There’s a prayer I say every morning when I wake up. It’s a mix of different Marianne Williamson ideas and it goes like this Today let me see the people I need to see and say the things to them that I need to say. Today, let me use my creative energy to help someone other than myself.
I’ve been saying this prayer for a long time, and some days I know I won’t see a soul. Many days. That’s my choice; it’s a writer’s life. When I “say” things to others, it is more often than not via social media than in real life. So that makes me smile too. I started saying this prayer when I got up every day at 6 am to go to work and knew I’d see at least a hundred people, most of them my students. So it was important for me to get right with my words, and to ask my higher self to help out with that.
The third thing, doing something kind for someone else, is the thing I keep uppermost in my mind all day. Maybe all I do is visit a blog and post a comment. Maybe I write a review or retweet a great post. Maybe I make my husband his favorite dinner or give my mom a call. Before you start thinking I’m so perfect, I gotta say, there’s a bit of the expectation of a return on my kindness investment. I know how shallow that is, and that people should do things for others without expecting anything in return. I try to keep that in mind, but have not perfected it yet.
Many, many of my gestures are not reciprocated. At least not directly or in the way I imagine. This is where marketing misery comes in. I have a novel for sale on Kindle and Nook. I would like people to buy it. Lots of people. Millions of people. Heck it’s only 99 cents and anybody who can afford a Kindle can afford that, right?
I knew I could count on friends and family to buy the book, but if I wanted a wider audience I would have to do some marketing. I suck at selling. I just can’t do it. It feels wrong to blanket my Twitter posts and my website and FB pages with entreaties to “buy my book.” It felt better to make a list of all the indie books I’ve enjoyed and reviewed here on the blog and then also add my books at the end. That way, I’m spreading the love. And not being so obvious with my entreaties that readers also buy my new book.
I don’t think it helped much. The highest I’ve gone of the sales chart is #85,000. I’m now down at #300K. (I felt bad about those numbers until I checked my other book. It is like # 3 million, lol). I’ve been making friends on Twitter, and reading the tweets of those following me. This morning a guy said to pass on the Twitter love by posting a review of an indie book you liked on Amazon. Well, I coud do better than that! I pasted every review from my list onto Amazon and it felt really good. I mentally checked off my good deed for the day.
Not that it’s going to do me any good in any way directly related to my book sales. And that’s okay. I want to stop expecting direct reciprocity in my life. I want to believe that good deeds come back around, in their own way and on their own time schedule. I mentioned my fretting about Amazon ranking to my friend Kris. She gave me some good advice: never mind the numbers. Be happy that your book is out there. And you know what? I am.