One of the things (among many) I’ve learned as an independent author is that your book does not have a shelf life. Thanks to the new publishing dynamics, the days where a book debuts, takes off or doesn’t in six to eight weeks, and lands either on the bestseller list or the discount tables of bookstores are about as dated as a landline.
The shopworn publishing adages about success or failure have also been upended. Promoting your book, fostering connections, blogging about writing, building an audience, getting out in the community and sharing the genesis of works-in-progress are all ways to keep the momentum going – for however long you, the author, desire.
How do we view author success in the new publishing world? The metaphor roller coaster rides comes to mind. There are ups and downs, highs and lows, disappointments countered with elation just around the next turn. I remember reading Joanna Penn’s blog, The Creative Penn, and this: “Now, if you sold even a single book to someone you didn’t know, then you, my friend, have beaten some serious odds.”
I believe the “odds” of selling more books to strangers than you ever dared hoped or dreamed can be beaten by embracing some of the following:
- Don’t just dream the dream, live it and publish that book.
- Believe in your book and its value to readers.
- Share your joy of being a published author over a cup of coffee with a friend, a chance encounter with a stranger, a community gathering, a picnic in the park.
- Have fun with your marketing endeavors. This isn’t life or death, this is only one day, an experience to be relished and remembered.
- It’s not about sales, it’s about connections.
- Stay in touch with your creativity and keep imagining new ways to foster and present your work.
- Don’t focus on how many books you sold or didn’t sell.
- Concentrate on the people standing in front of you. Each person has a story to tell. Value each other’s gifts and talents.
- Be aware that synergies and alchemy are ever-present. When you least expect it, someone you met months ago, calls or emails about your book, an upcoming writing workshop, or your writing group.
- If you like to write, start a blog. I love the interaction my blog, the Women’s Writing Circle, gives me with my readers and other writers.
- Don’t get hung up in comparisons or “hype” of how much you should or should not sell to be considered a publishing “success.”
- EVERY book you sell says you are a success.
Meeting new people, sharing stories, finding in them the human connection is what this “business” of authoring is all about. Be filled with deep gratitude for each and every reader.
Remember this if nothing else: Success is how you want to define it.
Newly-divorced and on her own, 40-something Ava Stuart forges a new life. One day, at a signing in the local library for her novel, a tall, dark-haired man walks in and stands in the back of the room. Jay Scioli is a wanderer – a man who has said good-bye to innocence, the U. S. Army, and corporate America. His outlook on life having changed, his health shattered by illness, he writes a memoir. In his isolation, he searches for an editor to help him pick up the loose ends. Time may be running out. He is drawn to the striking and successful Ava. Facing one setback after another, their love embraces friendship, crisis, dignity, disillusionment. Their love story reflects a reason for living in the face of life’s unexpected events.
Based on a true story, A Portrait of Love and Honor takes the reader from the halls of the United States Military Academy at West Point during the Vietnam War to a moving love story between two people destined to meet.
Susan G. Weidener is a former journalist with The Philadelphia Inquirer. She has interviewed a host of interesting people from all walks of life, including Guy Lombardo, Bob Hope, Leonard Nimoy, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter and Mary Pipher. She left journalism in 2007 and after attending a women’s writing retreat, wrote and published her memoir, Again in a Heartbeat, a memoir of love, loss and dating again, about being widowed at a young age. Two years later, she wrote and published its sequel, Morning at Wellington Square, a woman’s search for passion and renewal in middle age. Her novel, A Portrait of Love and Honor, completes the trilogy, inspired by and dedicated to her late husband, John M. Cavalieri, on whose memoir the novel is based. Susan earned a BA in Literature from American University and a master’s in education from the University of Pennsylvania. An editor, writing coach and teacher of writing workshops, she founded the Women’s Writing Circle, a support and critique group for writers in suburban Philadelphia. She lives in Chester Springs, PA. Her website is: www.susanweidener.com.