Between grade school, college, law school, and paralegal school (not in that order), I have spent 20 years with my butt in a classroom, supposedly to learn something (sadly, in some cases, the lesson was how bad the teacher was). I think I’ve had enough formal education at this point, but as one goes through life, especially taking on new endeavors, the learning process continues. As noted (and verifiable), I am highly educated. However, that doesn’t mean I know everything. If I did, I would have done better than third place on Jeopardy, June 3, 2010. (Also verifiable)
This is what I feel I need right now.
As it is, I have two people who want to punch me in the throat and kick my ass. With good cause.
We are working on a blog tour to promote my next book, “At Last,” the sequel to “These Foolish Things.” I use “we” in the loosest sense because I’m just hanging back throwing monkey wrenches into the works. Not intentionally, but still…
1) When you ask someone how to do something or what she thinks you should do TAKE NOTES. Take lots of notes, take too many notes, take detailed notes. That way, you can remember what the experienced person told you to do when you go to do the task. This is the Information Age. Ignorance should be punishable.
In my case, it’s setting the optimal date range for this blog tour. It’s for MY benefit, okay? People are rounding up bloggers and Facebook folk to help ME. For 10 days, blogs that sign up are going to be posting information about MY book in order to interest THEIR followers into buying MY book. Therefore, it would be prudent to schedule things so that participating bloggers have time to read the book and possibly concoct a review. This requires some patience.
Have you met me? Patience is someone else’s virtue.
So now, the author who is helping me is aggravated because I didn’t take enough notes and chose 10 days too early in the process. The blog tour operator (who had started a sign-up with the dates I chose) now has to go back and redo the scheduling, possibly irritating the bloggers.
My dad had a houseboat. He loved it. He loved working on it. I forget the circumstances, but one day, he accidentally managed to sever the power line running along the dock and there was no electricity to the docked boats for a while. The other boaters took a vote and decided he was not allowed to use anything more dangerous that a hammer after that.
I am my father’s daughter. (I cut the phone line into the house with a hedge trimmer one day while my mother was on the phone with my sister’s soon-to-be mother-in-law. Had I not taken the hedge trimmer away from him because of the boat dock incident, Dad would have done the cutting 5 minutes later. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it).
2) When you proudly tell someone of an “accomplishment” and his/her first reaction is “You did WHAT?”, odds are pretty good that you are about to have to undo that “accomplishment”.
When I got the cover art for “At Last,” I was stunned. It is THAT good. (You’ll see on Friday). My author friend advised me to set a “cover reveal” date: you get individuals and bloggers to help you unveil the art. This is where social media like Facebook and Twitter are a huge boon to independent authors. It’s free advertising. Depending on how many followers a blog or Facebook page has, your reach could equal that of a daily newspaper in a mid-sized city without the high cost of buying an ad (You pay the blog tour coordinator, but it’s still less than a one-day one-page ad).
Remember what I said about patience? Yeah, keep that in mind.
Okay, cover reveal date set. But surely, I can post it on my own Facebook page. I don’t have a lot of followers; these are my friends. It’s not going to do any harm. Wrong.
Ayuh; what went up had to come down. And I can’t get one of the “Men In Black” neuralyzers to erase people’s memories of what they’d seen. There is a pretty good existing equivalent, but I’d be shipping tequila all over the country. That gets costly.
3) When you are paying people for their experience and expertise, LET THEM DO THEIR JOB. And if you are given an instruction to carry out: DO IT. Yes, I have degrees and diplomas. However, when it comes to promoting a book, I know squat minus. I am learning the truth of that statement.
I didn’t learn to treat cats and dogs with respect until after I’d been scratched and bitten a few times . The scars remind me. I would like to think that the claw and teeth marks I’m earning on this blog tour will serve as reminders on how to do it right for the next one.