Archive of ‘Book’ category

God is my Publicist

During a marketing meeting with my publishing company last week, it was explained to me that in order for my book to “make it”, I would need to hire a publicist. This costs in the range of $15-20,000. They explained to me that famous people don’t get publicists, regular people get publicists and then become famous. 😲
As I flipped through the news online this morning, I saw a flash of Kim Kardashian in some sort of plastic dress, eating an ice cream cone while her husband patted her behind. “Oh,” I thought. “They stage all of this. Every last minute, don’t they? Literally none of this is real…I’m so naive.”
📚Now, I’m not sure how book publicists work and how many appearances in plastic dresses they’ll suggest I make for the good of sales, but I do know that unless this book sells a whole lot of copies, I don’t have the money to pay a publicist. And without a publicist, it’s next-to-impossible to sell a whole lot of copies.
🐔Chicken.
🥚Egg.
Publishing is a massively subjective field. The manuscripts that get pushed to the top of the pile are almost all thanks in part to someone having a good day. New York Times best sellers lists are, in some part, written based on book sales, but also written based on who is writing the list that week. (Seriously.) Amazon rankings are due in part to reviews, and authors often manufacture good reviews to shoot their books to the top.
What I’m saying is…there is no good and wholesome way to go about selling a book that I have found so far.
As I wrote out my plan to get my book in front of as many people as possible without paying a publicist this morning, I heard this phrase in my head – God is my publicist.
Holy crap. (Pun intended.)
🙌God is my publicist.
Whatever happens, wherever the book goes, whatever it is, I will do everything humanly possible here on Earth to see it through. But in the end, no matter who I hire, God is my publicist.
And we’re breathing…
P.S. Can I borrow $20k?

No More Excuses

If you didn’t read last night’s blog, might I suggest you click here and read it…

I didn’t look over the email from Trina. I avoided it like the plague. Publishing my book now was too much, too fast. Unfortunately, though, I forgot to program Trina’s number into my phone, so when she called again a few days later, I accidentally picked up…

“Erin? Hey, It’s Trina! Did you get a chance to go over that email?”
“Yeah, hey Trina! I did!”

I hadn’t. I lied.

“Great! Are you ready to do this?”
“Welp, here’s the thing, Trina…” Somewhere between my fear and being completely uninformed (because I hadn’t read the email), I decided it would be a good idea to get really bitchy. “I understand you say you ‘want my book’, but I also understand you want me to pay to publish it. The whole point of the authors’ workshop was the opportunity to be given an advance and be PAID to write and publish my book. It’s feeling very sinister the fact that I paid all this money to go to a workshop and now you’re calling me and asking me for more money.”
It was quiet for almost 5 minutes, or possibly 7 seconds, before Trina replied…
“Listen, Erin. I’m from New York. You want me to shoot straight? I’ll shoot straight. If you send your book proposal to a publisher, it’ll get thrown away. If an agent sends your book to a publisher, you’ve got a 1 in 3,000 shot of getting published and a 1 in 1,000 of even landing that agent in the first place….
The writers’ workshop participants have the option to participate in a contest to get published without an agent. There were 300 people in the workshop. A third of them will actually finish their book proposals. So that’s a 1 in 100 shot next April, after which it will take 2 years before your book is even available and you have no creative control of any of it.
Publishing your own book through Hay House means we’ll edit and design your book the way you envisioned it. It means you own the rights forever and it means you get to decide when to publish. And, as you read in my email, I’m offering you a huge discount because I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I know a Hay House book when I see one.”

Oh. Super-should have read that email.

“The book isn’t ready yet, Trina,” I said.
“That’s fine. But I’m not offering you this discount forever. If you wait until the contest in April and you aren’t chosen, I’m not offering you a discount to publish then. I’m offering it now. And if you win the contest in April? Then that’s just a cherry on top. You can still go that route because you still own your book.”

For those of you who don’t know, I used to work in the publishing world. I used to TELL people those stats and figures. I used to explain to them why it’s so important they own the rights to their books and how publishing on your own doesn’t mean selling your books out of your car. The irony is that I already knew everything Trina told me. Maybe I forgot. Maybe I didn’t want to know it. Maybe I was terrified that it’s finally time to apply everything I know.

Trina interrupted my train of thought. “Erin, I’m going to get your book into every book retailer in the world. I’m going to have press releases sent to over 70 outlets when your book is ready. I’m going to get you on radio shows and TV shows and while I can’t guarantee any of this will make a difference in your life, it sure could. Why don’t you take the weekend to think about it and I’ll call you on Monday?”
“Ok, Trina. Thanks.”

I hung up the phone feeling really stupid.

I’ve prayed to finish my book, get it published, and speak on the topics therein. I’ve prayed for years that my writing would finally be my job. The chance for all that to happen was just on the phone and I couldn’t possibly believe that it was really meant for me.

The weekend came and went really quickly and my anxiety chilled out quite a bit, especially once I finally read Trina’s email. She was offering me a really huge opportunity…she wasn’t lying. Bear, of course, said do it. “Do it!” he said. “Let’s do this! You were born for this!” Isn’t it funny how we can pray and pray for something, and when the path eventually reveals itself, we don’t immediately jump on it and run?! We’ve lived in the “it’ll never happen” for so long that it’s hard to believe it when it actually does.

That Monday morning, I called Trina before she could call me. In her fact-based tone, with a twinkle of a smile, she asked, “Erin? You ready to do this?”
“Yeah, Trina. I’m ready.”

On Tuesday I signed the contract. And on Wednesday I started writing my book again. A book I hope to have completed by the end of the year. I am officially an author with a publishing contract and a book about to be born. I’m pregnant, kinda.

I’ve been writing this blog for almost 10 years under various domain names. I’ve been writing since I was 15. I absolutely love nothing more than to sit down with a pen and paper or a laptop and write. I want it to be my work. I want it to be my career. And I want it to change my life the way I know it can.

I think it might be starting right now…

 

Excuses. And a phone call.

A little over a year ago, I got really tired of my own excuses. I decided to move. Literally.
I signed up for a HIIT gym membership and started attending 3-5 days per week. And within about 6 months, I felt great. BUT, my leg (the one I broke in 2014) started giving me trouble. So I told my trainers, “My leg is really bothering me.”
I posted on FB about it.
I went to see numerous doctors.
It was almost 3 months before I realized that my leg was the perfect opportunity for me to pick up my habit of excuse-making.

And it is a habit.

Once I started making excuses for my leg, other things got their very own excuses, too.
I can’t write a blog today because XYZ.
I can’t go out Saturday night because XYZ.
I can’t work on my book because XYZ.
They’re infectious little suckers…

So I stopped again. It’s not like my leg suddenly didn’t hurt anymore and I could do box jumps all day. It’s that I stopped speaking my excuses. If I couldn’t do a movement, I modified or I tried to do something else. My leg still hurts. It’s just not a conversation piece in my head as much anymore. No more excuses.

***

I was offered the opportunity to go to a Hay House Writers Conference (Hay House is a publisher) at the beginning of the summer, 2017. The conference was $450, which to me is a big chunk of change. My excuse habit came back in full force. $450 was too much money and I couldn’t afford it.
That’s when I was reminded I have a husband who busts excuses for a living, it seems.
“You’re going,” Bear said.

Oh. Ok.

I put the conference on my credit card and paid it off before the day even arrived (because the money was never really an excuse). And when the day did arrive, it was magical. I was reminded of how strongly I felt about finishing the book I started writing in 2012. It lit a fire.

I’m going to publish my book.

A traditional publishing contract was up for grabs to all 300 writers who attended the conference and all I had to do was write a book proposal (the worst book report in the world) to enter. And I was going to enter. And I was going to WIN!
I got home from the conference and started getting my ducks in a row to enter the contest…when I got a phone call.
From Hay House publishing.


I didn’t know it was from Hay House publishing, though, and so I didn’t answer it. When I checked the message, the woman on the other end said, “Hey Erin! This is Trina from Hay House! I know you were at the Writers Conference and I know you’ve already got a book written. I want to hear a little bit about it and talk to you about your options.”
I didn’t call her back. Because excuses.
I don’t have the book COMPLETELY finished.
She’s probably calling everyone, I’m not special.
I’m definitely not ready to talk about “options.”
But the next day, the Nag Monster in my head wouldn’t leave me alone. I finally called her back. She didn’t answer…
I left a message:
“Hey Trina, it’s Erin Salem. I just wanted to call you back and tell you thank you for calling. I am very excited to enter the contest for a traditional Hay House publishing contract and I think I’m going to win it, so the next time we speak I will be on my way! Thanks again, Erin.”
Who says any of that?

About 5 minutes later, my phone rang again…
What is she calling to thank me for thanking her?!

“Hey Erin, it’s Trina!!”
Trina and I went on to talk for about 10 minutes. I shared my book topic with her and…she liked it. Like, really liked it. She told me she thought I would be a great fit for Hay House. I agreed but I couldn’t really understand what she was getting at.
“Listen, Erin, I work with the authors who publish their own books through Hay House. These are the people who already have a voice and want creative control over their work. Do you know most traditionally published Hay House authors started off by publishing their own books?”
“No, I didn’t know that…”
“Yeah! And you would be shocked what we can do for our self-published authors. I just got off the phone with a guy whose book is being turned into a screenplay!”
“Ok, but, I don’t have a platform or an audience. It’s just me.”
“That’s why you publish THROUGH us, Erin. We send you out all over the world with the Hay House name! We want you to do this. We think this makes more sense for you and we want your book. I’m going to send you some options and I want you to seriously consider taking the steps to publish now instead of waiting to find out if you win a contract next year.”
“Wait. Why? Why me, Trina? I don’t get it. I don’t understand why you’re calling me.”
“Because you’re ready, sweetie. You have the book, you have the voice, you have the ability, and you’ve got a story that we want to sell.”

I told Trina I felt like she was trying to sell me something. I told her I didn’t feel ready and I didn’t know why she felt like I was ready. I told Trina this wasn’t the path for me.
Trina is very smart and told me to just think about it, look over the email she was sending to me, and that she’d call me later in the week.

My excuses were as follows:
They didn’t choose me, they just think I can make them money.
I have no audience so this will never work.
My book isn’t even finished.
I’m not ready to finish it.
I don’t know how to finish it.
I’m too busy for this right now.

I didn’t look over the email from Trina. I avoided it like the plague. Publishing my book now was too much, too fast. Unfortunately, though, I forgot to program Trina’s number into my phone, so when she called again a few days later, I accidentally picked up…