I look back on 2018 with wonder and gratitude. My book is finally published. I feel such a sense of accomplishment. I don’t credit this achievement to talent, genius or education as you can see from my most favorite quote below:
Up until the of the end of November, I worked with Caitlin Hamilton, my publicist, who promoted my book through book signings, guest posts on writers’ blogs, testimonials, interviews by correspondents of newspapers, etc. Now the job of gaining visibility for my book is up to me.
In 2019, as I learn more about marketing a book than I care to know, I will also begin writing my next book about my nursing experiences.
I wish you a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year and the persistence and determination to reach your goals.
My book has been printed in advance of the November 6thpublication date. Twenty were shipped to Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina. This past Saturday the bookstore hosted an Author Speed Dating Dinner as part of the first Wake Forest Lit Fest. Proceeds from the event will support distribution of children’s books to households that could otherwise not afford them.
At the cocktail hour, the ticket holders and authors socialized. The attendees then sat at one of ten tables and were served dinner as we authors stopped at each table to speak about our books for ten minutes. However, since there were 19 of us, an author was paired randomly with another giving each of us only five minutes. One author had the whole ten minutes allotted to discuss her book. I didn’t envy her. After making it to eight tables with my author buddy, I was glad I didn’t have the full ten minutes, and that we stopped table-hopping two tables short of the ten. The interaction with the attendees varied from table to table, giving me a chance to adjust my spiel accordingly. A great indoctrination to the art of the sale. It was tiring but fun! I woke up the next morning with a raspy voice.
Here I am acting like a real author signing my book. This couple bought two. I sold a total of four books. Considering there were about fifty people in the audience and 19 of us authors, I’m happy with that.
My author buddy was Debbie Moose, who was selling her seventh cookbook: Carolina Catch: Cooking North Carolina Fish and Shellfish from MOUNTAINS TO COAST. After hearing her promotion eight times, I bought the book. It’s a lovely book with great pictures and enticing recipes.In fact, I am cooking one of her catfish recipes tonight.
Monday, after a class I attended on public speaking, I collared a woman who had also attended the lecture as she exited the ladies room. “How will you use the information?” I asked. She told me she had planned to start a class for widows on ways to rebuild their lives. Then in the course of our conversation, she told me she belonged to one of the oldest book clubs—meeting over 100 years. Maybe, I said, you would want to discuss my book and I handed her one of my business cards.
Tuesday, I spent the day at a retreat for my hospital volunteer group. The facilitator was a nurse whose office was located in Chicago. Didn’t I write my book about a clinic I ran in Chicago? And am I not scheduled to give a talk at that clinic early next year? And don’t I need to schedule some more speaking engagements to make that trip worthwhile? So I approached her during a break and asked if she would she be amenable to helping me figure out what venues in Chicago that might be possible?
Wednesday, I spoke with a nurse who organizes the Jersey City Medical Center Alumni Association. Jersey City is my hometown and my first job after graduation was at the JCMC. I accepted an invitation to speak at their 2019 spring luncheon.
Thursday, I happened to be a hospital gift shop. I approached the woman who buys the merchandise and offered my book. I’m still working on that connection.
Friday, I attended the NC State Fair with my longtime friend, Carol. We met in the second grade at Saint Aedans School in Jersey City, and reconnected when she moved to North Carolina 15 years ago. Carol is in my book. The day before, postcard-size cards advertising my book had arrived in the mail, so I gave her a handful to distribute to her Bunko friends and dropped off the rest at strategic places at the Fair.
Saturday, again laden with my postcards, I handed some of them over to a friend at lunch. She, too, is a writer and supportive of my book selling efforts.
After lunch, I drove to my monthly writing workshop. I passed the cards out to the women who have heard many versions of my stories over the years.
It is not lost on me that I am fortunate to have a group of friends that encourage, support and believe in me and my story.
My book: Stories from the Tenth-Floor Clinic: A Nurse Practitioner Remembers is due to be published on November 6, Election Day. Now isn’t that a bummer? In spite of the competition for attention, I plan to get an announcement out a couple of days before via Blog, Facebook and Twitter. Maybe folks will enjoy a distraction.
This is my first book and my first stab at marketing and publicity. My husband tells me it will be easier with my second book.
Most days, I am frozen with indecision where to put my attention and energy. Not being a detail person only encourages procrastination. I have a large legal pad where I list all I need to do. This is not in any priority order so you can imagine that every time I review it, I break into a sweat. Just last week, I made a time line on an old 18 X 24 sketch pad, noting what I need to do when, and the dates of the events I am participating in. No, I am not using an Excel spread sheet or any other computerized aid. I like the feel of paper in my hands, adding new information with a pen, and the satisfaction of crossing out items.
Somehow, just writing stuff down eases my anxiety.
I am learning things that have nothing to do with writing. Like designing a postcard size advertisement for my book. It took me almost two days to finalize this. I ordered 250 copies and I plan to drop them off at various locations, like the Community Center down the block, restaurants, stores, etc. I will slip one into our Christmas Letter that I snail-mail to friends and family who are not computer savvy. Quiet a few years ago, a young woman stood outside my neighborhood library and handed out flyers announcing her new book. I wonder how many of us who took her handout purchased her book? Not me. But that won’t stop me from distributing my own handouts.
Last Friday, I listened to a webinar sponsored by my publisher, She Writes Press, on tips for public speaking given by another SWP author, Betsy Graziani Fasbinder, from page to stage.
She cited two important skills.
Eye contact: Speak to or connect to one person in the audience at a time for about 3-5 seconds, or 2 short sentences, and then randomly connect with another. Avoid darting or scanning the room.
Silence: Using pause will allow your audience to absorb and remember ideas, feel suspense, and adjust for a new vocabulary. The speaker uses silence/pause to help herself think, breath, and relax.
Betsy had more helpful suggestions. Many I have heard before, but now reminded of these skills, I will take time to hone in on them prior to my taking my book on the road. And that, taking the book on the road, should be the fun part. Or so I’m told.