Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's All in the Marketing

My friend and I are doing final edits of our first book, which we hope to get published one way or another.  The process of publishing is like a whirling eddy of scary options ranging from seeking a conventional publisher using an agent (if you can find an agent), self-publishing after shelling out half of one's pension in perpetuity to get it going, publishing it exclusively as an e-book using at least four different services (and I do mean different), or a combination of those.  I don't believe I have the courage, frankly, to go the paper route through a conventional publisher.  And I haven’t yet made an effort to seek out an agent.  I have visions of rejection slip after rejection slip shooting through my mail slot like bullets through a Gatling gun.  

I’ve read authors’ blogs where they say that marketing is the most important part of the process—the activity least likely to be relished by any writer, including me.  It’s the process of writing that appeals to writers—thus the moniker “writer.”  It’s the creation of a paragraph that makes sense, sucks you in, tells a story, explains a premise.  Whatever it is, it flows.  Marketing isn’t writing.  

I’ve explored the marketing short-cuts.  So I’ll change my Facebook page, create a web site, start tweeting (I guess).  I don’t consider myself an old fogy, but I can’t seem to keep up with the technology.  I rely heavily on the expertise of my three sons who seem to be able to operate anything with either a mouse or a keyboard.  Contrast that with my own experience.  I grew up during the Civil Rights movement when Gloria Steinem and Bella Abzug were radical heroines, a woman’s right to choose was affirmed by the Supreme Court, women began keeping their own names after marriage, and the Vietnam War ebbed and flowed into the history books.  I’ve used computers since I was a young woman, but I have not, evidently, kept up with the social media industry--rapidly morphing into something incomprehensible.  

Nonetheless, I will adapt.  One thing I learned from being a minister’s daughter is that adaptation is survival.  We moved several times during my childhood, and I survived without the scars often suffered by children whose lives were uprooted in their tender youth.  I made new friends, started over with a new school and a new church, and found stability in the adventure.  I’ll figure out how to twitter, dammit, and when my book comes out, be generous when you find me outside the local supermarket hawking copies. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Reveling in Retirement

I am closing in on my seventh month of retirement.  The time has flown by in a whirr of activity.  I feel as accomplished in retirement as when working—but without spending endless energy worrying about whether or not my actions of yesterday will adversely impact thousands of good citizens of California tomorrow simply because I used the word “must” instead of “may” or vice versa.  Rather, I spend endless energy feeding my soul. 

We’re attending dog training with Milo.  While he doesn’t yet respond immediately to “Here, Milo,” he’s moving in that direction.  He will “sit” and “down” and stand on two legs, doing a 360 for a treat.  We’re overly permissive doggie owners, which means that the training is not as life-changing as I had expected.  The end of the lessons nears without quite as much progress as I had expected. 

He’s quite the fetcher, though.  Loves those balls.  And the red Frisbees (We’re on, like, number six.  Fortunately, they only cost 99 cents.) have been chewed into oblivion.  He’s so bad we have to take them away so he doesn’t ingest red plastic pieces in the process.  Phil says that he appears to have gone feral when he has that damned thing in his mouth. 

My friend and I are close to finishing our mystery novel.  And now I am wading through the bog of publishing options.  What to do?  How to do it?  Where to start?  The writing almost seemed easier than figuring where we go with it once it’s done.  Can that be?  I’m reaching out to friends who might help me in my hour of confusion.

Today I received a replacement bowl for my 40-year-old Cuisinart.  For those of you who do not fit into the category of “baby boomer,” a “Cuisinart” used to mean food processor and nothing else.  Now it means all sorts of other products—knives, pots and pans, other kitchen utensils.  For about 20 years, the old bowl has been held together with duct tape.  Always hand washed—always by me, the bowl was used only to make pesto.  Nothing else.  I figured that everything else could be made without the help of a food processor.  But now that I have a new bowl, I have even unearthed the other attachments that can be used for the complement of other “knifely” things.  Covered with dust, they will be given new life—like a Phoenix rising from the earth.