“Now that you’ve written your book and waiting for it to come out, what are you doing with all your time?”
I’ve heard that question often enough in one version or another that I decided to write this note to set the record straight.
Having been in the newspaper and magazine business for four decades, I knew there would be a lot of moving parts to publishing a book. Little did I know!
First off, as much as I enjoy writing these posts they require more time and emotional energy than I initially thought. (Reflecting on this, a tangential memory came to mind that I share in my P.S. below.)
The second thing I quickly learned: The days of an author writing his book and doing little else are long gone—unless you’re a Stephen King or J.K. Rowling.
As a result, I’m in the process of developing and executing my book’s marketing and promotional plans for the day it comes out. The latest I’ve heard from my publisher, Paraclete Press, is that my book should be released by late September. Cross your fingers.
With that date in mind, here are some things I’m doing. Don’t worry. I won’t bore you with too much business jargon.
Paraclete and I are partners in this effort, and I’m letting them do what they do best: Connect and promote to their network of several thousand, including distributors, book stores, libraries, churches, conferences, organizations, magazines and journals, individuals, and seminaries.
On my front, I’m developing plans for both an air game and a ground game.
You’re a key player in my ‘air game’ strategy. As a recipient of my email and Facebook posts, you’re helping me increase the number of prospective readers by passing along my posts to family and friends. Since launching my blog last September, scores of new subscribers have signed on. So thank you for helping swell our ranks.
Also as part of this air game:
1) I’m working with an online consultant named Dan Blank. He set up my website, my email service company, and my Facebook and Twitter accounts. More importantly, he’s helping me explore and take advantage of online expansion possibilities.
2) I’m seeking guest post opportunities. I have one scheduled right now; I just need to write it. I’ll let you know when it’s done.
3) I’ll be calling on you as I assemble my “Street Team.” Anyone interested in helping will get a free advance version of my book. I’ll be asking for two or three favors in return, all voluntary of course. As these plans shape up, you’ll be the first to know.
Now a quick look at my ‘ground game.’ I’m focused locally on engaging with the people and groups Martha and I have come to know through our 40 years in St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay.
Here are a few of my efforts:
1) I’m coordinating with my PR friend Bob Carter to help me connect with civic groups, book stores, and churches. Also with the local media, including radio, TV, and newspapers.
2) I have my first speaking engagement in March. Wish me luck.
3) I’m meeting with local pastors and briefing them in advance of my book’s launch, asking them at the right time to inform their members and others in their network.
4) I’ll also connect with friends in my hometown of Cookeville, TN, and in Montreat, NC, which is a major retreat center for the Presbyterian Church USA. We’ve had a summer cabin there since the early ‘80s.
Whew! That’s enough for now. Makes me tired thinking about it.
One last point: I’ve been asked several times if my blog posts are the same as my book’s story. They’re similar but not the same. They are similar in that both focus on the spiritual path that opened before Martha and me after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1997. The context of that journey—not its focus—happens to be Alzheimer’s.
My book reveals in fuller depth the stories, mentors, places, relationships, insights, and revelations we encountered as we traveled along this 17-year path. My posts echo some of these stories, but they’re not identical. If you’re unaware, my book’s working title and subtitle is: A Path Revealed: How Hope, Love, and Joy Found Us Deep in a Maze Called Alzheimer’s.
Last Week’s Post on Father Matthew and Forgiveness
The interaction with last week’s post tells me that some folks have experienced as much trouble with forgiveness as I have. A one-page guide helped me considerably when I didn’t know how to move forward. If you would like a copy of that, email me at email@example.com. Please put in the subject line: The Guide.
A Parenthetical P.S. A memory arose as I thought about the time and energy I’m investing in my posts. I was reminded of a former boss at the nationally recognized St. Petersburg Times, the late Editor and President Eugene C. Patterson. Earlier in his career Patterson, a Pulitzer Prize winner, served as Editor of the Atlanta Constitution while also writing a column every day of the week during the white-hot civil rights years of 1960-1968. An amazing feat. It’s one thing to concentrate on writing and editing. It’s quite another to do that during one of the most tumultuous eras this country has ever experienced, the South in particular, all while overseeing a huge staff. I stand in awe.
P.P.S. If you haven’t yet, you can sign up for my free e-newsletter here.