You may have heard that Bas and I wrote a new book. Or maybe you haven’t yet. Bas has been doing a great job telling people about it. I haven’t. I’ve been offline most of the month since. And I could tell you here that my grandmother passed away the day after the book was published, and that that’s the reason I’ve gone dark. But that’s only part of it, as I’m about to admit.
The book is called A Travel Guide for Transitions: Because Freaking Out About This by Myself Totally Sucks. It’s a collection of stories, quotes, and drawings that capture what moving within transitions feels like. I love that it doesn’t attempt to solve anyone’s problems, beyond our own. We hate it when people do that. I also love that there is a high probability that reading it will help you feel better about where you are right now. This is no small thing, I’m finally learning.
If you are a friend, there’s a very good chance that you are described and thanked in the book. We took the time to create a Cast of Characters at the end, describing all the people mentioned in the stories, people who we’ve learned with along our journey over the past year. I started this list almost entirely as an act of self-soothing during my very stressful and overly busy and cranky April. So the list ended up being 16 pages, which is about twice as long as any story in the book. And Bas picked up its quirky tone and went with it. So the Cast of Characters is a weirdly fun and interesting thing to read in and of itself. I’m not exactly sure what this says about us, but whatever it is, I love it. If that makes me an ego maniac, so be it.
So marketing the book. Yeah.
On even my best day, I struggle with marketing my work. Not that I don’t think it’s valuable–far from it–I think we’re documenting a major shift for the better, in both ourselves and our world, and I love telling people about the work, sharing the new narrative. Hard to shut me up about it in person actually, as one poor, unsuspecting human at Office Nomads’ coworking space learned today.
It’s just that, for me, there’s something about telling people about my own work–and then asking them to pay for it–that feels off. I prefer life in the gift economy. Add the money factor and it feels like proselytizing somehow now. Preaching and selling. And also boring. And just icky. Which, I suppose for me as a writer and blogger is great, because clearly I still have some issues to work through and as long as I have personal issues to work through, I still have fodder for creation. Hooray! But for me as a human being who needs to eat and pay a mortgage and buy dog food, however, not wanting money for my work does make things tricky. Throw on the fact that the deep joy for me is in creating the work itself, and you’ll understand that the moment we find ourselves with a finished book, I’m already ready to move on to our next creative project. How Hollywood actors giddily pitch movies they filmed a year ago, day after day, is beyond me. That’s the acting they should receive awards for.
So you can imagine how I felt about facing marketing tasks for this new book in June, having just lost my Grandma Del, quite possibly the world’s funniest and definitely in the top-5 feistiest grandmas of all time. My book-marketing tasks just did not happen. I allowed mourning to take precedence over all else. I crawled under a metaphorical rock. I wandered barefoot on the beach. Watched Eva the dog meet her first lake, and then the ocean for the first time. I cried at the beauty of sunsets with family in 6 different states–South Dakota to Oregon.
This morning I’ve been reading my blog posts from the past 6 months, attempting to get back to myself again. This is the true joy of blogging for me. The remembering who you are part. The noticing who you’ve become part. And especially the recognizing that you’ve written things that came from somewhere else entirely, not you, part, when you shut off your thinking brain and just let go into the joy or into pain. And yet generous people regularly give you credit and praise for it, as if it had come from you. Amazing.
But where was I?
Oh yes, marketing the book. Bleh.
Marketing isn’t fun or easy for me, and I suck at it, to the point that I mostly avoided it for a month and now I still don’t want to do it. Even though I adore the book we just created.
So maybe I’m not actually supposed to be doing marketing by myself.
And maybe this is true of Bas and I together, too, because we’re cut from the same lead-with-playfulness-and-energy-and-creation-and-avoid-selling-yourself-as-an-expert-or-your-head-might-actually-explode cloth, he and I.
So maybe we should just ask for help with this. This is what I am trying to learn right now: this asking for help long before I exhaust myself and fall apart business.
Ok, I’m doing it. I’m asking for help.
Will you help us spread the word about this book? By, for example:
- Reading the book?
- Telling other people about the book and about us?
- Giving the book as a gift to someone else?
- Writing a review for it on the Amazon website?
Thank you for your help.
As it turns out, in Lori Land, asking for help is roughly 100 times easier than marketing my own work.
FYI, my favorite idea is giving the book as a gift to a friend who is going through a transition.
That’s what this book is for me.
A gift from a friend during a time of major transition.
And it really helps.