I am a writer. I have been a writer since I can remember. One of my first memories is writing at a yellow Formica topped, chrome legged kitchen table when i was about three years old. My mom would wake me early to “help her” get ready for work and I would “write” notes for her and to her while we had coffee and she put on her makeup. Of course, at three years old my coffee was mostly milk and the notes were scribbles but I remember that as writing and I just never stopped. I wrote stories for my family and friends and I excelled in English all through school loving words and the power they seemed to hold.
There were a few step fathers along the way that tried to squash my writing dreams so I sort of “went underground” to write, as in I still wrote but I never shared it with anyone and I hid my notebooks under the mattress. I also gave up the dream of becoming a journalist or author because I was told so many times to get my “face out of that book and quit wasting time.” “If reading was a waste of time then writing must be as well” I thought and I was often told that I would never be able to make a living writing so like most young people, I simply believed and did something “worthwhile”.
After mom died in 2001 I went through a dark night of the soul; a spiritual journey if you will that awakened the writer in me again and brought her back to a life in full view. I loosely describe this in my novel One Perfect Now. The book was a self challenge of sorts. Though I had been a freelance writer of nominal success, had written and published in newspapers,anthologies, magazine, and online, as well as for my church and several civic organizations and have even written and published a children’s book, I still felt incomplete as an author. I had always wanted to complete a novel, having begun many but never finishing to the published end. NaNoWriMo helped me along as it begins November 1st, which happens to be my birthday. I was turning 47 that year and challenged myself to the 50k words in a month, and by the grace of God, I made it. I finished the 50k plus words and edited it, had it proofed by several beta-readers, and edited again until I was more than proud of the words; I was ready to share them. Having gone the traditional route with my first book I chose to self-publish this one. More accurately, I wanted to complete the cycle before I chickened out and went with CreateSpace to self-publish and that is where the story seems to fizzle out. It is published, but how do I make it popular as well?
I love writing, but marketing and promoting is my nemesis! I cannot for the life of me seem to “get it”. I was always told “don’t toot your own horn”, and “don’t brag”. In fact, bringing attention to myself could at times be dangerous because depending on the adult in charge, silence was not only golden, it was required. So, here I am nearly five decades later still being quiet when it comes to writing. I do feel comfortable within my own circle of friends and family sharing my accomplishment, but that will not get my book onto any bestseller list and I WANT THAT!
I have taken courses in marketing, read so many books about it I could likely write my own, and still, I cannot seem to DO it. I know I can do this…. I think I can do this anyway. I get excited about it but then…. something akin to fear and trepidation rears its ugly head and I freeze. So, I ask you- what is marketing really? How do you promote your work when you are frozen in a thick wall of anxiety? Have you ever faced something like this and if so, what did you do? Any ideas? Any encouragement? Anyone?
Peace to you all,