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Monday, June 7, 2010

Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life

When I was very little, I remember my mom saying this to me. I didn't get it, but I'm older now, and now I'm understanding the deep wisdom of this saying. Missed opportunities and bad choices are heavy burdens to carry. Even when a decision is carefully weighed and wisely acted upon, events can occur to retroactively make that decision a bad one.

This weekend I was moping about Lever. I called a store last week to see if they'd carry it, and the woman I talked to was breezy, just said, "of course, we'll need to see it first." I figured out what bothered me was that she hadn't asked first what the book was about, only about the discount, before telling me to send it on. Yup, another book, ka-ching. I've done this route before -- calling stores and at least describing the book to fire up a little interest before sending it on. Even with this preparation, I've had zero success with this particular tactic (although I'm still convinced it's a good strategy).

I've hit the 400-books-sold mark, and my friend who owns a self-pubbing company gave me a high five and said this makes me a self-pubbed bestseller! It doesn't feel like it though. I've had to push hard for those sales -- book signings, and talks, and calling calling calling different venues. I've started receiving a few emails from people who read the book through word of mouth, but frankly I'm tired and my trick bag is empty. I've tried to get in stores, to get in catalogs, to get a print review. I pass out cards and leave them in restaurants and dentist offices. Despite the fact that I've got great endorsements and 4.5 star average on amazon, and hopefully a great book, no one wants to carry Lever. Heck, even a friend who attends a book club hadn't thought of suggesting my book although I have such great book club questions :-) -- and I still haven't been invited there, but hope springs eternal :-)

See what I mean about moping? I'm losing focus. This is God's book, and He will bring it to those who might benefit from the message, whether it's two or two-million people. Lord, please forgive me and help me keep my eyes on you.

So, this brings me back to the saying:


Like most people, I carry different burdens and regrets and "if-only's" but really, these are not glorifying to God. Doesn't He say that He will guide our steps? So, today, I'm going to look ahead and leave the past behind.

I want to write books, plural, before I die. For the past few years I haven't written anything new (for good reasons), but it's now time to begin. I started this year by entering Genesis with a brand new story idea, and while it didn't do as well as I wanted it to the criticisms were good, and after all this was first draft. I also am developing my story template algorithm into a book, and possibly a computer program. This takes a lot of work, but I break down tasks with a spreadsheet and find a schedule that I can live with to actually make this happen. Third, I'm beginning to write shorter pieces, articles and short stories, to start getting my name out there. I've decided I need a little positive reinforcement :-)

What does the rest of YOUR life look like?


Kat Heckenbach said...

Yay, Amy! Keep writing! I know 400 books sold doesn't feel like a lot, but it is for a self-pubbed book. Even for a traditionally pubbed book by a small press. And it IS a great book.

Getting short works out there is a great idea. I know I've opted to read books by certain authors after getting a taste of their writing in magazines.

Keep yourself out there. Keep going!!!

Jane Lebak said...

I've found short pieces help for a number of reasons. One is that magazines are more willing to take a chance on them if you're unknown. You will get wider circulation. It's nice to get a check, even if it's only $5. :-) And moreover, you can experiment with new writing techniques in a short piece without potentially ruining a thousand-hour investment in a novel.

And then if someone is on the fence about your book, he or she might read one of your short pieces to get a flavor for your writing and decide he likes it enough to spend the cash.

Also, the more you get short articles, essays and fiction published, the more credibility you seem to have with traditional publishers.

If you haven't tried the Chicken Soup and Cup of Comfort anthologies, they're a great market because they always have calls for stories, and they pay, and the stories themselves only have to be about 1000 words.

Good luck on your new writings!

KM Wilsher said...

Keep up the hard work, Amy! You are an inspiration :0)

I'm glad you are writing.

My life is full.
New love, new job, new schedule, all of this can be very exhilarating, but it is also a bit stressful and has taken from my writing.

Great post!

Anne Lang Bundy said...

Aren't you glad that we only live one first day at a time? :D

God is using you, and someday you'll know how.

Ask—then listen, and listen long.
Seek—then look, and look long.
Knock—then wait, and wait long.

Those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

~ Isaiah 40:31

Amy Deardon said...

I am so thankful for friends :-) Thank you everyone for your encouraging words!