What do a yoga mat, a jigsaw puzzle, and book marketing have in common? Let’s take a dive into that. (And, by the way, I think you could substitute any number of things in place of “book marketing.”)
Yoga mats. The group of forty some women in my She Writes Press cohort (those who published between August and November) are mostly first time authors, with a handful of more experienced ones. Many of them, perhaps even most, paid a publicist thousands of dollars— not to do publicity for them, which one would think you would get for fifteen grand, but to make suggestions. I figured I could make my own suggestions to myself, and respond or not, less expensively. (Yes, I watched a lot of webinars and read a lot of e-letters.)
Now I watch others winning awards I haven’t applied for and being on podcasts and radio shows up the yahoo, and going on event tours, and I feel like I haven’t provided Mother Lode very good support. I feel like I’ve let my book down. I feel bad about myself. I’ve been a little depressed.
A couple weeks ago, as I sat on my yoga mat half listening to the dharma, or mindfulness, talk, I remembered something about the practice of yoga in community: “Keep your focus on your own mat. Pay no attention to what is going on on other people’s mats. They are doing what their bodies are capable of today, and your task is only to listen to your own body.”
Right. I knew what I could be doing to promote my book. I chose not to do it all, at least not everything at the same time. I decided what I could do and still have time for hiking and volunteering at Paradise. Paying attention to what I can do; what others are doing is not my concern.
On Thanksgiving, my daughter-in-love sent me a photo of #3 grandson looking at his Camp Gigi journal from past years. He said, “These were the best moments in my life.” Maybe others have been marketing their book like crazy, maybe they can multi-task. That is their business. I’ll just be over here on my own mat doing my own thing modestly while providing best moments.
Puzzles. Historically, I’m not very skilled at jigsaw puzzles. In past years, when there was a puzzle under the Christmas tree, I let the rest of the family put them together. During the stay-home part of the pandemic, I decided to try my hand again. The thousand piece ones (go big or go home) were slow going, but eventually I finished each one. I also discovered that my slow and steady pace worked fine for me. But when other people were working on it too, while the company was fun, I placed one piece to their many. I enjoyed the community challenge, but it wasn’t my game.
I recently got another puzzle. I began looking for the edge pieces and putting them together. When that was done, I just looked at the full box and thought, “this is impossible; I’ll never get it together.” But you know what? You put a couple together, and then find another one, and pretty soon you figure out the patterns. You get faster. I got this puzzle together more quickly than ever before.
Other authors’ successes and ideas inspire and encourage me, but if I let them intimidate me, I go into a funk and nothing is accomplished. Maybe I can’t be on ten podcasts in a month, but maybe I can try for one. I chose to do what I was comfortable doing these past months. I said “yes” to a couple things outside my comfort zone that went well, and now I feel empowered to move out a little farther in the coming months. One piece at a time.
I’ve done one podcast and I’m scheduled to record another one in January. I’m looking for others, now that I feel more comfortable with one success. I’ve won one book award and I’ve entered two more that won’t be announced for a while; I’m considering a couple others. Is the expense worth the odds and the payoff? I don’t know. But I like winning awards! It’s good for the ego.
I’ve done an online event that I was anxious about. It went well! Consequently, I was excited about the in-person event that was coming; and it went even better. I’m doing two local-authors’ book signings this month. I hope people come. Next I need to find places to be in conversation about the book, but mostly about caregiving. I don’t feel quite up to the task of asking. But . . . one piece at a time, eyes on my own mat. I’ve got this.
I hope you have a lovely December and slip in a good dose of self-care.
I’m hearing from lots of people who are giving Mother Lode: Confessions of a Reluctant Caregiver as Christmas gifts. And that is a gift to me; the best reward of all. Thank you. (One said she is pairing it with a bottle of wine. Perfect.)
💜 My hope for early in the new year is to see that Mother Lode is in 50 libraries (currently at 26). You can help! (And it may be as easy as making a request online.) All you need is the ISBN. Print: 978-1-64742-283-7 & eBook: 978-1-64742-284-4. Libraries have budgets to spend or lose! Now is the time!
💜 💜 If you have read Mother Lode, a brief review on Amazon will help more readers who need it find it. There are currently 36 reviews; 50 (for the first boost in visibility) in the next week would be amazing! A sentence or two is all it takes. (If you’ve tried and been rejected, they seem to be accepting them now. Please try again!)