Being that this is my very first blog, on my very first website, it's only fitting that I talk about my very first book adventure, thus far. Just last month, I published a fictional romance novel called "Tug" on Amazon. Let's all clap and jump for joy! Writing a novel is no easy feat, and if nothing comes from it (meaning I don't sell very many copies), at least I had the endurance to see it through.
As a child, I had a vivid imagination. I was very creative and liked to engage in various arts and crafts. I was also good at writing, and could conjure up a tale in a heartbeat. I was told many times that writing was my strong suit. However, over the years, my creativity fell by the wayside, quite frankly, because life happened.
Instead of utilizing my visionary mind, I chose a different route in college and majored in Business - quite the opposite of the arts. I thought it was the logical degree and the one that would provide a good future for me. Well, times have changed, and the "norm" is no longer the norm. I don't regret my degree, and I'm thankful I had the opportunity to get one. But I often felt like something was missing. My B.A, in Business just didn't hit the spot.
As I reached my thirties, I had an epiphany. I discovered that the void in my life was my lack of creativity. My brain needed to be worked, and not by sales numbers and corporate jargon. Who knows? Maybe having a child of my own helped me to subconsciously figure that out. Regardless, I'd finally found the spark to ignite the fire in my soul.
One morning, I woke up with an idea and had a moment of clarity. I was going to write a novel. The urge to do so was so strong, I just couldn't ignore it. It was the answer to my lazy, bored brain. So, with unsure fingers, I sat down with my laptop and began to type.
Before I knew it, one word turned into two, two sentences turned into three, and three chapters turned into four. And I kept on going. I joked with myself (and with my family) that I was surprised I was sticking with it, after all, time and patience weren't always on my side. But I did it, and the end result was a 365-page novel. BAM!
Publishing my novel was fairly easy. In one day, I was able to see my book proudly displayed on Amazon. However, the next steps to the success of my book have proven to be several slices less of a cake walk.
You see, as a self-published author you are completely responsible for sales and advertising. Sure, Amazon has a few tools available to writers, but they can only do so much. I quickly found that the most critical form of advertising is good old-fashioned word of mouth.
Essentially, my book is a brand, and I am now a small business. As a business, you need several different outlets to make people aware of who you are and what you're selling. It's a very daunting task, to say the least (especially on a small budget). Because who am I in the multitude of published and self-published authors? There are millions of us.
It reminds me of the Dr. Seuss story, "Horton Hears A Who". Horton, a humble and optimistic elephant, hears a tiny speck on a clover speaking to him. He realizes that the speck is a tiny world with living creatures on it, and he makes it his mission to find a safe place for the speck to live. At one point in the story, he loses his clover in a massive bed of clovers that all look alike.
Luckily, Horton finds his clover with the living Whos, but he faces many obstacles on his journey. The ultimate reason the speck was saved in the end was because Horton believed they just needed to be heard.
I am that speck lost in a field full of clovers. And I have to be heard. I have to be discovered. Not necessarily to find a safe place to live, but to let people know who I am and what I have to offer. Brand awareness is a slow process, and there's absolutely no down time if you want exposure. It's a seven days a week kind of job on top of my regular job. If I want my brand to survive in this big world, I've got to keep at it, and never give up.
So the important thing to remember is that we writers are in this business because we have a passion for it. We want our words written on pages, and in the hands of eager readers. To those of you reading this post, remember that we are simply trying to get noticed in this vast sea of tiny pink clovers. We need you to help us be heard. We need you to be a Horton. Because "A person's a person, no matter how small"...and a writer's a writer, no matter how small.