There’s a certain flaw in my personality. I know this comes as a shock to you, but it’s true. I am not perfect.
This certain flaw of mine resides firmly inside my stubbornness. I hate being told I have to do something.
Maybe you can relate?
My first reaction to someone telling me I have to do something is to dig my heels in and say, “Nope. Not gonna happen. Thanks for asking, though.”
Now that I’m a grown up girl, of course, I’ve gotten better at controlling this impulse. I’m better at listening and receiving advice, and much more willing to concede the wisdom of others than perhaps I once was.
But I still don’t like being told I have to do something.
Writing books is a funny business. You think the book writing part is the hard part, and to a degree it is. As a writer once famously said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at the typewriter and bleed.” (This quote is most often attributed to Earnest Hemingway, but as it turns out, he wasn’t the one who said this. Thanks, internet, for ruining my morning.)
Once you get past the draining nature of bleeding onto paper (screen…whatever), you then get to enjoy the process of finding someone to validate your work. I thought that was the hard part, until I finally got set up with the agent and the publisher, and got back the first, second, and third round of edits.
Surely that was the hard part, right?
It turns out I was wrong about all of it. The hardest part of writing is the marketing and the launching and getting the word out there about all that bleeding you did on paper (screen…whatever).
THIS IS THE HARD PART!
When I’m not nursing sick babies (hello strep throat! You’re no longer welcome), homeschooling, shuttling from baseball to soccer to flag football to youth group to gymnastics, and trying to fit in conversations with my husband, I’m working on the launch plan for the books I’m releasing this year.
I’m not complaining about this – not in the slightest. It’s terribly exciting, and the process is invigorating, of only slightly overwhelming. But there’s one problem:
This process of launching books can take over your life.
Every spare moment I have – every quiet, free second when the kids are playing, or the baby is sleeping – I am working on my plan to launch these books. And the more that I feel pressured to do to make this a “successful” launch, the more I want to dig in my heels, shake my head, and say, “Nope. Not gonna happen. Thanks for asking, though.”
Here’s the thing: I see the wisdom in all these things. If I were to do everything that was recommended to successfully launch and market my books, I can quite easily see how it would work.
But I can also see how it can control a person.
It will be summertime when I launch my novel – the time of year when all my children are home all day every day. Those are short months we’re given each year in which we get to make memories – to enjoy one another as a family without all the pressures of life.
I refuse to be controlled by book launches. I refuse to sacrifice my summer, and my children’s summer, with marketing. So, what does that mean?
It means I have to be strategic. It means I’m listening to the advice of my launch manager who is helping me control my strategy so that it doesn’t control me.
I’m working ahead of schedule as much as possible so that when summertime rolls around I’ve got a bulk of the work pre-done.
I’m listening to the words of wisdom, and I’m sifting through it, tailoring it to fit my life – the life of a mother with four young children who don’t necessarily need me to be a bestselling author.
They need me to be their mom.
Do I want to see these books thrive?
Would I love to hit a bestseller list?
Am I will to put in the work to make that happen?
Yes…but not at the sacrifice of the people closest to me.
So I’m navigating these waters cautiously. I may not be doing as much as I should be. I’m dropping balls left and right (some of them here at home, and some of them in marketing).
But I refuse to be consumed completely.
Turns out that stubbornness of mine comes in handy now and again.