Saturday 1st August 2020 was the official launch day for my debut The Borrowed Boy, although it has been available in paperback from Amazon since the 1st July – a fortuitous error on my part as I didn’t realise that Amazon do not support pre-orders of Indie print books. Fortuitous, because it resulted in several reviews being posted on Amazon and Goodreads ahead of publication day.
Sending a book out into the world
Sending a book out into the world is a bit like sending your child to school for the first time, allowing them to fend for themselves. As a working mum I didn’t have this experience, it was my husband who took our daughter to school. The first time she went to nursery school for the afternoon, he was a nervous wreck. He sat in an empty pub boring the poor bartender with stories about his amazing child until it was time to collect her. It was the same her first day at school. My husband sat at home worrying about her day – how she would be received, and whether she would be happy – but our daughter just took it in her stride, a confident girl, who was ready to make her mark in a small way, at the beginning of life’s journey.
When our books go out into the world we are like anxious parents waiting to see what impact they might have, whether they will receive good reviews and find readers who love them. First time parents – first time novelists – we have a lot to learn about letting go, but it can only get easier with practice.
Investment of time, resources, and patience
What is important is that we continue to invest time, resources, and patience in sharing our creativity with the world. You wouldn’t invest your time raising a child with gentle, loving care and then leave it to its own devices. Neither would you send your child into the world without first preparing it for this adventure. Indie authors, authors who choose to self-publish rather than following the traditional route to publication, sometimes fail to invest in the publication, launch, and marketing of their novel, despite the huge commitment and dedication they have put into its creation. This saddens me, as I hear the disappointment and heartbreak of authors who have written worthy novels but their dreams of success are thwarted through a lack of sales.
Readers complete the loop of creation
The creation of art is a two-way process. The artist creates but the creation is completed by the responses of an audience. Art is a conversation that enables both writer and reader to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and their world. The wonderful Rachel Joyce visited our local book club at the independent bookshop, Caxton’s of Frinton-on-Sea. When she was asked about some of the themes in her new novel Miss Benson’s Beetle, Joyce said, ‘It is only when I get the responses of readers that I truly understand the themes in my books.’ It is as though readers hold a mirror up to our soul so that we can see more clearly what was in our heart. The need for an author to have a readership is about more than financial reward.
What is stopping you from investing in yourself?
As artists we create, but all too often we send our work out into the world without investing in its success. The reasons a writer might give are:
- I can’t afford- a professional website, a cover designer, an editor, advertising etc.
- I don’t do social-media.
- I’m a creative not a business person.
- I don’t have the time to spend on marketing, it’s hard enough finding time to write.
- I don’t like promoting myself, I’m too modest, too shy, an introvert.
I get it. I have felt, and continue to feel all of these things. But, I’ll go back to my analogy. You wouldn’t send a child off into the world without first doing a good job in preparing it and neither would you stop investing time, money and patience in it’s future. As creatives, I think we have to ask ourselves really honestly – what is stopping me from investing in my future as a writer? Maybe we use these excuses because of:
- A fear of failure
- Not really believing in our talent – imposter syndrome
- Not thinking ourselves worthy of a financial investment, because we are not ‘good enough.’
Honouring your inner artist
I am doing some internal work myself as I have a mental battle with the recognition that I need to invest more money in things such as my website and learning new skills, and an inner voice (a goblin) that tells me, I have already invested financially in publishing a book – what if I never make back that money? What if it is a foolish, vanity project? Am I good enough? Fortunately, I have a mentor who is there to remind me that sometimes things feel uncomfortable, but I have to take chances if I am to grow. I believe in myself and I believe that my creativity deserves the investment of my time, money and patience. As the advert says Because I am worth it.
Are you honouring the artist within? Are you giving your creativity the best possible chance of success? What is truly holding you back? What sacrifices are you prepared to make – time, money spent on other things? What changes can you make today to increase your chances of success? Can you plan a way ahead to give yourself the future that you deserve?
The blog tour
I sent The Borrowed Boy into the world with a fanfare. The amazing Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resourcesorganised a blog tour for me at a very modest cost. This resulted in 34 highly regarded book-bloggers hosting me on their site over the course of this week. A blog tour combines book reviews, guest blogs and interviews with the author. A huge thank you to all of the book bloggers who took part and to Rachel for an excellent and professionally managed tour – I cannot recommend her services highly enough.
You can read about the blog tour here: