Thursday, August 9, 2007

$8,800 or Bust ...

This weekend is the big 60 mile, 3-Day Susan G. Koman walk in the Chicagoland area. My girls (Angie, Amber, Shannon and Wendy) have been raising money for months in order to participate in this event. Each must raise $2,200. They have sponsored bean bag tournaments, hosted at bars, waitressed a taco night at a local bar and grill, sold hand decorated beer cozies, and sold out on their T-shirts that say "Save the Boobs!" They have requested donations from friends, family, church members and co-workers. Money is still dribbling in ... I think they will reach their goal of $8,800.

Tomorrow the walk begins. I don't know if they are physically ready for the task. They've done this walk before. They know how grueling it will be. The weather won't be much help, steamy and chances of rain. They have concentrated so hard on raising the money, they haven't prepared for the rest as they should have. And that reminds me of my writing career. Perhaps yours too.

I had worked so hard on getting the words just so on the page, that I hadn't taken the time to practice promoting my work once it was done. When my first book came out in 2004, I was overwhelmed with good wishes and selling was fun, for awhile. Then I realized I had to put myself out there ... in the public's eye. I had to speak to folks I didn't know and they didn't know a thing about my book. At my first book sigining, I fumbled about describing my book, not really succeeding at being coherent. The following events were better, but not by much.

I have learned much since then, mostly to be myself and use the Girl Scout motto: Be prepared! I now know to be concise, less is more. I let my books talk for themselves. My brochures have proved a valuable tool. I may be a closet introvert but when at a booksigning or some other author's event, I am almost comfortable being DL Larson, the author. But it takes practice. For those of you who love the part of promoting your book, I can only say - I'M JEALOUS! I can brag about anything but my own work. I believe I'm a victim of high energy with shy tendancies, not the best mix for an author. Plus the fact that talking about oneself is rude ... is so deeply ingrained in my psyche, I may never completely overcome it.

But .... But that doesn't mean I give up. Just like my kids who were determined to raise the full amount for the breast cancer research, I have continued to listen and learn all I can on how to promote my books. I am reminded of the great Winston Churchill and his quote, "Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense."

So, I'm back at filling my calendar with events. I am an author. I have to get out there and promote my work. But first, I'm going to Chicago this Sunday and cheer on my kids as they cross the finish line!

Til next time ~

DL Larson

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