Don't be nervous

With my focus now on the Sir Newton books, I started making publicity calls for Sir Newton’s Color Me Hawai’i, which launched earlier this year. I’m late in doing promotions (you really want a nice big push when the book first appears in stores – but the beginning of this year was crazy, with a move to a different state, buying a house, etc.), but I figure better late than never.

I sent out review copies and press releases a few weeks ago, and I have to admit, I really hoped that would be it. Every paper would respond. I’d get requests for interviews, and lots of books would sell.

Of course, it didn’t work that way. I still had to do follow up calls.

As a journalist (my day job), I get calls from publicists a lot. Now, I know why. When I called the publications I had sent press packets to, they couldn’t remember the book. So I had to remind them.

The strange thing was, even though I was calling my peers, even though I get calls like this all day, I was nervous about making them myself.

Why is it that, as writers, we find it so difficult to say, “Look at what I made. Isn’t it great?” Many writers spend hours and hours tapping away on their computers, writing short stories, plays, novels, but that’s as far as they get. They never send them to agents, publishers or contests, don’t even show their friends or read their work at critique groups. Many people don’t even get to the writing part–they can’t get past “that’s a good idea”.

But we should be proud of what we do. We shouldn’t create in a vacuum. There’s nothing wrong with writing just for yourself, after all, that’s what journaling is. But, some things are written to be shared, and they should be. (Of course, I’m not advocating sending work out to an agent or publisher until it’s ready, and that’s where the critique groups come in.)

And even though we would love everyone to say, “Wow, that is great,” they won’t. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Without criticism — the right kind, the constructive not mean kind — we won’t grow.

So, there’s nothing to be nervous about with putting our work out to other writers, good writers, more experienced writers, and saying, “Hey, look at my work. I’d love it if you could read it.” Just like, once something is ready, there’s nothing to be nervous about sending it to agents, etc., and saying, “Hey, look at my work. I think it’s worthy of being published.” And, when you’ve published something, there’s nothing to be nervous about when calling a publicist and saying, “Hey, look at my work. I think it’s good enough to be written about.”

Doesn’t mean we won’t still be nervous. But if we don’t jump, we won’t get far.

So how did my calls go? Well, I only had time for a few. But a features editor at one paper found the book in a pile on her desk and said she would get it in Sunday’s paper, and a features editor at another paper said she couldn’t find the book, but if I send her one (I had sent it to her assistant originally, but she was out sick), she would put it in her paper. I sent the copy off today. Success! They weren’t monsters. They didn’t bite my head off. And they didn’t have to know that my insides were turning.

What makes you nervous in your area of the writing world?

Write On!

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2 thoughts on “Don't be nervous

  1. This is terrific advice! What makes me nervous? I’ll tell you what doesn’t make me quite so nervous anymore: book promotion. That’s entirely thanks to you.

    I’d love to hear more about how you go about doing promotion. And congrats on getting through to people who’ll feature your book.

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