I’m in a general state of panic at the moment. And it’s not to do with Covid, although maybe it should be. I gathered with my sister and nieces for a walk on the beach last week, and they asked me how things are going with my books. I’m in the last stages of putting out my middle-grade trilogy, The Chronicles of Aden Weaver. I replied, “I’m freaking out!” And then I said, “My good friend should never have asked me, ‘what do you really want with your books?’” because I answered that I want more people to read them.
The problem with asking for more is you have to be more.

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My friend seemed to think I needed a gentle push with my writing career. When we talked about it I said I was happy tootling along with no one reading my work because some of us writers are terrible introverts and suffer self-doubt. She said, “If you want to sell more, you will have to up your game.”
I felt conflicted. I don’t want to push my books on everyone and start marketing big time and trying to sell, sell, sell. Every time a writing “friend” I’ve gained on social media turns around and asks me to vote for them in an online contest or “like” something for more media exposure, my heart drops.

I know self-marketing on social media is a necessary evil these days, but I can’t stand that stuff.


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Still, I couldn’t ignore the fact the gauntlet was down. Also, my friend offered to connect me with two successful women for advice. The literary agent and the publicist I spoke to were wonderful and let me ask them 200 questions about the business.
Top of the list of recommendations from both women was to get a publicist. I took the leap of faith and hired one. Last week my new publicist sent me the press release she’d put together for the trilogy, and that was when the nerves really kicked in.

The words, ‘Yvette is available for interview. Contact her publicist.’ Stood out in bold type. Am I really doing this?
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My sister and nieces have encouraged me to keep going, despite my fear. So I have restrained myself from cancelling the whole PR thing and fleeing for the hills.
Today an email arrived from the company, showing the literary publications and bloggers who have requested copies of my books for review. In my career I have stayed so far under the radar that I have never had a review. This is a strange confession to make because I write book reviews, but I’ve never been on the receiving end. The thought of all these reputable outfits (like Magpies magazine, for goodness sakes) critiquing my books is absolutely terrifying. I am convinced they will throw my stories in the rubbish.

Old, buried feelings of not being good enough resurface. I’m freaking out.

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In times of need, I turn to mentors. I read some of my favourite quotes from the kick-ass “WanaMama,” Kristen Lamb. She said, “If we never fail, we never learn. Show me a person who never fails and I’ll show you someone who’s done nothing interesting. Publishing involves… humans. Humans who screw up, make mistakes, etc. Even better? Now that we’re in the digital age? Humans can screw up much FASTER and INSTANTLY. Successful people don’t avoid stress, they learn to manage it… often the hard way. Yay!” *my bold type
A few years ago, worried about putting my story out there, I mentioned my fear to Kristen. She sent me this brilliant poem by Edmund Vance Cooke, How Did You Die? The stirring call to courage included this great passage:

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You are beaten to earth? Well, well, what’s that?
Come up with a smiling face.
It’s nothing against you to fall down flat,
But to lie there — that’s disgrace.
The harder you’re thrown, why the higher you bounce;
Be proud of your blackened eye!
It isn’t the fact that you’re licked that counts,
It’s how did you fight — and why?

I needed that. Thanks, Edmund! Thanks, Kristen.

I re-read the letter from my publicist, listing all the literary types asking for copies of my books to review. My youngest son asked me what I was going to do. I was reminded of Anne Lamott’s words in Plan B, about her teenage son, But most of all he needs me to be alive in a way that makes him feel he will be able to bear adulthood. I turned to my youngest and said, “I’m going to be brave.” And I will.

What about you? Have you had to up your game recently? How did you survive?

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Talk to you later.
Keep creating!
Yvette K. Carol
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It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. ~ E. E. Cummings

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Comments
  1. Hi Yvette. It does take few deep breaths and a lot of courage to put yourself in the limelight. But it is necessary if you want your books read. Think of all the work you have put into your writing – you deserve to have recognition of that, at least.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      What a great way of looking at it. Do you know, Vivienne, I’ve never looked at the marketing that way before. Thank you so much. You’ve given me a much-needed reset.

      Like

  2. Your support system sound pretty incredible. I sympathize. I hate marketing. I hate book signings and book readings. I’d rather wash the floors.

    Liked by 1 person

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