In 2005, I completed my first novel, and for the next 7 years, said that I’d never share my work.
In 2012, I decided that awareness was more important than being shy; I self-published.
In 2012 and 2013, I submitted my books (and articles/essays) to countless publishers, magazines, and websites.
Through an author friend, I discovered what would become my publisher, Inknbeans Press. A warm group, whose mission is to publish works written about topics that may not be trendy, but accepts authors who write straight from the heart and strive to evolve and grow.
In 2012 and 2013, I learned that when it came to being self-published/published, there was much more than love of writing. I would need thick skin, to depend less on others, lose expectations that my work would be magically shared just because I’d poured everything I had into it. I started writing guest posts and reaching out to reviewers. I promised myself, that no matter what, (cluster headaches and all) I would figure out ways to do more in person.
As much as I hated the idea of stepping out beyond sharing my books – I would have to … talk in front of people and … *shudders*
Wait, where was I?
In 2014, I decided that I would put myself out there. Try to get my work into bookstores. Contact as many people as possible, to spread the word, to knock on every door that appeared, either in my imagination or through networking.
And what I feel is the biggest lesson — no, biggest shocker of all — is that I can appreciate, and dare I say I prefer, doing things in person.
Guest posts, reviews, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, online writing groups, (there are soo many options for networking and promoting online) are very important. But book signings, (even if hardly anyone shows or makes a purchase) are vital. And if you are as shy as I am, the more you do them, the better you feel once you’re in the moment. Whether you’re one to rehearse what you’ll say, or you find that you do better to ‘wing it,’ it gets better the more you do it. And here are a few more things that I’ve learned thus far.
1. Don’t expect people to do all of that hard promoting/marketing work for you. Word of mouth through friends and family is great. But they’ve got lives, careers, school, families — I repeat LIVES – of their own.
Leave your expectations with your rough draft. Trust me. You’ll get your feelings hurt, and you won’t get far. AT ALL.
2. If you do have a group of people who are dedicated to supporting your dream, and are sharing and spreading the word, thank them every single day.
Not everyone has that. You have to appreciate it, because people will become burned out if they feel taken for granted. Wouldn’t you?
3. I know what it’s like to be shy. Well, I don’t know that I’m that shy. Just an introvert, not great with small talk, not big on talking about me (in person).
Don’t be afraid to write down facts about your books that would be catchy, if ever you are stuck in line at the store, having small talk at work, chatting with a neighbor, etc. Then, if you are more of a “wing it” type of person, you’ve got something to build upon or take away from.
Hey!! Wait … don’t forget to ask a friend or loved one if you’ve written a huge ramble – sometimes we want to talk about the book in ways that confuse people. Or downright scares them.
Also, never be afraid to say that you are an author. This is something that I still can’t say. Let’s work on it together.
4. Contact everyone. Newspapers, bookstores (start with smaller stores, they’re so friendly you wouldn’t believe!!), libraries, local author events, radio stations, even local news stations!
You never know who is looking for someone interesting for their next article or news segment. I was shocked when a producer of a local show told me there was space available for an interview – with me.
Please, don’t let shyness ruin your chances to share. I nearly did. (Actually, I did for years and years.)
5. Just believe in yourself. And be grateful for every big and small thing that happens. Imagine the looks on your kids, grandkids, neighborhood kids, nieces and nephews’ faces, when you pull out your book, and tell them that you are an author.
Just like that, you’ve inspired a new generation.