When I was in junior high, I tried out for cheerleading. No matter that I couldn’t see and refused to wear glasses so there would be no way to learn any of the cheer footwork since feet were fuzzy and too far away. No matter that I’d never turned a cartwheel or done anything athletic in my life. I jumped in and did it. And I failed. When I saw what the other girls could do–human pyramids!– I understood that cheer was not something I could join in order to learn. It was something that needed previous practice. So girls who had parents that took them to classes before they tried out, or even just girls who went out and hunted down someone, an older sister, a neighbor, to train them, were in and I was out.
I have a new challenge ahead, and like every challenge I face, I’m reminded of why I failed at cheerleading try-outs. I was not prepared. I also thought I was clumsy, just a natural clod, until I started yoga many years ago. Through yoga practice I learned headstands and plows and half moons. I learned balance and loved it. So when I have a new challenge I also think of yoga and what I can do. So, I felt both fear and elation when I learned that Blue Heaven is going to be released this Friday exclusively on Amazon.
All the hard work of writing, when you don’t want to, when you’ve revised to death, when you’re unhappy with sales and think “Is this really worth it?” It is. And the way I feel right now is why. Fizzy with happiness. Elation mixed with fear. What if my book sinks without notice? So many books do now since indie publishing has gained tremendous momentum in our popular culture. How to stand out? How to sell?
This “early release exclusive” is a marketing ploy; I’ve used some of the tricks before, when I was on my own and didn’t have the savvy of a publisher and super media consultant. I cannot wait to see the results this time! There are a couple of steps to this extended release. First step is Friday. I can feel myself at the keyboard all day saying “Hey!! Look at me!! I published a book!!” Hmmm. Maybe I should apologize for being obnoxious up front. Maybe during my cartwheels, I’ll fall right on my tush.
Marketing does not come easy or naturally to me. Some folks have it and some of us don’t. But I’m going to try for my little book. Books are like pets or children in that you will go places you absolutely fear to ensure their happiness and health. And healthy sales bring happiness. So, watch me as I try to do this thing called marketing. No cartwheels necessary.
As usual Cynthia, your personal life/writing experience is inspiring. Although it is not my genre of books to read, because you wrot it, and because it will have valuable life experience that will apply to me personally and inspire me, I am sure it will be a great book to read.
Yes, I know. Thanks Khaled. Men don’t read women’s fiction. But there are hammers and construction workers and stuff:)
Promoting creative work is a strange thing, but a seemingly necessary evil given the economic dimensions of our world. Authors, actors and musicians go from one media outlet to the next to answer the same bunch of questions.
One thing I would like to suggest is that there is a danger in equating financial success with the quality of the work itself.
In an interview with Triple J in 1999, Tori Amos mused over ‘the wine’ (specifically her then new album To Venus and Back which was a huge personal creative departure). She explains:
Secondly I would say that if you’re feeling self-conscious about promoting your work, avoid the hard sell and focus instead on the content of your (for want of a better word) ‘product’! You’ve been working on it for a long time, you know it in and out, and, chances are, you’ll be happy to talk about it. Meredith Brooks gave an interview to an Australian music publication and was delighted by the experience. She said that she would take the interview back to US to show them how music journalism should be done. What was different about that interview? Well Brooks explained that she was asked about instruments and her songs and her process. She lamented that back in America the press would ask questions about her favourite breakfast cereal.
So tell the story of your story, and see what can be achieved. As always, best of luck!