Come on in and let me explain this adventurous journey. I started in the Fall of 2018 when The Knock was originally published with a small, local company called Back Channel Press in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Nancy Grossman and I met for coffee, and she became my mentor, and my friend, guiding me step-by-step through the initial publishing process. She helped me organize the illustrations and did the graphic design for the book. She got my International Standard Book Number (ISBN) from the Library of Congress, which shows I own the rights to the book. I was so green I didn’t even know what copyright meant! She found me a printer with a great offset price. Finally, the moment came when I got to hold my own book. Oh, the excitement of seeing a dream come true! I was a published author. But it never occurred to me to have a business plan. Now the job of selling became mine!
You see, so many people say they want to write a book, but very few follow through. Now I know why. To begin with, it’s a ton of work and it holds a financial risk. You start this journey not knowing how well your book will be perceived with readers. I learned very quickly that writing the book was the easy part. It’s marketing that takes up most of my day now. I calculated that writing is only 10% of my day, 20 % is education, and a whopping 70% is spent on marketing. I joined in a lot of Facebook groups, Instagram, Linked In, Twitter and Pinterest. Oh my! Let’s pray that’s it. Who would have guessed that authors must become marketers? Of course, you can spend a gazillion dollars with professionals, but I didn’t want to at the beginning.
I googled every article I could find to learn as much as I could. I went to our local library, the museums, stores, basically any outlet I could think of to get my book in the hands of the public. Sitting at home wasn’t an option; I had a book to promote. Every penny I earned at my day job supplemented my aspiring writing career.
One of the articles suggested entering contests to gain credibility, so what do you think I did? Yes, that’s right. I entered every contest that would accept my book. That was expensive, but I was determined to gain credibility. Of course, I had no idea what I was doing. My first and the most meaningful contest was the Chanticleer International Book Award (CIBA). I entered in the picture book/early reader level wondering if the book really fit that category. Nine months later (when I remembered that contest) I googled the CIBA website to find my name at the top of the list as a semi-finalist. I was in shock. Next came the e-mail with congratulations, an invitation to attend the conference, and the award ceremony. I went to Bellingham, Washington and learned so much about this business. My head was swimming and most of the information was way over my head. But what it taught me was how little I really knew about this industry; how competitive it was, and how much I had to learn. Can you imagine how Iost I felt as a first-time author! Overload!!