About two months have passed since Lemons and Lemonade: My Midlife Dabble in Online Romance was released to the general public. It was an exciting time back then.
My first book. I told everyone I knew, even some that I didn’t. I posted the news on both my personal FB page, and my FB author page. I announced the news on my brand spanking new webpage: dhmathews.com. Family, friends, and acquaintances ‘Liked’ my post, offered congratulations, and bought the book. My media publicist made her contacts. Everything looked promising. I was pretty darn proud of myself.
And I waited.
Reality set in. I’m old enough now to realize that my schedule, my plan of action, doesn’t always align with the other 7.5 billion people with whom I share Mother Earth. In fact, it rarely does.
Acknowledging this misalignment, and accepting it are two different things. Those promising media contacts weren’t. Reviews that I was assured would come, didn’t. Queries for bookstore author events went unanswered. Winter cold set in, and so did what appeared to be my book sale paralysis. What I was suffering from was PPTSD—Post Publish Traumatic Stress Disorder. It was way worse than writer’s block.
But, what do I do, and how do I do it?
I had 100 books in boxes in my office, and few ideas about how to put them into the hands of love-starved readers. So, I thought about it. I talked with my publicist about it. I whined to my wife about it. And I discussed my dilemma with my editor. And in this, the consensus was clear: get off my butt, get creative, and get busy.
I reached out to those media contacts again. I sent follow-up emails to some bookstores, and made personal visits to others. I posted and posted on FB. I started writing again. And lo and behold, Daniel Goldin, proprietor of Boswell Book Company, responded to one of my many entreaties.
Yes, he would host an event for me on Wednesday, February 8, if I could round up at least 30 warm bodies to attend the event, and of course, buy books. Now for those of you who do not know, Daniel Goldin is a legendary book seller. Boswell Book Company is the premier independent book store in Wisconsin. Ann Patchett, in a recent New York Times’ article, called Daniel, “a stupendously great bookseller.”
So, the pressure is on.
I awaken in the middle of the night with a start, wondering who else I can invite, who will show, and if our Wisconsin winter weather will cooperate. I created a small flyer publicizing my event. I’ve posted it in every Starbucks and Fiddleheads coffee shop along the North Shore. For the past several days, I’ve driven around Southeast Wisconsin, visiting independent book stores, talking up my book, mentioning the event, keeping my fingers crossed. Most have taken my book on consignment. A few owners wanted to “think about it…to see if it was a good fit.”
Two media personalities responded positively that they would like to interview me at some point, hopefully before the Boswell event. I’m writing again. Automotive journalism is good for me—I completed four magazine pieces, three of which have been accepted for publication. Another book, at least the initial stages of one, is on tap.
All in all, I sum it up this way—no one cares more about my book than I do. No one will promote it more than I will.
And its success, or failure, is on me.