Yesterday morning I woke up to find an e-mail from my contact person at the only Vermont bookstore where I'll be appearing next month in my feeble attempt to support my new book. The writer wanted to discuss marketing and asked if I had any ideas to help make the event a success.
This was a very legitimate request on his part, and I did have some ideas. But it takes me foreeeever to answer business eeeeeeeee-mails, she whined. I worked on it a long time. I could have used that time to work on the press release I started Monday to send to a couple of Vermont newspapers. I'd also started some work for one of the new books on Monday. I had to forget about that, too.
I got distracted in the middle of answering that e-mail while I tried to find some e-mail addresses for high school classmates. That was a black hole that just sucked up minutes of my life. Maybe close to half an hour. Or forty minutes.
About an hour into this thing, I got a call from the owner of the only Connecticut bookstore where I'll be appearing in my feeble attempt to support my new book. My new book that is coming out May 18th. (That's not just a shameless plug. It's pertinent to what's coming next.) The bookstore owner wanted to change the date of my appearance from June 3rd to July 1st.
Hey, I'm obliging. I've been reading Zen. I can float my boat on the ocean of life, moving with the waves and what have you. However, only two hours earlier I had mailed press packets to newspapers with the June date.
The date has been changed. I am sending follow up press releases to the newspapers. This is awkward, because in all likelihood most of those papers were going to blow me off, anyway. One in particular almost certainly will. So...what am I supposed to say in the correcting press release? That press release you paid no attention to in the first place needs a correction? And it's not because I made a mistake, by the way. The owner did it. Don't look at me.
And now that the date of the bookstore appearance is so far from the publication date, I think those papers will have even more reason not to give my book any coverage.
This is not the end of the world. Yesterday afternoon I received my copy of the completed contract for my two book deal, what I will call The Hannah and Brandon Stories for want of a better title right now. Even with as little media attention as I manage to get, I seem to sell enough books to keep a publisher interested. God knows how or why.
I've had some other good things happen these past few months, too. I'm not enjoying them as much as I should because I'm always in a snit over marketing. In June, after the dust has settled and I know what, if any, results I get from my marketing efforts, I'll give you a run-down. There's something for you to look forward to.
No matter how it goes, though, I don't plan to ever initiate a serious marketing effort like this again. And this is why: I can't control anyone else. I can't make publications cover my book. I can't make bookstore managers welcome me with open arms. I have very little influence on other people.
I can only influence and control myself. So with the next book, I will spend my time writing, reading, and studying. Those are the things I can make a difference with.
Yup. That's right. I'm about halfway through that Zen book.