You Gotta Ask

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Marketing tip #1  Ask

I absolutely hate to ask. Because I hate rejection more.

If you’ve been building a network with other writers, the asking is easier.

When my publisher asked me for a list of possible endorsers, my knees knocked. Then I recalled all those whose books I have reviewed and promoted.  They said anytime they could help me out they would and to just ask. So, I asked thinking I might get one or two. I got seven. Seven endorsers. Seven people who got a pdf copy to read and can easily do a review when Secrets and Charades is out. I secured Beta Readers the same way. Those awesome readers who look for typos and other weirdisms before it went to press. They too can post Book Reviews.

Phew! That wasn’t so hard.

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Another asking hill to climb

Ask people to be part of your launch team. That was a scary thought for me.  What if they say no. What if they say yes and really mean no. Helping other people promote their books is easy for me, but, promoting myself, not so much.  But I’ve been talking about my writing life with others on social media and in the real world. Gulp! Could I do this?

The easy way is to follow the good advice, the hard way is doing it my way.

I had to try my way.

An experienced author told me to send personal PM to Facebook friends. A personal ask.  But I was sure sending it out as an FB post would get better results. I got two. I got another at church because I asked her. That was three. I knew that was not enough. Fear of rejection nettled in my mind. I had to do this because well, I need help and my novel comes out March 15th.  So recently I sent out a lot of PMs and got 30. Wow! 1000% increase. Why? Because asking gets results.

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The scripture says “you have not because you ask not.” And as a mother, I often tell my children “Well, I can’t read your mind.” Often people think if you want my help you’ll ask for it. While those who need help, think people should just volunteer. We don’t want to volunteer and get rejected. (Do I see a theme.)

I’ve done the do-it-my-way before, and it hasn’t had great results in other ventures in my life.  Yet, I still struggled getting out of my comfort zone and doing things differently. It does take a village of helpers to raise your new novel up through the rankings on Amazon and other retail sites. It takes stepping out of our comfort zone and asking for help.

 

How many do I need on my team

Another wise author said you can never have too many team members. I think it is because as in any volunteer endeavor there are the doers and the joiners. The doers are reliable. The ones who will go above and beyond to help you reach your goal. The joiners do less, but without them, everything would fall on the few.

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Keep asking

Ok, I asked for endorsements, beta readers and Stage Crew (What I am calling my launch team.) Now I’ll keep asking my publisher, acquisition editor and other authors what is my next step and how do I do it. I’ve never done a launch party of any kind. I’ve never done a book signing.  Podcast and building a speaking platform are foreign to me. I read articles and blogs on these subjects. I listen to others talk about their success. Mostly, I ask lots of questions. I’m not done asking questions. My plan: stay teachable and step out of my comfort zone and ask. After all I want to sell my novel. And asking for help with marketing is one way to reach that goal.

How are you about asking for help when it comes to marketing? What wisdom can you pass on? I really want to know, that’s why I’m asking.

 

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No Guilt Over Missed Writing Goals

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Up until a few months ago, I’ve been consistent on my blog posts. Twice a week was my goal this year. A few weeks I only posted once and a few others it was three because I reblogged a great post I found. Then my father fell at the nursing home, spent time in the hospital then died. Before I could begin the grieving process, my parent’s home sold and we had to move my mom to Assisted Living. Two months later, after my dad’s memorial, the house closing, and my mom securely relocated; I’m beginning to breathe normally again. During this time, I did write. But for whatever reason, I couldn’t bring myself to post anything. I wrote two blogs which will be appearing the next few days.  The normalcy of posting a blog was just too hard. Finding things to inspire fellow writers when my heart was heavy just wasn’t happening.

The weird thing, I created a new storyline for a novella and submitted the proposal. It didn’t come to anything but it soothed my writing soul. It took me weeks to come up with the right words to honor my father at his memorial. Both projects were out of my comfort zone at that time.

Now, at last, I feel I can blog again. No guilt or condemnation. The feeling of inadequacy has passed. Now I begin again. I love the Lucy Maude Montgomery quote from Anne of Green Gables: “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it.”

I make no apologies to my readers. I know you all understand. We all fall when bumps in the road of life rise and send us flying. But in due time we begin again. We pick up our pen or put our fingers to the keyboard and let the words flow. We even edit, tweak and rewrite and finally submit our words.

As I have mentioned in the past. I rarely share about personal things on my blog. But grief is something we all will face and I want to encourage all of you. Don’t receive the guilt. Don’t lay down with the disappointment of missing your goal at a time like this. Let God set the course for you to beginning afresh. Allow him to take you to the next open door in your writing in his time. He knows when you are ready.

 

 

Springing into a New Novel

My hubby took this photo from our garden.

My husband took this photo from our garden. Daisies are a favorite of mine. My WIP is set in a favorite place of mine. Photo by: Charles Huff

Spring is a time of new beginnings. Although in the Chicagoland areas we are still waiting for it to hit us full force. Seeing the crocuses and daffodil’s green shoots come up gave me hope of warmer days ahead.

New beginnings in my writing life are a lot like spring. I just finished Speedbo in March, giving me a mess of words—the shoots springing up to form a novel. A new story, new characters, new plot, new time period. All waiting to be shaped into a new story world.

one of my favorite photos my hubby took.

One of my favorite photos my hubby took. I feel like I could reach out and pick it. The same is true of how our words need to effect the reader. photo by : Charles Huff

Watching my story unfold reminds me of watching the neighborhood awaken from winter into glorious floral colors. When I sit down to write a new story, whether it is a novel or a short story, an in-the-zone feeling sweeps over me. The characters’ world becomes my world. I see them. I experience their pain and joy. In their heads I discover new secrets. Details of place and time bloom forth in all their imagined glory.

Focusing on the details of this lily reminds me of writing to help raders focus. Again my husband Charels took took this

Focusing on the details of this lily reminds me of writing to help readers focus. photo by: Charles Huff

Springtime is raking, planting, watering, seeding, and fertilizing to encourage our yards and gardens to look their very best. My novel seeds need rewrite fertilizer, editing weeding and repotting, critique group watering and raking away all unnecessary words to trim and hone my manuscript into a story that flows and carries the reader to a satisfying conclusion.

Yardwork and gardening in the spring can get intense, but the end result is a lovely yard to enjoy and share with visitors. Something to be proud of with a feeling of satisfaction in a job well done. Gardening my words brings forth the same feelings of pride and satisfaction. Something to share with my readers for them to enjoy.

A new setting for flowers like a new setting for my new  WIP.

A new setting for flowers are like a new setting for my new WIP. Photo by: Charles Huff

How do you feel when you start a new project?

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