so many options, so little time

Like any author trying to promote his book there are so many options to promote it. But the question before us is what works and what doesn’t? I know for me I want instant results and instant gratification, but that’s hard to come by. It usually doesn’t work that way. I admit, I’m sick of reading about some author who wrote a book, plopped it out there, hit it big, and is now living the high life. I’m sick of it, I tell you! My turn. Or is it?

I conveniently ignore the path these authors went down to get to where they are. My impatience rears it’s ugly head and I want it now. I spent years writing a book, three to be exact, with a fourth on the way, and I want results! But creating a book and achieving commercial success with it can, and frequently is, a mutually exclusive experience. Gotta be focused, driven, do whatever it takes are the buzz phrases that come to mind when it comes to achieving success with, well, anything.

So how can I hit it big with my book, Curveballs: Sweet & Smokey Down the Barbeque Trail? I’ve read Catherine Ryan Howard’s book, Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing, and noted with great interest how she promoted her books and got to the top of the heap. I’ve read many articles about Mark Dawson, and how he got to the top of the heap, and I’ve even purchased his Facebook Ads for Authors course.

I’m making progress. I’m following much of what they said. I’m close to finishing off my Facebook Ad design so I can launch my very first Facebook Ad campaign. I’ve already got the landing page created for that. In fact, that sucker is up and running! I’ve done a Goodreads Giveaway, that was fun! I’ve gone to some blogs I’m interested in and written about stuff that interests me. I need to do more, more, more of that.

I’ve talked my friends and co-workers into taking a selfie with my book and posting it on their Facebook and Instagram pages. I’ve been plopping copies of my book in those Little Free Library boxes that dot our neighborhoods. For some strange reason I find that to be exhilarating!

I’ve even got three book signings lined up with local coffee shops. All I need to do now to get those going is to create a poster and make a video. Yep, it’s on the docket. I can’t wait. I’m more of an extrovert than an introvert.

Which is why I struggle sometimes with the purely Social Media approach. I know the key to hitting it big is via Social Media, but why does it have to be so darn impersonal? I read posts, I write posts, I see the numbers in my Giveaway, yet I’m not connecting with any of them except via the two dimensional computer screen. I thirst for that direct human contact. We live in such an impersonal world. No wonder there is so much road rage. Which is why I’m way excited to be doing book signings. I get to connect directly with the public. But I won’t have the reach I have on Social Media.

Which leads me to Vince Flynn. He’s a Minnesota author who made it big, and this was before the internet took off. He hustled, he bustled, he pounded doors. Relentless. And he made it big without Social Media, or at least Social Media as we know it today. He connected with his readers directly, he formed relationships with bookstores and sellers around town. Can this still happen?

I believe it can, but I also believe that the Social Media component is now a necessity, not an option. But it still doesn’t take away my desire to connect with readers directly. Book signings, readings, promotions, here I come! I can’t wait.

But speaking of Social Media, I did really enjoy my Goodreads Giveaway. 869 people entered my drawing. 354 of them added my book to one of my shelves. And of those 314 added it to their To-Read shelf. Not bad for a 1 week Giveaway. And I’m going to do an Amazon Giveway too!

I find that I like Twitter too. I think the reason I like using Twitter over other Social Media options is because I can do short little bursts and then I’m off. I’m not sitting on the computer screen for hours at a crack, where my eyeballs feel like they are going to burst and my head is ready to explode from the migraines. Am I alone in this? Which presents a danger to our society.

From the second we get up until we turn off the lights at night to go to bed it seems like we are on a computer of one form or another. Oh, we can call them smartphones or cell phones or whatever we like, but the bottom line is they are hand-held computers. Computers are so very pervasive in our society.

I did an experiment once in a class I taught. The course was 5 weeks in length and in week one I informed that class that between now and week 5 they must go a  continuous 48 hour period where they were banned from using technology, excluding work. We negotiated what that looked like. After which they were to submit a paper to me highlighting their experience.

I never gave an assignment that generated such passion, such fire. Something triggered in those students. The fact they were forced to set technology aside for a few hours was life changing. In fact, many of them were going to institute permanent changes in both their home and work life. I.E., they were going to put boundaries on technology.

The highlight of this assigment came from a highly successful GM for a division of General Mills. Both he and his wife worked there and both were workaholics. In our classroom discussion he pooh poohed having to set technology aside for a few hours, no big deal. But in his paper he told a different story. After class one night we had a discussion, and that was eye opening. This was the first time he had me time.

He relayed that he’s a workaholic, gets up at 3:30 am everyday, works out for an hour, does work at home, heads to work, then works for 10 hours. After work he either goes to class and then does work after that, or if he doesn’t have class he works all night until bed time, somewhere around 11 pm. Then he repeats the process the next day.

He lamented that they have the lifestyle they have that was paid for with a sacrifice somewhere down the road. He was going to make changes, and it would start at home. He would propose to his wife that the build in me time on a permanent basis. And he would be having a discussion with his bosses at work, and they wouldn’t like it when he tells them that he isn’t taking work home. He’s going to have me time.

This all brings me back to my original point. I want to be successful in my book selling adventures. But I do need a break from technology as I’m on it all the time. I need some me time. My plan is to learn from those that have hit it big, incorporate all they teach, pacing myself so I don’t burn out, and have the time of my life. A balanced approach. Come on, it can happen! I’m not totally convinced that I have to choose work over a balanced life, that it’s one or the other. I’ve seen people do it. But first, I need those sales.






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