book on the market or not, would you care to share any of the tips you’ve learned as you’ve dipped your toes into the rivers of the publishing industry?
Linda Sammaritan writes realistic fiction, mostly for kids ages ten to fourteen. She has completed a middle grade trilogy, World Without Sound, based on her own experiences growing up with a deaf sister. Book One, Reaching Into Silence, was an ACFW Genesis Contest semi-finalist and a First Impressions Finalist.
Linda had always figured she’d teach teens and tweens until school authorities presented her with a retirement wheelchair and rolled her out the door. However, God changed those plans when He gave her a growing passion for writing fiction. In May of 2016, she blew goodbye kisses to her students and dedicated her work hours to becoming an author.
A wife, mother of three, and grandmother to eight, Linda regales the youngest grandchildren with “Nona Stories,” tales of her childhood. Maybe one day those stories will be in picture books!
Where Linda can be found on the web: