One of my major weaknesses is taking criticism. In my journey with Unbroken I had to learn to accept criticism - and grow from it. When I first began to publish my book, I knew there were flaws. How could there not be? I was a first-time author and publishing novice.
Going in to the process, I had to steel myself against criticism, constructive or otherwise. I wanted this book published. I wanted my poems out there for people to read and enjoy. And in order for that to happen, I had to learn to accept criticism. I had been preparing myself for this every since I decided to publish Unbroken. Now I just had to put it into action.
But a wonderful surprise awaited me when I got an overwhelming number of positive reviews. I got mostly 4 or 5 stars for each review and some lovely comments as well. This is a brand new lesson for me - sometimes it's okay to expect the positive as well as the negative.
As a first-time author in these uncertain times it is difficult to find a way to get your book noticed and purchased. I have been lucky to be guided thus far by the fabulous team at Friesen Press who have given me some wonderful suggestions as to how to get noticed and things to do to really showcase my brand. One of those things are the use of hashtags. I did not grown up with hashtags - to me they were a number sign or the beginnings of a tic-tac-toe game. Little did I know that they would become an integral part of me getting my name and book out there and noticed.
Hashtags don't have to be fancy or intricate. They could be as simple as #poetry. It seems almost silly that I didn't want to bother with them, or were too lazy to put them in. It takes about two minutes out of your day to add some hashtags to your post A site like Instagram make it tremendously easy to add hashtags and suddenly people are finding your work. Instant improvement. I guess we learn something new every day.
A couple of weeks ago I ordered some Unbroken bookmarks as not only a promotional tool, but also a special extra thank you for those who purchased/are purchasing my book. The publishing specialist I spoke with told me that I could expect the bookmarks in 2-3 weeks but because of what is going on in the world it might take longer. I was not expecting them to arrive any time soon but here they are! And they look awesome! One side of the bookmark shows the name of the book and my name. The other side shows the book cover and some information as to how to get in touch with me via email and this website. There are 250 bookmarks. What will I do with them?
As I mentioned before, it is not merely a promotional tool, although that is its main function. I hope to use them as a thank- you for book book readings, an extra incentive for those who purchase directly from me and anything else I can think of. I can always use them for my next book as well. If you have any other ideas for them during this time please leave a comment. If I use your idea, I will send you a couple of bookmarks. What more could you ask for??
Here in Ontario, Canada we have been moved to phase 2 in the pandemic call to action. This means that the stores are opening, the malls are opening, etc. Granted, there are only a certain number of customers allowed in a particular store at one time. But it's a start. It's an important start for someone like me who has been waiting for customers to see my book in the stores and possibly be interest in purchasing a copy. You see, I believe in this book. So far my book has been reviewed my no less than 10 people and has not received below 3.7/5. I just need my book to fall in the right hands to get the ball rolling.
If I have learned one lesson from the writing and publishing of this book it is: believe in yourself. I know my book has the potential to affect lives and heal where only hurt was once before. Question: what about a book makes you want to buy it? A fancy cover? Great reviews? Or maybe that one poem you just happen to turn to that resonates so strongly with you, you can't help but purchase the book?
I have exciting news - I just purchased some "merch" for my book. Well, it's not so much "merch" as it is a marketing tool but "merch" sounds cool and makes me feel about 25 years younger than I am. It is literally in the beginning process of sending them to the printer, etc., but I promise I will show a pic of them when I actually have them to show.
Next question: who needs 250 bookmarks? Well, as I see it these babies will be going faster than I even realize. I plan on a few uses for them, namely giving them out with my book when I sell it on a person-to-person basis. I also hope to give them out as prizes for silly little games once my live stream picks up. I can also use them at book readings to come once things return to normal (or normal-ish) at libraries and bookstores. And - here's the best part - I can even use them in the future while promoting my next book. I have thought this all out. I guess I have more time on my hands than I realized. Better get back to writing. Stay safe, peeps.