Here’s the scenario. Two weeks ago I’m sitting in a doctor’s surgery for a regular glucose tolerance test. (For anyone not in the know, these take two hours and in that time you have to sit still and do nothing for the duration). For a working mother, permission to sit still for two hours and do nothing is BLISS…
I opened my book (at the time, The Chimney Sweeper’s Boy), and I had my Kindle on stand-by. I chose an unobtrusive seat, fluffed my feathers, and made myself comfortable.
Ten minutes into my ‘alone time’ the surgery receptionist sat by me (the surgery was empty) and said:
“What are you reading?”
I showed her the cover of the Chimney Sweeper’s Boy. “This.”
“Is it good?”
“I don’t know what’s struck me lately, but I’m in a book-reading mood. Do you know of any good books?”
My heart starts beating faster. His Brand Of Beautiful. Tell her, His Brand Of Beautiful. “Well… what do you like to read?”
“Oh. Anything. I don’t know.”
His Brand Of Beautiful. Tell her, His Brand Of Beautiful. Tell her House For All Seasons. Tell her Under The Hood. Tell her Fast Forward. “If I think of something, I’ll let you know.”
Now – there will be those out there (Jenn J Mcleod, Juliet Madison) who all cringe on my behalf and say: WHAT A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY!
I was way too shy to own up to having just written a book. Opportunity missed.
All this ‘promotion’ discussion reminds me of a line the real estate agent used when she was discussing the marketing program for selling our Hahndorf house. I wasn’t certain I wanted a sign out the front and she looked at me and said: “Lily… You can’t sell a secret.”
How those words have haunted me since my book launched in March. It’s hard to turn around a mind-set of not wanting anyone to know you’re writing… and turning that around to wanting everyone to know you’re writing.
Outside of Facebook friends, I’d hardly told anyone. Not friends. Not family.
And then of course, I suddenly want sales for my book. Because I’m serious about turning my writing into my second career. My 5 and 10-year goals are to increase the amount of income my writing can substitute from my ‘day job’… I’ll call my writing my own, personal, Self Managed Super Fund.
One month after my launch and my desire for sales is trumping any shyness I had.
Here’s some examples of my growth:
At the weekend, we had a family reunion. It would have been my granddad’s 100th birthday on Sunday (were he still alive) and my mother’s side of the family all got together at an Aunt’s farm for a big birthday shin-dig. Here, I actually ‘fessed up to having written a romance book, telling them my author name and the book title, and how they could buy it. (If they didn’t mind the heroine letting loose with the odd F-word and could handle steamy sex scenes and would still send me presents at Christmas.)
Yesterday, my boss told me she had asked the ladies in her bookclub if they’d be interested in me talking to them about e-publishing and my blog and my book… All these ladies know my family (particularly my father), and if you asked me a year ago whether I’d like this particular group to know I was writing, I would have said: “No Way Jose!!!”
This time around, I’m actually looking forward to it. Though they’re all on Pain Of Death not to breathe a word to my old man!
And finally. I had a follow-up appointment at the Doctor’s surgery on Monday, getting the results of the tests from two weeks prior. This is how the conversation went:
“Hi Jane. Are you still in your book-reading phase?”
With a double-take that I’d remembered, Jane says: “Yes. Actually right now I’m reading Jim Stynes biography.”
“I have a couple of book names that I wrote down for you, if you’d like them?”
“Yes, please. That would be great.”
So I handed her my handwritten (because I’m not yet organised enough to get bookmarks or business cards or that sort of thing), notes with the names of: “His Brand Of Beautiful by Lily Malone”; “House For All Seasons by Jenn J McLeod”; “Under The Hood by Juanita Kees”; Fast Forward by Juliet Madison; “White Ginger by Susanne Bellamy” and “Fractured by Dawn Barker.”
You can’t sell a secret… It just took me a heck of a long time to realise this!