I have a new publisher, a new website and lots of new advertising opportunities, including a full page color ad insert in Kirkus Review’s newsletter which will be distributed at Book Expo, and a ‘book tour’ with Pump Up Your Book this summer. I’m also a sixty-one year old woman who doesn’t want to learn HTML, Photo Shop, or any other technical genius that will make me a better ‘marketer’ for my book. I was an OR nurse for thirty years; isn’t that enough technology?
However, what I am learning is it doesn’t make any difference how much you ‘hire out’ the work. If you want to be a successful self-published author, you had better learn how to update your own website, photo shop a cover mock up for your book, and more. You better reread your final interior proof one hundred times, because no matter how much you pay for copy editing, you will get your hardcopy proof in the mail and find out that you have used that hundreds of times too often, or put commas in too many places, or my worst mistake; use sole rather than soul.
The Greeks of Beaubien Street is in the hands of the new publisher and I am anxiety ridden. Getting used to a new routine and new people, is so difficult. In my former life, I discovered that I preferred to stick with the tried and true rather than venture out. I stayed at a job I didn’t like for years because the fright of starting fresh somewhere else was too difficult.
My little problems are nothing compared to what my friends are going through right now. Life threatening illness, the loss of a spouse, unemployment, legal issues, the list is endless. What I have noticed is how one reacts to the trouble says a lot. I have a friend who is bald from chemotherapy for breast cancer, and everyday she crawls out of bed and drives an hour to her very physical kind of job. It’s not one at which she is able to sit at a desk. She alone supports her household, and the job provides her health insurance, so she doesn’t have the option to stay home when she feels bad. In spite of her situation, my friend is the most upbeat woman I know. She hasn’t whined or complained once, and the only way I will know that she is feeling less than stellar is she won’t talk about herself. I imagine myself in her situation and the complaining I would do. We talked this week and she said that if she makes being upbeat and positive an act of her will, she is successful, and then she feels better. If she gives in to self-pity, the effect is immediate; she feels awful and makes everyone around her feel awful, too. She still has children at home and an aged mother who lives with her and its important to her that her family stays hopeful, as well. Cancer is not her identity, nor are her other problems. We have to work at not allowing those things which will tear us down to become our identity. Because if we do, we succumb to feeling sorry for ourselves. Someone else is always worse off.
So the pressure is on. My husband told me yesterday when he was listening to me having a disagreement with the person who designed my website that I am turning into a real !@#$%^&* and he is glad we don’t work together. That got me thinking about the fine line there is between standing up for yourself or being an aggressive shrew, being positive or feeling so sorry for yourself that it paralyzes you. There is just so much a stake right now, and I’ve spent so much money and put so much work into everything that I want to get it right. I can’t afford to have any craziness around me, or any negativity. At different times in my life my friends have been there for me when my glass was half empty, and now I need to knock it off, belly up to the bar, and get it right.