“I did it!” I yelped from my desk that sits outside the CEO’s office. Not always a good idea to read personal emails at work. I tensed and waited for him to shut his door. He didn’t. I returned my gaze to the email and whooped under my breath.
I printed the contract to read. The writer voice in my head woke up. Does the contract make my butt look big?
I texted Mom, the hubby and my kids, and thought about emailing the one who inspired me to write the book, but decided it was probably not such a good idea. I lost all focus on the day job and gave way to a little day dream. I was tripping to light fantastic when reality shattered my illusion and sucked the zeal out of my personal party. Until that moment my idea of being a writer revolved around writing. Write. Write. Write. But that’s not the reality anymore. Writing is but one of many bullet points in the writer’s job description.
Yay! A contract. WHOOP! WHOOP! WHOOP! WHOOOP! There were no more excuses—the more than fulltime day job, the time constraints of an excessively full life—it was time to get real, make it happen, become the spokesperson for my writing. I had to embrace…ick, the dreaded M-word.
What about build it and they will come? The little voice inside of my head droned on.
My field of dreams would require a script and a detailed marketing plan—the awful M-word in radioactive Technicolor.
I am an artist. I can’t be expected to… talk, oh God, to be first person present. To yada-yada-yada about ME. To peddle my own sweet self! Really? The whiney inner self continued to whimper.
It’s no secret I am remiss in all things media. I avoid-dislike-strongly loathe, any and all demands social media and marketing make upon me. It’s simple really. Life, like the availability of excess time in a twenty-four hour window on any given day, is finite. I choose who I kiss as I choose where I spend my time. But I’m not Oprah or Stephen King. I had to get involved.
What if I skip it? You know… give my fate over to the field and those damn dreams?
I could but then no one would ever met Stella Delay–the protagonist of my recently contracted novel–and that would be a crying shame. She’s the type of person you want in your corner because once she commits she goes all the way. She’s there for you at 3AM if you need her to be. Other than being the kind of woman who falls in love fast and hard and finds it almost impossible to get out if it, she’s aces. It doesn’t make for an easy life but it does explain why she carried her dead husband’s ashes around in a BAPA free sports bottle for two years instead of starting over. Who really gets over the love of her life? Rhetorical, of course.
Well, when you put it that way.
For Stella, I had to redefine my expectations of myself. Ray Kinsella I was not.
And you’re sure I can’t sit here in my comfy chair with my legs on the ottoman and write? The writer in my head chirped.
Nothing changes. Writing will continue as it always has. I checked the page count on the current WIP. I had hit the one hundredth page and was well into the second act of the book. That work would carry on, but there was more to be done. A hell of a lot more. I Googled book marketing for dummies. Nothing.
Okay. I give, what’s the plan.
It was too early to say for sure what was required in an author’s marketing plan, but I knew just enough to be dangerous and jotted down an incomplete checklist of to-do’s.
- Increase web presence – ARGH!
- Build a fan base – That sounds like hard work. Maybe harder than writing the book.
- Cultivate Community – This sounds intriguing. I have an idea. It’s risky.
- Make some extra money – More work.
- Build your brand online – I got nothing.
- Become an expert – Bring me the bottle of Advil.
The bullet points under each of the six items is sizable, but doable. I reminded myself when I decided to write Stella’s story I was as overwhelmed, but my uncertainty didn’t stop me from writing the novel. I kept at it. I wrote and wrote and wrote until I typed THE END.
And away we go… staring with turning my blog into an author site and flushing out the marketing plan.