Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Importance of Goals

The Importance of Goals

In preparation for the 2012, I clean house and set goals for the new year. This week, I found a Polaroid of my daughter taken when she was in kindergarten. It was fireman’s day, evidenced by the lopsided hat atop her tiny head. She stood with her friends, all were smiling, looking directly at me and the future ahead. Beside the picture was a Steven Covey journal with a ten year old personal mission statement which read, “someday I would like to write a book.” Blinking away tears, I realize so much time has passed. My daughter has grown into a beautiful teenager and my dream is a reality.

Becoming a published author made me realize the importance of community. It also added pressure to produce more than one book. This year instead of finishing the novel I was working on, I released: Stress-free Marketing: Practical Advice forthe Newly Published Author… a project that was not on my “to-do” list.

I wrote Stress-freeMarketing: Practical Advice for the Newly Published Author after meeting two North Carolina authors at a conference. One had a beautiful memoir filled with professional photographs. However, in today’s market the $ 34.95 price tag was professional suicide. The second author remortgaged her home only to see her dream disappear in foreclosure while unsold stock gathered dust. Each day images of these women haunted me making it impossible to focus on my manuscript. Then the muse fell silent.

Upon sharing my intent to write this book, my husband and I had quite the “discussion.” He argued I was making a terrible mistake. He believed emerging and self-published authors are obstinate, opinionated and “dead set on doing what they want to do regardless of who tries to help them.” Further, he explained, “this is why they self-publish, because they don’t want to listen to anyone in the industry.”

I defended that “even though I am not self-published, if someone had tried to share marketing tips with me when I was starting out, I would have listened.” Surely, I reasoned, newbies would listen to someone who had “been there” and “done that.” Surely they would want to do everything in their power to sell the books they had worked so hard to write.

He crossed his arms and reminded me that I am “not like everyone else.” He reminded me that I had spent months researching my market and compiling contacts. Then he gave me a we’ll see look before saying, “Trust me, writers aren’t going to listen to a word you have to say.”

I tried not to cry as his resolve remained. I explained that writers help each other and that I am “doing my part to pay it forward.”

The eternal skeptic was unmoved.

Veteran authors whom I interviewed agreed with my husband. They suggested I lead marketing workshops, instead of authoring a book aimed at emerging authors. I listened…kinda.

Partnering with local brick and mortar bookstores and small businesses, I now offer workshops to emerging authors at a ridiculously low price. Workshop attendees receive a copy of the book, a password to a community blog specifically designed for new authors, and two hours of instruction from yours truly. Businesses who host a workshop receive half of the fee. This is my way of saying thank you for shelving copies of In the Garden with Billy: Lessons about Life & Tomatoes. I hope these classes will encourage and teach emerging authors as well as benefit small businesses, especially in the winter months when business is slow. The workshops will not make me independently wealthy and the fact that I am not promoting this book with a tour means those who monitor sales information won’t be pleased. Insert pouty face and crossed arms from the beloved.

I like to think of Stress-free Marketing: Practical Advice for the Newly Published Author as a community service project…voluntary, not court-ordered. Someone needed to guide the fledglings and who better than a fellow fledgling that experienced extraordinary success with her first publication. Thank you readers, booksellers and book clubs! Offering the workshops have allowed me to rest knowing that I have written something that, when read, will guide others on their pathway to publication. I have done my part. The rest is up to referrals and the magic of social media. If I can save one author from financial ruin, my work is done. Once again, the muse is smiling. Once again it is time to set attainable goals. Have you set goals for 2012?

As 2011 closes, many of us wonder what the future holds. Hopefully I will finish the novel or perhaps the sequel to In the Garden with Billy. I will continue to support independent booksellers and volunteer at the public library, both need our help. And my personal mission statement remains, “I will write a book.”

Visit Renea Winchester’s website for more information about her work, or visit her blog: http://adviceforauthors.wordpress.com .

4 comments:

Bren McClain said...

Renea, this is a wonderful testimony to following your heart. So glad you did -- and do. Here's wishing you every success for whichever book you choose to write in 2012.

My big goal for next year is to finish my novel-in-progress and begin the next one.

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