The book is finished, but I am quickly discovering that the lion’s share of the work has really just begun. Sitting here today, I can fully admit how wrong I was in assuming that the actual writing, editing and getting the book published would be the hardest part.
Honestly, I really thought the hard part was over and once I sent the book to print I would be able to sit back and just enjoy my accomplishment. Nope. While I am enjoying the feeling that reaching my goal of publishing my story has brought, I am receiving a crash course in managing the details, process and feelings that are part and parcel to marketing and selling books.
I have read just about everything I could find about the steps that authors need to take to get their book properly marketed. Invariably, those same sources always included a reminder to aspiring writers of the likelihood that most books do not sell very many copies, if any, aside from friends and family. Not exactly the most encouraging information for someone like me who is not a writer by profession. Fortunately for me, I love a challenge. I am also happy to report that I have sold many books through pre order already and already feel like I have succeeded in what I set out to do three years ago.
From the beginning, my goal was to fill in the information void when I came out later in life. I am a researcher, and during the late in life coming out process I did not find much that helped me to understand what I was feeling, thinking, or experiencing. I desperately wanted evidence supporting the idea that I was not alone, or a freak, or crazy because I did not know this about myself until I was almost forty years old. I found a few books that were brief stories about women who came out. Literally two or three page essays. It was not enough.
I wanted to know how their families reacted, how their kids coped with the change, and how they managed to move through the hell that resulted from coming out. I guess I wished I could have been a fly on the wall in those women’s homes so that I could prepare myself for what was to come. This void was my motivation. There have been more than a few days I have questioned my sanity for sharing the details of my very personal experience with the world.
I came to the conclusion that it was worth it if my story could help just one woman not feel like I did in the beginning. I have come a long way since those early days, but there is still lingering fall out from this change in my life. Today I happened to see a blog titled 8 Things Later in Life Lesbian Want You to Know. I found myself nodding my head the entire read. It is definitely worth a look. Seeing this inspired me to keep on keeping on.
Which brings me back to marketing. I did not create a fictional tale of coming out later in life. This is a memoir. I realized that I am not only marketing a book, but myself. My story cannot be promoted by anyone other than me. Minor oversight. Those who know me know that I like being behind the scenes. I am more comfortable sitting behind the computer typing than I am out in front of crowds. I can do it, I just prefer doing things on my own and usually out of the spotlight.
With the arrival of the first prints about a week away, my wife reminded me that I needed to plan a book signing. Ugh. Ok. It is an event, which I have planned for others many times. This is my event. Ugh again. Thankfully she has been gently nudging me along and reminding me that there are details that need to be ironed out and that I need to stretch beyond my comfort zone so that I can grow. “Suck it up buttercup” in full force.
She is a detail person, which I am beyond grateful for especially now. We have an official date, a venue booked, entertainment booked, and she is just getting started. Music, food, video, photography, décor, clothes shopping, and whatever else she can come up with in order to make this event special for me is still on the to do list. This event is meant to help sell and market my book, but for her it is also a celebration of my accomplishing my goal and our decision to be authentic and fearless. Even if I do not sell a single copy, she is my biggest fan.
As the marketing machine rolls forward, I am getting excited despite any hesitation or fear about putting myself out there. Pun intended. I am reminded that even though I may have moments of fear, I have chosen to be fearless and to do whatever I can to make sure that I am as successful as I choose to be. This is the choice we all have, regardless of the circumstance or situation. Being fearless is less frightening than making the choice to run away from challenges or experience feeling of regret in our lives.
One reminder to everyone, if you are interested in preordering a signed copy of Switching Teams, you can do so on my Buy the Book page. Also, if you would like to share your story of coming out later in life, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love hearing from all of the amazing women who have shared in this similar experience!