Almost two years ago on Sept. 1, 2013, I began a journey that I did not anticipate and that I hope will change my life. I began writing a fiction novel—my life-long dream—and I’m almost ready to shop it. The journey has been a challenging one, and I’ve poured my heart and soul into this project. As a dear friend said, “You had a baby,” and she was right. It took me nine months to write the book, and it’s taken me over another year to whip this “toddler” into shape. It’s definitely in its terrible twos, but we may finally be getting there. The experience has been cathartic and worth every single bipolar minute. One day I love my baby; the next day I hate it. I’ve been told this is normal. I sure hope so, but more on that later.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m old school, even though I’m a writer and editor of primarily online and self-published content. I didn’t pre-order “Go Set a Watchman” from an online bookstore; I excitedly pre-ordered Harper Lee’s “new” novel from the local brick-and-mortar store and proudly carried my hardback copy home once it arrived. I like my books and newspapers in my hands, with real pages to turn, and ink stains on my fingers when I’m done reading them.
As such, aside from getting my baby publish-ready, the other battle I have been fighting is to publish or self-publish, that is the question. The consensus of most of my colleagues and friends is to self-publish, but I’ll admit to still holding onto my childhood dream of being published by a publishing house, even after all these years and in our eBook era. Yep, I’m old school.
Either way, I will need to publicize my book as much as possible myself, and I fail at publicizing myself miserably, even with my freelance writing and editing business. I have a personal Facebook page with a whopping (yet wonderful) 28 friends as of today, I just set up my LinkedIn profile—no, I haven’t connected with anyone yet—, and no, I don’t “tweet”; after all, I’m a cat lover. Oh boy! How, oh how, do I promote my book.
Another dear friend has supplied me with countless information on how to build my author profile online and, yes, I still need to do that. To be honest, it’s all very overwhelming. I can build another person’s online profile; I’ve even gotten client’s websites and business profiles to the first page in the search engine results, but me? Build my own online profile? I, oddly, find it intimidating.
My friend knows me well, and she is gently prodding me in intervals with the patience of a saint. She knows that if she pushes me too hard, I’ll shut down on her, because shutting down is one area where I possess extensive expertise! So, what did she do for my birthday last month? She discreetly questioned during an instant messaging conversation whether I am writing under my real name or a pen name. I answered my real name without further thought. Her reply: “. . . as of 2 seconds ago, sharonplatz.com is yours.” What?
All of my birthday presents last month were amazing, but this one hit a mark that I had not yet accepted needed a bulls-eyed shot. My reply, after admitting I was being a blubbering idiot and typing a bunch of babble, was, “I . . . holy [expletive] . . . this is happening . . . okay . . . breathing.” My friend gently prodded me with the patience of a saint by giving me the one tool I need to promote my book and my business–my website. Thank you, Cricket, for the most targeted present EVER.
Okay, I’m diving in. Thank goodness, I can swim!
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