Never put all your eggs in one basket. That’s what my father used to say. Being a writer is – and always has been – one of the most difficult and competitive endeavors. Especially now. So you have to go about this with a sense of humor, a healthy grain of salt, a one-day-at-a-time attitude.
I have been reading numerous posts about social media burnout, writers taking “Lenten sabbaticals,” still others saying they have no time for husbands, grandchildren, etc. in the pursuit of book discoverability/marketing/publishing.
I think I understand that. Yet, for me, one of the joys of being an author – is living creatively and meaningfully. Lose that and inevitably writer’s block ensues; no joy, no creativity. So I'll keep traveling, enjoying time with my dog, my family and my friends. Tending the garden, so to speak.
By now you know that I am about ready to release my new book, A Portrait of Love and Honor. This is my 4th book in five years and, as always, there is a sense of adventure, as well as trepidation. Suppose nobody buys it? It’s like that party where none of the invited guests showed. A nightmare if you dwell on the possibility. Forget that. I’m determined - if nothing else – to have fun with this book.
I will not view what happens with this book – or any future book - as a be all and end all of my creative life, talents and pursuits. Of course I wouldn't complain having a gazillion sales or the book going viral. But I no more accept the notion that everyone can move up in the world – an impossible dream – as everyone can have a bestseller.
This story was born out of love and it is with love that I release it to the world. As my son, Alex Cavalieri, told me early on in the writing of A Portrait of Love and Honor – ‘It is a creative expression, Mom.'
So right away that exempts much of the criticism, the expectations, the how to’s and what to do’s drilled into authors every day by the so-called marketing gurus, writing and publishing “experts” and the lot.
So . . . here is what I plan to do in order to have fun, ease the stress and pressure - call this my own "After Lent Sabbatical" . . . call me crazy.
- Replace the 'I do everything perfectly expectation' with 'I’m a pretty good writer and I do the best I can.'
- Work on one marketing endeavor a day. For example, one phone call setting up a book signing or talk. After that, back to writing, editing, enjoying a walk with my dog.
- Offer a Goodreads Giveaway and have fun seeing who signs up to win a free copy.
- Wait three months before I even consider BookBub.
- Engage with readers in person about writing and storytelling.
- Feel pride in my prior work and enjoy marketing those books alongside this book at my own pace and on my own schedule.
- Read no more than one post a day on how to market/sell your book, get more “followers,” boost your email list, pump up your blog stats, hone your Amazon keywords, etc.
- Not get hung up on social media, how many Tweets I tweet . . . or posts by other writers I respond to, or photos I pin to my Pinterest boards but, doing this if and when the spirit moves me and it feels right and interesting to do so.
- Blog about the new book or write guest blogs as they come up without actively pursuing or scheduling posts. That means no blog tours. (Seems a surefire recipe for burnout.)
- Politely ask people to write a review, if – and only if – they tell me they enjoyed the book. After all, what have I got to lose by asking?
- Appreciate each person for taking the time to write an honest review; good or bad.
- Continue to help and promote other authors as best I can. The temptation is to only promote ourselves, but this is a community, a collaboration of writers who need to offer each other a helping hand . . . especially in this toxic publishing climate.
How about you? Have you taken a stand to tackle marketing with an eye toward having fun and easing the pressure on yourself? Please share your thoughts and comments.