Monday, November 10, 2014

Never Put Off Until Tomorrow...

by Shannon Baker

I had a colonoscopy this week.

The only remarkable thing about it was how totally unremarkable it was. Sure, I got a little hungry. And I had a kind of queasy hour or so before I got into the flow, but in the grand scheme of things, it was much less painful than sitting through August in Osage County.

And yet, if you swept all the annoyance at being harassed by my health care providers, the dread of having to do it, the effort of putting it off, the bone-deep belief that the test would reveal nothing but the cutest colon, and the nagging of caring friends, you’d see a pile of negativeness far larger and lumpier than the mild inconvenience of the actual procedure.
Which brings me to marketing. As it would.
Much like my conviction that the colonoscopy would be torture, I’ve convinced myself that marketing is the Devil. It takes time. That’s time I could be writing. It’s mysterious and often times ineffective. Yet, everyone agrees you have to do something.
No one knows what magic cocktail of direct mail, personal appearances, blog tours, paid advertising, and giveaways will net that intoxicating high of sales. Unless, of course, you crack the BookBub code and then you can retire on royalties.
I’ve handled marketing in about the same dysfunctional manner as going in for the colonoscopy. I’ve denied the need to do it. I’ve avoided it at all costs. I’ve skirted around it and touched on it half-heartedly, sort of like going in for yearly checkups but not making the total commitment.
I made lists of books stores to contact or reviewers to query. And put off calling because *whine* cold calling is scary. So instead of doing, I procrastinated and worried, then I climbed on the I Suck Train for not doing what I should have done.
Well, kids, this is where I get off. A few months ago a friend, Master Marketer Julie Kazimer, convinced me I need to do it. Much like the impending retirement of my patron (husband) nudged me into getting the colonoscopy while it was still covered by insurance, I realized the time has come for me to jump into the marketing fray.
So I did. I started making lists and then forcing myself to make the calls and write the emails and follow up.  Here’s what I discovered:
Just as the unremarkableness of the colonoscopy, setting up book signings and arranging a blog tour is not that big of a deal. Sure, it takes some time. But it’s not like someone is bludgeoning me with a fence post.  There is surprisingly little physical pain involved in phone calls and emails.
Book signing that didn’t hurt. With William Kent Krueger and Sean Dolittle

I’ve even forced myself to teach a few workshops and do some public speaking. And there was absolutely no prescription pain medication involved. Although I might or might not have self-medicated after the fact, in a purely congratulatory fashion.
As Granddad used to say, (sure, someone else made it famous but Granddad did say it a lot so I’m going with possession being 9/10ths and all that)  “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”  
It might sell a book or two and it keeps you off that Crazy Train.

1 comment:

Tracy Weber said...

You go, girl! I'd much rather do cold calls than get a colonoscopy, though neither seems very darned pleasant.