It's hard to believe that another week has gone by. When I look back over the last seven days, I can only summarize the week as busy, bewildering and beneficial.
The busy part is understandable. I released two books this week (Done Rubbed Out and Hard Job) and there has been a lot of administrivia to take care of related to that. The initial response to the books has been great and I've had the privilege of interacting with some readers. I saw the paperback version of Done Rubbed Out move to the number one new release in it's category on Amazon and Hard Job is sitting right behind it at number two. Now that the books are out there for readers to buy and enjoy, I'm starting the process of learning how to promote them effectively to build readership and sales in a very competitive market. As an introvert, just the thought of doing that makes me shiver, and I started the week looking for resources and help.
That's where the bewildering part comes into play. I quickly discovered there are endless helpful lists and suggestions out there on how to best market and promote your book. I spent the better part of one day comparing approaches and trying to figure out what might work best for me. One set of guidelines was so exhaustive I added up the amount of time it would take per week to follow the checklist. Imagine my terror and dismay when I came up with the astounding number of fifty-four hours of time I would have to spend working through the items – per week – forever. I found myself laughing in disbelief and then felt my left eyelid begin to twitch. That couldn't be right.
How could anyone recommend that an author spend fifty-four hours a week on those activities and still be expected to work on another book? I crumpled the list up into a tight little ball of note paper and carried it directly to the trash. Then I started over. I spent the better part of another day checking out various sites to see what kind of help was out there and learned some interesting things. There are a gazillion services to help promote your book! However, some of them only promote books that are FREE or priced under .99. A few of those were confusing to me, since when I looked over their rates it became clear that many hundreds of books would have to be sold at .99 to pay for the services on offer. I don't have any clue what the relative ROI is for free books, but I have enough of a business background to suspect it isn't good. I trolled the internet some more, and found some fairly reputable websites that looked promising. I solicited some feedback from a couple of writer's groups I belong to. Then I started another list which included the services offered and their corresponding costs and I think I might be getting close to nailing down an acceptable plan. I'll probably spend fifty-four hours a week getting the various channels set up, but it won't be weekly. There will still be a set of tasks to do regularly, but they will consume 8-10 hours each week and I can live with that.
Feeling a little better, I decided to see what else was happening in the world. In my part of the US, State Senator Lee Bright has introduced a lovely piece of legislation known as S 1203. It mirrors many of the provisions of similar bills introduced in other southern states over the last few weeks, and is clearly an effort on the good Senator's part to bolster his flagging support across the upstate voter base. The LGBT community, joined by allies from the SC business community, civic leaders, representatives of the clergy and concerned citizens turned out in record numbers to testify at the hearings. Courageous members of the transgender community told their stories and shared how this proposed bill would impact them. Some of the speakers were barely in their teens and I'm awestruck by their courage. National organizations such as Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Equality, GLAAD, the ACLU and the National Center for Transgender Equality galvanized support and made a strong stand. There were so few supporters of the bill present that the committee asked if there was anyone else in the building that could be found to testify in support of the legislation. The supporters failed to round anyone else up. It was amazing.
But...still the rhetoric flows. My bewilderment came back in force as I tried to figure out how any right-minded person could fail to see there was so little support for this piece of legislation. The transparency of Senator Bright's ploy has been made clear by the media, pundits and analysts. Supporters of S 1203 vow they will continue the fight and use any tactic possible to see this through. The opposition has stated S 1203 will never make it into law. Back and forth we go. It is an important fight that has to be won, but it's one that should never have started in the first place. Now, in order to do what's right, tax-payer dollars will be spent on an issue being used to grandstand to gain votes, instead of being directed to improving infrastructure in our state, helping those still trying to get their lives back to normal after the flooding of last fall, or providing better education and employment programs.
As I took stock this morning before I started to write this week's blog, it became clear that – whatever the challenges and opportunities – the week has been beneficial. That's such an interesting word. It's most often defined as meaning favorable, advantageous; resulting in good. Synonyms for the word include valuable, profitable, gainful and rewarding. All-in-all, I think beneficial is a great word to sum up the week. Personally, I made progress in my journey as a writer (and promoter) and that was valuable and rewarding. I was able to interact with new people who like what I've written. I gained new skills and profited by the insight and experiences others were willing to share. But most of all, the unity demonstrated against S 1203 – in my mind – resulted in good. People from different backgrounds, interests and beliefs came together to speak out and support one another. The only bewildering thing is why we don't do that more often. After all, it's sweeter than honey.