Thursday, January 29, 2009

Meet Fellow Violet - Susan Wiggs!

One of the great things about being involved in a blog like this is discovering who your readers are. Imagine my surprise (and thrill) to learn that best selling author Susan Wiggs reads our blog!! This 30 year publishing veteran, winner of multiple RITA awards, a recipient of an entire galaxy full of starred reviews is a fellow Shrinking Violet! So of course I begged her to see if she had some words of wisdom she could share with us and, goddess that she is, she took some time away from the launch of FIRESIDE (something like her 45th published book) to chat with us.

RL: How have the marketing and promotional expectations of authors changed since you first began publishing?

SW: When my first book came out in 1987, there were very few promotional expectations of the author. We were encouraged to do booksignings (aka slow death by being ignored or being asked to point out the way to the restrooms), answer fan mail and maybe send out a bookmark. Now, in 2009, I have a new book out (FIRESIDE from Mira Books) and it's being promoted on my web site, my blog, on networking sites and all over the internet. There's everything from a YouTube video I made (be gentle--it's my first effort) to a playlist of music I listened to while writing the book.

These days, the front line of promo is the author web site. There's a timely essay in the NYT about it here. I think most commercial publishers expect the author to have a web site. We're also encouraged to promote our books via social networking sites like Facebook, which is great for introverts, since you can have 900 friends without actually having to speak to any of them. The downside is, you have "friend" people, and using friend as a verb is so difficult for us.

RL: How did an introvert like yourself manage to get acclimated to the promotional demands of your career? Have you found it gets easier with practice?

SW: Keeping the focus on the book itself is key for me. I love telling stories, and I love winning over readers. So If I keep that goal in mind--telling readers about my books--it's easy to have a positive attitude about promo.

RL: What are your favorite marketing tools and activities? Your least favorite?

SW: Most favorite--the book itself. I think the most direct way to win over a reader is to give her a book. If she loves it, she'll look for more, tell her friends, pass the book around to friends, family and co-workers. I always ask my publisher for lots and lots of author copies, and I never stockpile them. I give them away like party favors. Meeting booksellers and librarians is always fun, because we're all booklovers. Just today, I did an on-camera interview with uber-librarian Nancy Pearl and it was painless, because all we did was talk about the books we love. I also like going to a publisher's sales conference. The sales force people are such extroverts that they make your forget you're an introvert. I enjoy radio interviews from my home. I have the perfect wardrobe for radio--a bathrobe.

Least favorite--for me, it's probably having to come up with biographical material. It's tricky to sound interesting but not boastful. I'm not a huge fan of booksignings--for me, anyway. Some authors are dynamic and draw a crowd--authors like Sherman Alexie, Debbie Macomber, Janet Evanovich and Nora Roberts come to mind. Alas, I'm not a member of that group; my readers would rather stay home, curled up with a good book. This is fine with me, but I always feel bad for booksellers who go to a lot of trouble to set up a signing, only to have a light turnout.

RL: Are there any marketing or promotional disasters you’d be willing to share with us here at SVP? (We so love learning from other people’s mistakes!)

SW: Read your itinerary! I was once scheduled to do a signing in Sheffield, and I went to Springfield, driving all over the place until I'd missed the event entirely. And don't pack chocolate in your suitcase in the summer. I had 3 dozen Seattle Chocolate Truffle bars in my suitcase to give out at a sales conference. The airline lost the luggage, and by the time it was found, everything in the suitcase, including my clothes for the conference, was a hot mess.

RL: How much of your time do you spend on promotion versus writing? Has this changed over the years?

SW: It's hard to quantify on a day-to-day basis. When there's a new book out, I spend plenty of time on promotion. But when I'm deep into writing a book, everything else is pushed to the back burner and I get to it when I can. The majority of my time is still with the book. I love that! One thing that helps me is having a laptop in the TV room. I'm able to catch up on e-mail and update the blog while watching Project Runway or Prison Break.

RL: And lastly, if you had one piece of advice for fellow introverts, what would it be?

SW: Don't fight who you are. Readers want the stories you have to tell, and it's fine to stay out of the limelight. On the other hand, don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Sometimes, amazing things happen when you dare to do something bold, like give a keynote address or write a controversial blog post.

Thank you so much, Susan, for taking the time to share your great insights with us! (And didn't that last answer give you goosebumps?)

We will be giving away a signed copy of Susan's latest book, FIRESIDE, to the first person who can tell me what Susan likes to do with butter! (Hint: You can find it on her website.) Or if that's too hard, which book won her first RITA. Ready, Set, GO!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Dear Shrinking Violets-- SOS!

Robin and I received this email from one of our readers, and wanted to get right on it! (Some details have been changed to honor the writer's privacy.)

Dear Shrinking Violets,

This past weekend, I attended an SCBWI Regional Conference. I was signed up for the Writers Intensive on the first day. Aah! Toward the end of the session, we divided into groups for critiques. I’ve never read my work in front of other people other than my husband. I actually did better than I thought I would, but I totally could not breathe. I thought I was going to hyperventilate. For real! And my picture book manuscript was only 430 words for crying out loud! I also noticed that one of our workshop leaders couldn’t breathe during her presentation as well – and she even mentioned this to the group. I have no idea how to deal with this unexpected situation. Any advice would be appreciated!


Dear Breathless,

We are so glad that you wrote, and I hope you know that Violets all over are feeling your pain! I am quite certain that we've all gone through this same experience at least once. It does feel just god-awful. That, and worse!

The mind- body connection is a mighty relationship that cannot be underestimated. As the saying goes, what goes in must come out. Your body was merely expressing the information and orders you had input. It performed beautifully!  It doesn't ever-ever-ever operate randomly, even though it does feel that way at times.

And, we don't emote in a vacuum either. It all starts in that amazing space between your ears. While you may hardly have been aware, as you sat in the critique group waiting your turn, you started a running monologue. It might have sounded something like-- Oh, lord, it's almost my turn... what if they hate my work ... what if they don't get it... what if that really cool published writer over there thinks I'm pathetic ... what if . . . what if???

As fast as you input all that, your autonomic response system was gearing up for fight/flight or some kind of serious hoe-down. Your heart kicked up its busy production schedule, prepping you for whatever you needed. It pulled in the blood supply from your extremeties to ready you. But, Breathless, you didn't move! You just sat there-- gunning your motor, locked in Park. 

So to answer your question, fixing this for future reference has to start early on. Before your monologue starts. You'll need to write a brand new one-- one that is way gentler than the one you were running. If you have a hard time with that, think about what the nicest person in the whole world would say if they were sitting next to you. As in, WWJBD? (What would Judy Blume do? Gawd, she's so nice!) Or your partner or BWBFF. They might say things like-- They're gonna love you-- this piece has got something-- you'll learn something here-- everyone is probably nervous too-- your hair looks fabulous, by the way. Get the idea?

That's my take on this, Breathless-- think prevention. But, if you get to the Point of (Nearly) No Return, and you need that pound of cure and you need it QUICK-- what then? I'm going to open the floor and pass the mike to our tribe of experts. Let's hear from those of you out there. Since we know this has happened to everyone, what has worked for you?  Short of a little brown paper bag, what works?

Thanks, everyone!  

Mary Hershey

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wanted: A Few Brave Violets

Okay, so you just have to be a little brave. Honest.

Actually, for a long time Mary and I have been discussing how we can shine the spotlight on some of you out there. Our Milestone Mondays have been one way, and a few of you have stepped up and guest blogged for us here, which we greatly appreciate.

But (with a resounding duh!) we finally thought of another way; we'd like to start showcasing some of our published violets. I don't know about you, but Mary and I are curious as all get out as to what you all are up to and where you are finding success in your lives!

If you’re a violet with a published a book, email us and let us know the title. We’d like to begin featuring some of your titles in the sidebar, either on a rotating basis or in a list, depending on how many of you there are. If you have more than one book published, go ahead and send a list of titles, but make sure and indicate your most current one so we’ll know that’s the one to spotlight.

Additionally, if you would be interested in donating a copy of your most recent book for a prize in some of our upcoming contests, let us know that, too! We'll be sure and talk it up before we give it away.

Just a note here, one of the things Mary and I are absolutely committed to is making this a sight about promoting, not someplace where our readers are promoted at. This is merely a way to keep us all apprised of what other violets are doing, feed our curiosity about each other, and find small ways to get comfortable with that spotlight.

So email us with your titles. Don't be shy, now!

Monday, January 19, 2009

An Asteroid Named Lynne Cox

Lynne Cox is a long-distance open-water swimmer and writer. At age 15, she and her teammates were the first group of teenagers to complete the crossing of the Catalina Island Channel in California. (Funnily enough, she was always the slowest swimmer in her swim classes. Love that!) She has twice held the record for the fastest crossing (men or women) of the English Channel. In 1975, Lynne became the first woman to swim the Cook Strait in New Zealand. In 1976, she was the first to swim the Straits of Magellan in Chile, and the first to swim around the Cape Point in South Africa, where she had to contend with the risk of meeting sharks, jellyfish, and sea snakes.

Lynne is perhaps best known for swimming the Bering Strait from the island of Little Diomede in Alaska to Big Diomede, then part of the Soviet Union, where the water temperature averaged around 4°C (40°F). Her accomplishment eased Cold War tensions as Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev both praised her success.

Lynne swam more than a mile in the freezing waters of Antarctica.
Although hypothermia would afflict most humans within five minutes, she was in the water for 25 minutes, swimming 1.06 miles. Her first book, Swimming to Antarctica, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2004.

She was inducted into the Swimming Hall of Fame in 2000, and was named Woman of the Year by Glamour magazine. In 2004, Sports Illustrated listed her book in their Top Ten Books.

Her second book, the bestselling Grayson, a true account of her encounter with a lost baby gray whale during an early morning workout off the coast of California, was published in 2006.Kirkus described her book as "An inspirational, almost spiritual read." Jane Goodall called Lynne "... a master of story telling" and "a powerful voice for conservation.”

Lynne Cox has been my personal hero for years and I had the great fortune to hear her speak last year at UCSB. I also was able to temporarily slay my shyness (read catatonic state) to introduce myself. And, did NOT lose my cookies all over her shoes like I worried I might. Having the chance to interview Lynne here at Shrinking Violets will forever remain a true highlight of 2009.

MH: I'd like to ask you a couple of questions about introversion and a few about book promotions. In the Jungian definition, Introverts gather energy from within themselves vs. extraverts who gather energy from other people. Given that definition and your choice of sport, I'm starting with the assumption that you have a lot of common to introverts. :-)

Would you call yourself an introvert using the Jungian definition? Do you find swimming a place to go inside yourself and recharge?

LC: I think I'm really both introverted and extroverted if that's possible to be both. Yes, you're right, swimming is my meditative place where I can go inside myself and think about what I'm writing about. It is a think tank for me where I do a lot of my musing. But I like to be around people when I'm out of the water, to learn from them, to hear about their life experiences, and to think about them and their experiences when I'm in the water.

MH: How do you recharge when you are away from swimming?

LC: When I'm not swimming, I find other ways of exercising the mind and the body at the same time :) I go to the gym, go on hikes, kayak with a friend, and space out a lot.

MH: What mode of promotion do you most enjoy? Signings? Speeches? Teaching? Limo rides to swanky hotels? (Smile) Other?

LC: Actually I enjoy it all because I realize that I've been given the opportunity to meet people who are reading my work who are touched by it in one way or another. I love getting a chance to meet these readers at the signings and because of the nature of the books I write, I have a huge range of age groups represented. From what I've discovered from talking with them, they all have a real zest and wonder about life. The speeches are great because I have the opportunity to inspire, inform, and make people smile. The teaching comes out through all of it, although sometimes I get asked really intense questions and it's hard to come up with a really helpful answer right there on the spot. The Limo rides are fun, and actually so helpful because when you're on the book or lecture tour you're really focused on what you're going to say, and it's hard to find your way around a new city, especially if you've been traveling a lot and are sleep deprived.

MH: Conversely, which is the hardest for you?

LC: The hardest part is being tired after a long tour and not wanting that to come across to people because have taken time out of their day, their lives, to come and see you. And when you're on tour the schedule is so varied that there is little time to be a lone to think or gear down. Not having alone time makes it tough.

MH: Finish this sentence: The most embarrassing thing that ever happened to me while promoting my book was . . .

LC: Someone asked me how I recovered the thermo pill after my swim across the Bering Strait. I told him what the doctor/research physiologist told me,"a plastic bag will work nicely."

MH: Is there anything that you've been asked by your editor/agent/publicist to do to promote your books that you just can't bring yourself to do?

LC: No. I feel like we are really part of a team and my editor, agent, and publicist are completely there for me. I know that we're all doing our best. If something happens that I don't understand, I just ask, and then I understand and we move forward.

MH: You clearly are a woman that does not shy away from a challenge. Any advice that you can give us about how you have learned to pursue your goals even when you might be afraid?

LC: I just learned this this weekend from Sarah Andrews, a best selling writer and famous geologist that if you don't ask for something, you are guaranteed a "no". The implication is that if you ask, if you try, you might get a yes, you might achieve what you set out to do.

MH: What is your promotion/production ratio? How much time do you spend promoting vs. writing. Does that work for you? Or, is your promotion schedule more demanding than you would like it to be?

LC: My work and promotional time is pretty null. Right now for instance, I'm working on the next book, and in the midst of that, I am giving speeches, doing some book signings, and attending some special events. The challenge is to go from that fast pace and switch to becoming the introvert again and writing.

MH: Is there a work in progress that you'd like to tell us about? Swimming or writing?

LC: I have my first children's book that will be published by Random House that will come out in 2011, and I am working on a larger adult book now but I'm still in the middle of telling the story, so I need to write it before I can talk about it.

MH: You have been such an inspiration to me for years now, Lynne. Who inspires you? Or, which introvert, living or not-so-much, would you most like to have dinner with?

LC: Thank you Mary. It's so cool that I've inspired you. There are so many people who inspire me: parents, siblings, friends, teachers, coaches, people I meet on the air plane, people I've met in the military, fire department, people who serve: nurses, doctors, and so many others. What has always inspired me beyond that are people who explore and put themselves way out there to discover something new about the world and themselves.

The asteroid 37588 Lynne Cox was named in her honor.

* * *

In honor of Lynne's interview with us today, you can win a copy of either Swimming to Antartica or Grayson by being the first person to answer this question about Lynne correctly:What color is the wetsuit that she uses to complete her ocean swims? Best of luck!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

fAiRy gOdSisTeRs, iNk 2nd Annual SCBWI Summer Conference Scholarship!

fAiRy gOdSisTeRs, iNk announces its 2nd Annual SCBWI Summer Conference Scholarship!

FGI is offering a $1500 scholarship for a SCBWI member to attend the August 2009 conference in Los Angeles. The 2008 scholarship to Linda Lodding of the Netherlands.

To apply for the 2009 scholarship, submit a 250-word, double-spaced essay describing what you hope to accomplish by attending this year's summer conference. Send your essay to:

The application deadline is April 15th, 2009. The winner will be notified May 15th, 2009.

fAiRy gOdSiStErS, iNk. is a small, benevolent squadron of Santa Barbara children's book authors who believe in the magic of passing forward lucky breaks, bounty, and beneficence, as so many have done for us. We are: Thalia Chaltas, Mary Hershey, Valerie Hobbs, Robin LaFevers and Lee Wardlaw.

If you would like to share some fairy dust of your own to help send a writer to the 2009 Summer Conference, FGI welcomes your donations!

For more information about the grant and/or making a donation, please visit the FGI website (which will be up and running any day now! We promise!) at

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Publicist Interview: Jennifer Taber of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

One of the many incredibly wonderful things about working with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (besides having found the perfect editor) was discovering that I also got to work with a Real Live Publicist--Jennnifer Taber! And, lo and behold, she was the perfect publicist! A marketing and promotional dream come true; smart, savvy, unbelievably nice (not to mention adorable!) and a publicity goddess.

In keeping with her goddess-ness, Jenn has agreed to answer a few questions for our SVP readers. Read on, violets, and find some answers to your questions as well as solid strategies for publicity and marketing success. . .

1. At what point in the acquisition/editing process does the publisher's marketing plan begin to come together. What general factors determine this

We try to start crunching ideas and formulating long term plans right after learning about the new season's titles from our editorial team, or even right after acquisition. In November, we're in solid preparations for our Spring 2009 books, and starting to think critically about plans for our Fall 2009 books. These plans are honed as the book moves into it's final stages, and we like to have a firm plan in place well before release date.

Some important factors are:
-The author's availability and track record: Are they willing to do school or store events, run a blog, attend conferences, etc.? What kind of attention have previous books received?
-Is there an obvious publicity angle that could help the book?: A connection to a community, a holiday, an historic event, or a public figure that can utilized?
-Is this kind of title that would benefit from marketing material?: A bookmark, a poster, a reader's guide, etc...

2. What are some of the biggest marketing mistakes you've seen authors make?

I think it's very important that authors have a realistic expectation for what can be done for and with their books. Authors can do themselves a great service by educating themselves about the current state of publishing and by communicating with their publicist about plans and goals. It is always smart for an author to be willing to do some work themselves: working personal connections, suggesting outlets that are a good fit for your title, letting your publisher know about any travel you have planned so we can build off of that with events, keeping a book-focused blog, etc. Remember that a publicist at any given time is balancing the needs of many titles, but your book is your pet project. You can bring an enthusiasm and energy to the promotion that no one else can.

3. What are the three most things for an author to focus on promotion-wise?

(I'll repeat myself a lot here, but):

(a) Communicate with your publicist: Make sure he or she knows exactly how much effort you are willing to put into the promotion. Share contacts that might be of use. Ask questions if there's something you don't understand. Communicate your expectations to your publicist so that you can both be on the same page. Be your own biggest advocate: Again, your book is more important to you than to anyone else, so be invested in its success. Ask your publicist if it's okay to set-up your own events, talk to your local schools about visits, or tack on an event to some personal travel. If you have the interest and time, start a website or a blog! It's a great, creative way to get your name and your book out there. Your publicist will have lots of good ideas to help you.

(b) Know your audience: if you are writing a YA novel, it might make sense to create a Facebook or MySpace page. For younger books, this probably won't be as helpful. If you get fan mail, try to reply, especially to elementary and middle-school students - it means a lot to them!

(c) Inform yourself: Pay attention to emerging trends in the marketplace. Read the trade publications for ideas and articles about what's working and what's not.

4. How big a plus is the ability to speak well in public? Are there authors who have successful careers who never master this skill?

An author who is also a dynamic public speaker is always a win-win. That skill can lead to opportunities to do school events (which often pay the author's travel expenses as well as an honorarium), conferences (which offer great networking opportunities), and of course, successful store events.

There are a lot of authors who never get comfortable with public speaking, and that's okay too. It's important for each author to figure out where there strength lies and to use that. If you hate being the center of attention and can't bear the thought of store events or school assemblies, focus your efforts on developing a great website where you can interact with fans and where your voice can come through without such a literal spotlight. Maybe you and your publicist will decide to put a lot of effort into radio interviews, blogging, etc. The ability to speak well in public and engage a crowd is not a necessary skill, but an asset. I do think it's a skill that can be developed over time, and if you feel in any way motivated to work on it, you should. Some publishing houses will offer an author media training, if the book has the potential to garner major media attention, and TV interviews and big speaking opportunities are likely.

5. What promotional or marketing activities would authors be surprised to learn don't have as much impact on the book buying public as they might

Touring! Not only are many houses cutting down on author touring due to their extremely high cost, but we're finding that it's just not as effective as it used to be. It is increasingly hard to gather a good crowd for a book event in any given town because there are so many entertainment options for the public today. A lot of publishers are taking advantage of some great technological advances to replace the effects of touring. We can create highly stylized podcasts that we can post on iTunes that feature an author reading from their book or discussing their work, so that a big fan anywhere in the country can have that author experience. There are video blogs, ichats, and author websites which all grant the public access to an author. Houses will always tour their celebrity and best-selling authors, because they can command a crowd, but I think it's becoming a more and more antiquated practice for your average, mid-list author.

Touring is not the glamorous experience that many authors think it is, either. It's a very draining, very tightly-scheduled, very tough endeavor, and no matter how much planning goes into each event, there is always the possibility that the crowds won't come.


Jenn, thank you so much for answering our questions! There is a ton of helpful info in there, and quite a bit of it comforting to introverts!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

You've Got Our Ear!

Dear Vi's and Vins,

I swear that this will be the only cute kitten picture that I will subject you to in 2009.  On my honor! :-)  But I really needed a big ear, and this one just fit the bill.

Robin and I are so looking forward to getting together after our recent long separation (sob!), and among other vital catch-up items, we will be talking about you.  We want to make sure that we address topics and issues that are important to you in this coming year at Shrinking Violets. While we both are mighty intuitive beings, seems wisest to just ask.  

So, without further ado--

What are some topics that you'd like to see covered during 2009?

Are their any introverted authors/illustrators, or folks in the biz, that you would like to see interviewed and/or profiled?  (And if you have any connections to those said parties, do let us know!)

Any suggestions for us of other features that you'd like to see here in this space?  We are open to your ideas.  Please share!

While you are percolating, I'll leave you with this from someone I hope to interview for SVP here this year-- author Anneli Rufus. This is a clip from her Salon Mag interview she did talking about her book, Party of One: The Loner's Manifesto. Glorious, gorgeous stuff. 

We are the ones who know how to entertain ourselves. How to learn without taking a class. How to contemplate and how to create. Loners, by virtue of being loners, of celebrating the state of standing alone, have an innate advantage when it comes to being brave -- like pioneers, like mountain men, iconoclasts, rebels and sole survivors. Loners have an advantage when faced with the unknown, the never-done-before and the unprecedented. An advantage when it comes to being mindful like the Buddhists, spontaneous like the Taoists, crucibles of concentrated prayer like the desert saints, esoteric like the Kabbalists. Loners, by virtue of being loners, have at their fingertips the undiscovered, the unique, the rarefied. Innate advantages when it comes to imagination, concentration, inner discipline. A knack for invention, originality, for finding resources in what others would call vacuums. A knack for visions.

A talent for seldom being bored. Desert islands are fine but not required. We are the ones who would rather see films than talk about them. Would rather write plays than act in them. Rather walk Angkor Wat and Portobello Road alone. Rather run cross-country than in a relay race, rather surf than play volleyball. Rather cruise museums alone than with someone who lingers over early bronzes and tells us why we should adore Frida Kahlo.

Peace to you each in this New Year,
Mary & Robin

Monday, January 5, 2009

Predicting Success

Welcome back, Violets!!

Who doesn't want to be able to predict success in 2009? However, if creative success were predictable, then surely all those movies made for a bazillion dollars, all those songs and albums produced with great fanfare, and all those seven figure publishing deals would be an automatic success. After all, studios and publishers have had other successes; surely all they have to do is replicate those exact steps to achieve another success, right?

Uh, not so much. It turns out that creative success is a very elusive beast, and that it often has less to do with quality and more to do with reaching a certain tipping point in terms of generating buzz and getting talked about. And luckily for all of us who are trying to get a grip on the whole publishing success thing, Duncan Watts, a professor of sociology at Columbia University, has written a must-read article on this very subject.

In a nutshell, he and his researchers finally designed a way to measure and quantify creative success. They created nine music download sites and made eight of them “social influence” sites, where visitors could see and rate their choices and other visitors could in turn see and rate their choices. They left one site completely blind, where everyone who visited simply downloaded the music they liked best and never communicated that to anyone else who visited the site.

His findings were eye-opening. Using the “blind” site as a control, they determined song quality by how many people agreed independently of each other that a song was good. But when they looked at the socially influenced sites, they found that these “good” songs were sometimes in the top ten, but just as often were in the bottom ten; that in fact, their perception of how good they were was heavily influenced by what others on the site thought of the song.

“...if one object happens to be slightly more popular than another at just the right point, it will tend to become more popular still. As a result, even tiny, random fluctuations can blow up, generating potentially enormous long-run differences among even indistinguishable competitors — a phenomenon that is similar in some ways to the famous “butterfly effect” from chaos theory.”
In fact, the results of his study were astounding:
"Overall, a song in the Top 5 in terms of quality had only a 50 percent chance of finishing in the Top 5 of success."
And you know that every editor that’s ever bought a book for seven figures and had it flop went “Aha! So that’s what happened!”

To me, this goes a long way in explaining the vagaries of publishing success: how books that felt like a sure thing in terms of quality ended up not catching on in the way the publishing team expected it to. Or conversely, why books come out of seemingly nowhere and achieve a level of success that astounds everyone involved.

"Our desire to believe in an orderly universe leads us to interpret the uncertainty we feel about the future as nothing but a consequence of our current state of ignorance...."
when in fact, it is the randomness of the universe itself that is the root of the problem, not our ignorance.

I actually take comfort in these findings, because the universe IS a random place, and random can work in our favor as well as against it. It also helps me keep marketing and promotion efforts in perspective. All the marketing and promotion in the world won’t gurantee success; it’s a much more mysterious alchemy involving some elusive Other element that no one has yet to successfully bottle—that of catching on at just the right moment. Something no one, not me, not my publicist, has any control over.

Which is why doing what one comfortably can to market and promote their own work, then let it go, is a sensible approach. The truth is--as supported by this study--I can spend a way too many dollars and every minute of my time and still not achieve the success level I'm looking for. Better instead, to launch this project with all the marketing and PR support I can reasonably give it, then turn my attention to my next project. And of course, reasonable will mean different things to different people.

Be sure and tune in next Monday--in our effort to help educate you on reasonable marketing efforts, we will be having an interview with another Real Live Publicist! Don't miss it!

And, this just in! Mary has two openings left in her upcoming twelve week group coaching program entitled Rigormortis Interruptus: Life-Saving Skills for Your Creative Life.
The group is limited to eight participants and promises to get you unstuck, unmuddled and moving, moving, moving toward your writing/publishing goals. The program takes place on-line and via tele-conference, so geography is not an issue. (Perfect for introverts!)  Mary holds a graduate degree in Counseling & Guidance and is a certified coach. For more info, hop on over to her coaching website
If you are ready to make 2009 your defining year, this  program is for you! First come, first serve.

Talk about planning for success!