The day I received my advanced copy of BACKROADS & BYWAYS OF ARIZONA was the day I returned home from my granddaughter's baptism in Lake Tahoe; it was a week after my brother died. To tell you this was a bittersweet moment is an understatement.
I showed it to my boyfriend who had just picked me up from the airport and was busy talking to his sister on the phone. While he listened to her and smiled at me, I wondered, "How am I ever going to get motivated to sell this book?" It wasn't the ooh-la-la moment I envisioned it would be. I opened the manilla envelope, pulled out the book, and after showing it to my boyfriend, placed it on the kitchen table. I didn't look at it again for a few days.
I spent those days--and then a few more--in a daze, sometimes crying, not eating much, driving around my neighborhood, just grieving. I knew my brother would never see my book.
But I soon found myself picking the book up off the table and looking at it, flipping through the pages. Then I sat down with it one afternoon and started to read some of the pages I'd written months ago and thought about what I'd written...
Did you know the actress Lynda Carter, who played TV's "Wonder Woman," went to high school in Globe, an old mining town about an hour's drive east of Mesa? If you visit the mining town next door, Miami, you can climb up the same concrete steps--150 or more--the miners used to use to climb the hills to go work. The town uses them now in a stair climbing contest...
I started reminiscing about the trips I'd taken to write those pages and take those photographs. Some of them I took alone, some were taken with friends or my boyfriend, and others involved groups of other writers. I began to immerse myself in what had been good times.
I'd enjoyed the trips, every single one of them. The reason I'd written the book in the first place was because there were places in Arizona I'd never seen but wanted to. So I'd pitched a book that would force me to go, to get out on the road and see the Arizona I had only before dreamed about or read about in other people's books.
And see I did.
I drove past long, long stretches of high and low desert, out in the middle of what looked like nowhere, to arrive at the hidden gems I wrote about--Cascabel, Taylor, Young. In them, people and events the armchair tourist will have fun reading about (hippie artist communities, Mormon pioneer families, Wild West ambushes), and the soft adventurer might like to explore. The trails take you to wine country, country diners, historic sites, and places that help take your mind off your troubles. You'll find lakes to hike around, hilltops with breathtaking views, engaging people.
When I began to immerse my thoughts on the book, to let myself experience the fun of being a first-time author, I began to change my mindset. And that's when I began to realize the truth: Well, I do have to sell this book.
So back to my original question: How to get motivated to do that?
In the few short weeks I've lived with the actual book, I've learned a few lessons; you can take them with you to the bank, no matter what product you might be peddling:
_Lesson #1: Talk about the book. Tell everyone you come across that your book is out, or will be soon. People will ask you about it.
_Lesson #2: Carry it with you wherever you go. Place it face up on the lunch counters, bar tops, dinner tables, and on your dash board. Make sure it's visible. People will ask you about it.
_Lesson #3: Offer it as a raffle item. This is a good way to collect contact information for your mailing list (e-mail or otherwise) so you can let them know about upcoming signings. Because they'll want to know what they might win, people will ask you about it.
_Lesson #4: Let people ask you about it. This is where true motivation will kick in. When people start asking you about your book project, and you get to share your stories of how it came to be, your passion that got you through the original pitch, the research, the writing--and the editing--will begin to resurface.
_Lesson #5: Let that passion carry you forward. With it comes the creative ideas that will help you find the venues you need to sell your book, and your colleagues will chime in to help you come up with others.
At least that's what I've learned so far. It doesn't take much to turn a bittersweet moment back to sweet. But first, you have to reconnect with the passion of the moment. To do that, you might need to speak up...Hey, isn't that a lesson I learned from the seat of my bike?
What about you? What bittersweet moments have you been able to overcome lately?
(Photo by Rebecca Allen, used on BIKE WITH JACKIE with her permission. Copyright Notice: Content on this page that appears anywhere beside this page is being used without consent.)