Raise your hand if you are anxiously awaiting the publication of The Best Girl! I have both of my hands up and am obsessively checking my e-mail for the notification that all formatting/editing/layout etc. has been completed. I hesitate to send an inquiry to the publisher too often because I don’t want to become known as a problem author. But it is excruciatingly hard!
Though I do not associate myself with an organized religion anymore, I do find it interesting that this waiting period coincides with Lent and (at least at this point) is set to end on Easter Sunday; my book will rise on April 1st. I’ve seen many posts of Facebook from friends who still practice the 40 days of Lent – giving up something or giving of themselves in a way that they haven’t before. I remember, as a child, giving up something of ultimate importance: bubble gum, candy, pop. The second I decided what I was going to give up was the second that item took up a lot of space in my brain. What was I thinking giving up HubbaBubba? Hershey’s Chocolate bars? Dairy Queen? But I also remember the waiting, the patience, paying off as, on Easter Sunday, I finally(!) was able to chomp into a big square of HubbaBubba Sour Apple.
The anticipation of holding my book in my hands is wearing my patience thin, but I suppose my Lenten experiences laid the foundation I need for this agonizing wait.
While I wait, I’m busy promoting the book behind the scenes. Besides the typical bookstore and author signing events (click on the upcoming events tab for a list), there are many, many ways to promote a book, all of which require a significant amount of research. This week, I started with finding podcasts that interview authors. So far, I have sent inquiries to seven podcasts and have been accepted by one. The name of that podcast is Dead to Writes and the interviews are conducted with Donna Carrick. Donna hails from Canada, where she produces two episodes a week. The exact date for the interview can’t be set until the book is officially on the market, but it looks like it will be in June.
I’ve also been busy creating a display for my book events. I now have an 18” x 24” canvas wrap of the front cover of the book, and 500 beautiful (if I do say so myself) bookmarks to give away. For his part, my husband, ever the engineer, created a QR code for The Best Girl. “Everyone searches QR codes,” he told me. I’m not sure book lovers do, but it will be on the bookmark for those that do!
Another piece of this whole puzzle I’ve been trying to figure out is how to make The Best Girl available to librarians, and thereby libraries. I found out that this requires the book to be registered with the Library of Congress. Making my way through this antiquated website took two full days. And then I received a message that I can’t register the book until it is actually published. So, that application is also in a waiting state.
In addition to the promotional side of things, I have invested in Square and an i-Pad. I downloaded the app and completed a test transaction for $1.00. I could refund the $1.00 back to myself, but it feels good to have a transaction under The Best Girl’s account, so I’m leaving it there!
In the midst of all this, I find myself checking in regularly with the winter of myself. Do you know what I mean by that? This is the part of yourself that holds your deepest thoughts; where you go to ponder you. Only you can go there. Only you can tap into it. Only you can choose to share what is within. When I checked in earlier this week, I came away with a few questions: Am I doing the right thing by publishing The Best Girl? Will/Would Mom approve? And then this: Am I prepared for The Best Girl to be a flop vs the success that I want it to be?
The answer to the first set of questions came to me in a series of events that occurred this week. One, I received an e-mail from Professor Frances Grossman who is part of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Boston University. Dr. Grossman has graciously agreed to endorse The Best Girl by putting a quote on the back cover. Her message: Your book has important lessons for those who come from troubled circumstances. I’d be pleased to endorse your book. I am still in awe that a professor from Boston university will be putting a quote on the back cover of my book!
Obtaining acceptance from my mom was something I always strove for. Mom was hard to please, and for many years it seemed no matter what I did, it wasn’t up to her standards. She also did not speak of the tragedies that occurred in our home, and so neither did we. But, now I am. As I filed Dr. Grossman’s e-mail into my save folder, I ran across a message I had received a while back from my cousin, Katie. Katie’s message was this: It is good that your mom is in a place where she doesn't have to feel undue shame or concern or worry about her story being told. Heaven takes all that away. Your book will help people. She would understand that and that's why she would be proud.
I took some time this week to meditate on Dr. Grossman’s graciousness and Katie’s message, and, when I next checked in with my winterness, I felt serene and at peace with my mission.
How I will feel if the book ends up face-planting, flopping down like a rag doll with dismal sales? The thing is, there is more to this than the physical book. I want the book to be with me wherever I speak, whenever I’m engaged in a conversation about Violence Against Women. I want to represent, while recognizing that each story is different, women and children who have experienced living through domestic violence. I want to speak out for those who have lost their lives to it. I’m not going to lie, I will be a wreck if The Best Girl doesn’t sell. A few tears will be shed, I can guarantee that. But, I will have the satisfaction of knowing that I did everything I possibly could to get it into as many hands as possible. Just this morning, the winter of myself gave me this message: you’ve already succeeded.
And, whether The Best Girl sells or not, I won’t let it stop me from working on my next book: The Choicemaker!
p.s. Just checked my e-mail – still no book!