Side-Swiped by a Learning Curve
Paper isn’t the medium anymore. Stories and manuscripts are submitted online following very specific computer guidelines and parameters. All new to me. I had to learn computer language in order to understand those requirements! I didn’t exactly enjoy that, but it was necessary. Writing for an audience is different than writing for my passion. I had to learn that, too. I went to conferences and workshops, joined writing groups, entered contests and learned critique skills. I enjoy that; it is, after all, writing.
But marketing was something that completely sideswiped me. I’m having a great time traveling to find readers for my books, meeting people and seeing new towns and cities. But the learning curve has taken loops, dives and curls that I never expected. It’s frustrating, and it’s fascinating. I’m grateful to have so many opportunities to learn new skills and keep up with the world rather than just grow old gracefully. Last weekend I learned how to create a power point to use with Blue-Eyed Doll releasing in 2016. I never saw that need coming!
I talked to a retailer in Virginia, who works hard at her little shop in Cape Charles. I shared some of my frustration with her. She nodded and said, “Retail is like that. Some things work, some things don’t. What works well one week, falls flat the next. You just have to learn your market, and try to stay in front of it. Keep at it.” She agreed some things can’t be explained. Why does one pair of socks lay there for a year while right next to them all the rest are restocked? For instance, my book, Cracks in the Ice. When I submitted this to Write Integrity Press, the editor, Tracy Ruckman, told me her readers were excited about the book. They told her she had to publish it, it was her best one yet! Wow. That was exciting to hear. The cover they created is beautiful. Covers are a huge marketing feature, an industry themselves. It became a finalist in the Selah Book Awards. That was huge in the Christian fiction market. It received the Seal of Approval of the Catholic Writers Guild, opening the door to book stores and libraries. It has 22 very nice reviews on Amazon, all 5’s and 4’s, a 4.7. But, I can’t find the niche for this book. I’ve been as creative as with all the other books. What worked for them doesn’t work with this book. My editor at BJU Journey Forth told me it’s understood that some books don’t get off the ground no matter what you do; others, not necessarily as worthy, fly off the shelves from the get-go. She said “We’d all be rich if we understood that phenomenon.”