Over My Head

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It’s getting closer. Publication for my adult nonfiction book is scheduled for November fifteenth. The final edit is done, and I’m about to write the acknowledgment page. I’m feeling pretty good about it all, pretty cocky actually. It’s all falling into place.

Or is it about to fall apart?

October is all about marketing and promotion. I’ve spent September getting all these materials together; shooting promo videos, completing the covers, getting everything ready to post online.

Then I’m stopped abruptly by bookmarks.

I want to have bookmarks made to include in the marketing materials, instead of business cards. I have several reasons for this. First, since I’m writing under a pseudonym, business cards seem unnecessary. I’d rather the name I use for my children’s books not be associated with an adult book. Second, a bookmark is bigger than a business card and can include more information about the book. Third, I can include pictures of the front and back covers.

I know a lot of authors who have had bookmarks made and it seemed like it would be pretty simple. But it hasn’t been.

Or maybe it’s me.

Then, a nephew with some experience with book covers harshly critiqued the front and back covers I thought were so perfect. Everyone’s loved them. Except this guy. And he’s right about one thing for sure. The text on the back cover needs to be completely rewritten. I wrote it in a hurry, just to have it done. Never a good idea. So it needs another edit. Before the promotional pamphlets are printed. Which was supposed to be this week.

And I’m having physical difficulties in the form of carpal tunnel syndrome. I’ve let it go for so long that the first three fingers and thumb of my right hand are constantly numb and the rest of my hand tingles all the time. It hurts. I’ll be having surgery but not until after the book launch party, if I can make it that long. Right now it’s hard to use my hand to write or use the mouse or the keypad on my phone.

So, the cockiness I was feeling is subsiding as I realize I may be in over my head. I’ve fallen into a malaise.

I’ve been trying to tackle social media and as October approaches, this is more important than ever. It’s not going well. I feel I’m losing ground.

My topic for this post was going to be social media and my ineptness at it. But this funk about the whole project is overwhelming me.

And then it came to me, the real cause of this funk. I’m amazed I didn’t realize this sooner. It’s five days to my birthday.

Anyone who’s been following this blog probably knows that I suffer from gerascophobia, a fear of aging. During the week leading up to the dreaded day, October first, I go through the five stages of grief. This birthday is worse than ever. I will now be on the seventy side of my sixties. So I rage and weep and generally fall into a week long melancholia that only ends with the acceptance stage that comes when the birthday itself has passed.

October, fittingly, is the scariest month. It begins with the distressing birthday and ends with Halloween. For me, in between, it’s facing the horrors of social media, sending queries to distributors, facing actual store managers, and dealing with all the business of preorders, large orders, merchandising.

I think I may be drowning in self doubt and anxiety. Fear of the unknown. I’ve never done any of this before.

But what do I do? I have to pull myself up, float to the surface, pull in a great breath of air and carry on. Which is exactly what I will do. The only other option would be to quit.

I’m not going to do that. I’ve invested so much.

Stay tuned.

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Onward

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Over the years, and I’m nearly an old lady now, I’ve had ideas. So many ideas. I am an
idea factory, inspired by anything and everything.
The ideas have encompassed subjects from a rock opera in pantomime, (never produced, wonder why), to several children’s picture books, (never written), to a non-fiction expose about AOL chatrooms of the nineties. (thoroughly researched, many notes taken)
I dreamt up my first novel about a girl who rides for the Pony Express when I was riding horses a lot. When my son was born with a head of red hair, I conceived a picture book series featuring “Little Red.” When my mother went into assisted living, I imagined a series of mysteries set in that world.
Jury duty, any job I’ve ever had, my pets, a random billboard, anything that could inspire, did.
Some of my ideas have seemed like potential money-makers. The booklet Teach Your Cat to Fetch, for instance. Mainly, though, I thought I might make a few bucks with sewing or cooking. I made quilted casserole carriers for a bit, and while they were unique and cool, I would have had to sell them for at least eighty dollars to make it work.
With cooking, if I’d gone into catering or party planning, as I’ve been urged to do over the years, it would have meant dealing with rich people. We all know what a pain that can be.
My current project is an experiment to see if I could follow through to the end and make money. My thirty-eight year marriage and other long term relationships inspired this, an adult nonfiction book. After years living in my head and my bed, it’s been a joy to put it all down on paper and contemplate sharing it.
As I’ve mentioned before, I am not getting any younger, no matter how I deny it, so it’s now or never. Almost literally. There are so many things I’m having to learn. I have said, for years, that I am on a need-to-know basis with technology and all things new in social media. Now I need to know. It’s tougher at this age. If I’d waited any longer, I don’t know if I could do it.
The book is 19,600 words, considerably less than any novel I’ve written. But I usually know how to approach a novel, a story. I had to find a voice for this book, and a way to give information as if it were entertainment, to talk about sex with a sense of humor and without lewdness.

It’s all about promotion and marketing. As we all know, there are crappy products sold everyday because of excellent marketing. There are probably wonderful, useful products that fall by the wayside without excellent marketing. Today all of this takes place on the internet, on social media. Because of my lack of taking any of the prerequisites, I am woefully ignorant of most of the things anyone even ten years younger seem to take for granted.

But I’m no dummy. I found and formed a team to help me.

A smart, well read friend edited the first draft of the manuscript and did an excellent job. She put in and took out all those pesky commas.

A friend of Husband’s turned us on to a wonderful, knowledgeable marketing consultant, with whom I have weekly meetings on Zoom. (Zoom is like Skype.) I’ve learned, among other things, the term “influencer marketing.” Apparently this was something I needed to know.

Then there’s the video producer up in Canada who is making promotional videos, who found the perfect photo for the book cover, and is building the website.

That’s not all. Two of my son’s friends are helping. One is a young woman who follows this blog, read that I was going to be self-publishing and offered to help, telling me it’s something she’s been doing while in school. Now she’s doing all of it, bless her, and a promotional brochure as well.

Finally there’s Jake, who I call my I.T. guy. He helps with all things computerish.

I feel I have been blessed with this team of smart, savvy, and talented people. I think any project of this scope, putting this much hope into it, takes a team effort. It does for me. All I know how to do is write. And, clearly, I’m not a genius at that or I’d be published by now.

This month it’s all about getting social media set up for the author, as I am writing this under a pseudonym. A website will be built and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages are being created for the author. Promotional memes and videos will be shot. All the other aspects are being worked on as we go along as well.

Next month, with the aid of promotional materials, I will be selling to brick and mortar specialty stores, and distributors to these stores, with the hope of obtaining pre-orders.
This is quite a process, one I’ve never done before. I’m learning as I go.
Onward! Stay turned.