Friday, January 18, 2019

Small (Big!) Successes

When I first met with the marketing director at Beaver's Pond Press way back before I even had copies of my book in hand (and in their boxes), I took lots of notes on all the helpful information she shared about creating a marketing plan and using social media and things like that.  She recommended things like do something related to the book for 10 minutes each day...create a press kit...make a bookmark to use as my business card.

Some of these recommendations I followed right away.  Others- like spending 10 minutes a day doing something to increase sales- just haven't panned out.  But because selling and marketing a book is much harder for me than writing one was, I often go back to the notes I took during this meeting.  Since then, I have also taken several workshops related to marketing and talked to other authors about what they have done to publicize their books.  One of the things that has been affirmed again and again is that doing this solo is a lot of hard work and takes a lot of time.

Perhaps that is why the piece of advice that has had the most lasting impression was, "Let your small successes be your big successes."  And today, I am celebrating one of my biggest successes so far.  This week, I was able to pay off the loan I had taken out to cover my printing and final editing fees, and that is a pretty awesome feeling.

When we made the commitment to go ahead with publishing Bubble Wrap Girl, I knew it was a commitment of additional time, energy, and money, but at the same time, I don't think I could have guessed quite how much.  It's like adding a side job on top of an already full schedule with the disadvantage being that if I don't have time to set up signings, write posts, or spread the word, the books don't sell.  And I need the books to sell in order to get to the point where I could possibly hire someone to help me.

Because of this reality, there have been many times when I have felt caught up in an ongoing catch-22.  Yet I have pushed on, knowing that one way or the other, I had a monthly payment to make.  I have hustled over the past year to find other avenues to write (for pay) and ways to promote my books that weren't just reaching out to my inner circle again and again. 

I put together and taught a community education class for people who have interest in writing a book themselves in order to share some of what I have learned.  I made a school visit free of charge to hopefully get a few copies sold.  And I am so grateful for friends and family who bought a copy of BWG as a Christmas gift.  On their own, none of these things made a huge dent in paying off my loan, but together they did, and that's how the small successes added up to a bigger one.

To celebrate paying off my loan, I didn't do anything particularly fancy, though my husband did bring home flowers.  In fact, in many ways, it was a day like any other.  Yet now that the pressure of having a monthly loan payment is no longer there, I feel a renewed excitement for what the coming year might bring.  A huge weight has been lifted, and in its place I now feel a sense of anticipation for what could be.  And to some extent, that is what I have been celebrating most this week.

Because in a way, now I get to focus on what I am most passionate about, and that is sharing the message of Bubble Wrap Girl with as many people as possible.  It's the message that we all have what it takes within us to do hard and great things, to bounce back when times are tough, and to overcome obstacles in our lives.  Though this message of resilience is packaged as a children's book, this is a message for- and one that resonates with- people of all ages.  When people read Bubble Wrap Girl, I want them to walk away feeling inspired and empowered.

Even though I paid off my loan, I still have 500 copies in print to sell and the dream of getting picked up by a royalty publishing house is still there.  Yet today I am focusing on this moment of success, and so again, I want to say thank you to all of you who have supported me on this journey.  Thank you to all of you who have bought a copy of the book for yourself or given one or many to loved ones.  By doing so, you have helped me to pass on this message to others, and for that I am grateful, because I believe it is one we all need to hear.

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