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Marketing! Marketing! Marketing! — that’s my new mantra. I’m getting the pompoms out and practicing the steps and shouting those nine little letters out in a cheer to get me motivated to promote Mediterranean Journey. I’m trying — really, truly I am. I subscribed to marketing blogs, perused tomes on Self Promotion, clicked on those sites of “I Self Published and Sold Thousands of Copies and Now I can Help You!” — for a fee, of course. I talked to other self-published authors about marketing strategies and even thought about putting the word MARKETING on my bathroom mirror right beside Julian’s, All Shall Be Well and All Shall Be Well and All Manner of Things Shall Be Well — but I haven’t gone that far — yet.

The trouble is as soon as I click on one of those sites or pick up a book or think about promotion, a kind of lethargy-like fear creeps over me and I move on to yelling at the cats or playing Lumosity or picking up my latest mystery. It’s all because I really, really am a very shy person. And that’s the truth! (I spit that last phrase out just like Lily Tomlin’s Edith Ann did all those years ago from her big rocker on Laugh-In.) Most people who know me don’t believe me when I say I’m shy. When I used that excuse to counter my doctor’s orders to be more social, she snorted her disbelief. Folks in Aquafit just assume I’m outgoing because I’m outgoing with them. Wrong! So this self-promotion business is not easy.

My shy self had fewer problems with the actual Putting-Words-Down-On-Paper “Writing”. I just heard a resounding “Ahem” from down the way on College Street where my Intrepid Editor resides. She could easily remind me of all my pains and groans and insecurities during that writing process — but she’s not here right now and I am. The difference between the writing and the promoting is that the first you are doing in private and the latter out in the wide-open space of the public — and that’s more than a little scary for me. But it has to be done, Right?

So, I decided last week to go to my friendly, neighborhood library to see about doing a presentation. I was confident, eager to spread the word about Mediterranean Journey. Surely, I thought, they’d want to have a twice-published author, neighborhood girl and frequent-library-card-user to come on over for a talk on Memoir Writing or The Ins-and-OUts-of-Self-Publishing or Travelling Europe in the 1970s. I went into see Librarian Sara who was in charge of Presentations. She was not impressed with my enthusiastic introduction to Mediterranean Journey. She asked, “Is it in the library?” Well, no. “Is your other book in the collection?” Well, yes. She checked just to make sure — I think she counted the number of times it had been taken out but I can’t swear to that. She found Mediterranean Journey on Amazon — I was proud of how beautiful its blue cover looked. Sara said, “There aren’t any reviews.” Just like that. Then she said, “I don’t have any more money for this year.” Period, that’s it. I had no idea you got an honorarium for presenting at the library — my interest was even more sparked. I asked if I could come back in January when she had money again? No, No, NO. “Look, I’ll be frank,” she said, “when I’m booking these presentations I want names, authors who will draw an audience. Get some reviews.” I said well how are new authors supposed to get attention, reviews. “Margaret Atwood does not need more publicity!” I cried. “Get your book in the system. Get some reviews. Then maybe we’ll consider it.” End of conversation. I was deflated, sad, disappointed that my local library did not want me. Could there be a way out of that blue funk?

There was. It came the next week when someone who had actually read my book wrote me:
 “I was entranced by your book.  I thought I would read just a few pages but I kept on reading it to the end.  It is compelling reading.  You write beautifully Ann! And you capture moods, places and people so well. I felt transported to all those amazing places you describe.”
Surprisingly for me, I believe each and every one of those words! They — and the others I have gotten since from other readers — will carry me into the launch on Sunday, into getting the book into the library, into persuading local bookstores to carry it and into pumping up my shy self to promote, promote and promote.

*****

This is my 100th Blog! I am inordinately proud of myself and proud that I have not missed one week. The cats — Rose and Nick — and I thank you for reading about us. Stay tuned for the second hundred.

 

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