An author died and St. Peter offered the option of going to hell or heaven. To help decide, she asked for a tour of each destination. St. Peter agreed and decided to take her to hell first. As she descended into the fiery pits, the author saw row upon row of writers chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they were repeatedly whipped with thorny lashes by demons. "Oh, my," the author said, "let me see heaven."
A few moments later, as they ascended into heaven, the author saw rows of writers, chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they, too, were whipped with thorny lashes by demons. "Hey," the author said, "this is just as bad as hell."
"Oh, no it's not," St. Peter replied, "Here your work gets published."
I have that joke taped to my computer desk along with another cartoon of a doctor x-raying a patient, and the doctor says, "By george, you do have a book in you!"
The slapstick humor usually makes me smile and I'm reminded that writing is not an easy task, nor a simple path to making money, but it is a calling. And not writing isn't an option for me. Probably isn't an option for you either.
The thorny lashes beating down on me do become burdensome. If I don't find time to write, I'm cranky and feel stressed. Missing a deadline is as bad as a rejection, and weights me down. Filling my calendar with booksignings is fun until I have to fulfill those commitments despite bad weather, colds, or I'm just not in the mood to fight traffic or chat with folks about my book. But as an author, I must persevere and push forward to fulfill all aspects of my career.
So, I pace myself. I've realized building a career doesn't happen over night; at least for most of us it will take time. I needed a firm foundation and that began with telling a good story. Marketing my novels has taken me in several directions, some productive, others not so. But along the way, I've learned what works for me.
With my historicals set in Indian times, PowWows have been a fun and lucrative place to promote my work. Mystery conferences, not so, even though my book is flavored with who-dunit aspects.
Deciding where and when to promote your work is much like discerning where to solicit your manuscript. Everything needs to match up. Again, it could be heaven or hell, so take the time needed to decide where your book fits in the marketing world. And find your own stride.
And like the joke with the thorny lashes slapping down on you, it's all in your perspective if you've landed in heaven or hell.
Til next time ~
PS: Fight the cold weather and be welcomed with warm smiles at the Booksigning on Thursday, Feb. 7th:
2600 N. Rand Road, Deer Park, Barnes & Noble, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
DL Larson, Margot Justes & Morgan Mandell will be there. Come visit! Buy a book!!