- In 2009, I landed an agent, published two children’s books, and started writing a novel.
- In 2010, I signed a contract with a major publisher for not one women’s fiction release, but two!
- In 2011, I worked through edits in preparation for the publication of my debut novel.
Life was good. Life was Great! Life was SPECTACULAR! Until… the last two months, when I was hit with the reality of marketing that first novel, Into the Free. Slowly but surely, the dream of a living a posh life as an American novelist has been sanded down with these myth-busting realities:
1. I’d rather hang naked by my toenails from my town’s clock tower than ask for help in any way (and believe me, that would be ugly). Yet, I’ve had to ask for support more times than I can even count. It’s never easy, and I’m certain the clock tower gig would be more fun. But, I’m finding that most people, even really successful authors who could blow me off completely, are genuinely happy to help. “We’ve all been there,” is what I keep hearing. Those kind words sure have inspired me not to throw in the towel just yet.
2. There’s an itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny-yellow-polka-dotted line between sharing interesting facts about life on facebook, twitter, youtube, etc….and becoming a self-absorbed egomaniac. The line is blurry at times. Invisible at others. And there are no real rules to this game. I try to just embrace the conversation and let it go where it goes. If I don’t have time for it, I don’t do it. Real life comes first.
3. Speaking of social media. At times it feels like a ravenous beast. It is always hungry. The more I give, the more it takes. It can be maddening, and yet…it can be SO much fun! I’m trying to focus on the positive and enjoy the chats. I’ve always loved meeting new people and hearing new stories, and the net is an amazing channel for making such connections.
4. Everyone offers different advice. I repeat. Everyone offers different advice. Some say, “You must have a Fanpage.” Others will insist, “Tweet. Three times a day. Tweet.” More encourage me to “Post a video link,” or “Record a podcast.” The list goes on and on. Daily, I remind myself, all I really have to do is WRITE THE DARN BOOK! (Right? Confirmation needed, please.)
I’m new at this publishing thing…but most author friends agree. It’s easy to forget that our primary role is to write. We do have to pull our share of the load with the marketing and publicity, but we aren’t the only ones with that assignment. Ultimately we need a solid manuscript, or all the facebooking in the world won’t make a difference.
Agree? Disagree? Wondering who the heck Julie Cantrell is and why she thinks she knows anything? (I understand.) Feel free to share your writing or marketing tips with other readers below. Happy writing!