Authentically yours,

So . . . let’s recap.

[cut to a hazy, dreamlike sequence which presents the backstory]

Maxine decides she wants to self-publish her children’s book.  She attends a day-long seminar on creating a bestseller.  She is told a) that it’s not about the book, b) that she needs to use all the technology at her disposal to create a platform of 300,000 followers who she will orchestrate into a buying frenzy at the day and hour she determines c) that she needs to be authentic (which, by the way, she will not be if she embraces points a and b).  Maxine is discouraged and angry.  Months go by.  One day she decides that it is about the book, dagnabbit, and pouting about the current techno-driven state of the world isn’t going to get her (or her story) anywhere.  She commits to publishing and marketing her book.  But she will do it her way. Authentically. (Whatever that is.)

[cut to the present]

Bill Harris, in his on-line course called The Success Solution (I’ll tell you all about him another time; in the meantime, if you’re curious, go to www.centerpointe.com) says that once you’ve set your goal, take action. Take one step, any step, even if it’s pathetic.  Just start moving.  When that first step is done, evaluate the results and take another step. Then keep moving!

So . . . I made an appointment with a printer and, with visions of a hardcover masterpiece dancing through my head, I blindly chose the size, type of binding, paper, cover material and number of copies that I thought would make that dream come true.  (Step One: only mildly pathetic.)

I found an illustrator to do the pictures.  Her preliminary sketches perfectly captured the spirit of Leaf’s story. I cried happy tears. (Step Two: home run!)

I studied the printer’s quote and discovered that my price per unit was waaaaaay too high.  Nobody would spend that much, not even on a gorgeous, hardcover copy of an amazing story.  Not even for their long-awaited first grandchild. So, back to the printer to make some different choices.

That pathetic third step, however, raised the whole marketing question — the one I had been so studiously avoiding all through the visions-of-a-masterpiece-dancing-through-my-head phase.  Marketing.  Blegh.

But if I want to get Leaf into the hands of as many children as possible (because it is about the book!) then I need to let as many people as possible know about it.  As much as I prefer face-to-face conversations, that’s not going to get my book into very many hands. Social media does seem to be the way to go.  But I don’t want to blog or tweet just to build my “platform.” How can I enter my float in the social media parade and still be authentic?

I once commented to a friend, during a particularly satisfying conversation, that the best job in the world would be to visit one-on-one with a person, sipping tea while talking about things that really matter and recommending good books.  I was able to look at the blog thing a little differently when I married that comment with the tip I read somewhere that suggested writing as if you were communicating with someone who really gets you. Don’t change your voice or persona to match some perception you have of what the masses might want.  Just be yourself, petty ramblings and all.  Hey, what’s more authentic than that?

So, here I am.  When I sit down at my computer with my cup of tea (today it’s chamomile), I’m going to talk one-on-one with you about things that really matter to me. Hopefully, they’ll matter to you, too, and you’ll stick around for the conversation. Lately, I’m a tad focused on the publishing of my children’s book so I’ll probably obsess about that from time to time, but parenting really matters to me, too, and so does writing and creating beauty (which can be one and the same) and personal growth and living a creative life and . . . the list is pretty long.  And so is the list of books that I’ve read along the way.  I’ll tell you about those, too.  And, since this is a conversation, I hope you’ll join in with your thoughts (writing as if I really get you, of course) and tell me what’s important to you and share the books that have helped you in your journey so far through this mixed-up, crazy world.

So, assuming you’ll join me, Step Four (start a blog) may not be as pathetic as I first thought.  And even if you don’t join me — there’s always the risk that there isn’t anyone else out there who “gets me” — at least I’m being authentic.

Until next week,

Maxine



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