So I was sitting in a Czech bistro in Springfield, Oregon. Yes, I said “Czech”. Yes, I said Springfield, Oregon. Springfield doesn’t immediately come to mind when you think of ethnic bistros.
Nevertheless, I was there, with sixties rock playing, nursing a latte and two kolaches–pastries with filling. In my case, raspberry filling and mandarin orange filling. I had my second radio interview under my belt and I was at the bistro for a book signing. I’m learning so much with every passing day.
My first radio interview was over the phone with a small station in Enterprise, Oregon. Today’s interview was in person at a station in Eugene, Oregon, population 160,000, market reach 600,000. Each one was a learning experience. The interview I had today had me a little unnerved because I was on air, live. Such an experience keeps you on your toes and you’re so very aware of what you’re saying that you find yourself making mistakes. Although, articulate alderman that I am, I just cruised!
But I learned that I need to enunciate better because a word can come across garbled. I need to give succinct answers. I need to answer the question rather than give more of what I want to say. It’s part of the art of learning. A certain level of humility. And humble I’m not.
This week has been somewhat crazy. I had a book reading/signing in Canby which was very successful and lots of fun. Last night I spoke at a Department of Human Services meeting of potential adoptive parents in Salem. And today the Eugene interview and Springfield signing. To make things a little more interesting, I also secured radio interviews in Bend AND Lebanon with potential interviews in Klamath Falls, Newport, Portland and Salem.
And with each passing experience I learn yet more. Last week I looked at my schedule and realized that I didn’t have enough books. That resulted in frantic ordering of another 150 copies. The last thing an author wants is to run out of books! After the order was placed, the requisite worrying then began regarding the arrival dates. Would they get here in time? (They did.)
I had to make sure that I had everything I needed for each function. Books? Pens? Square that allows me to accept credit card payments? Notes? Jar full of lemon drops? (LEMONade, get it?) I now have to remember look into the future to make sure I’m prepared. It takes at least a week for books to arrive which means that I might have to make a substantial investment in order to be adequately covered.
There is always so much to consider and it’s all my responsibility because I don’t have an assistant. And don’t get me started on the minutiae surrounding income, taxes, receipts, mileage, marketing, etc. How would I handle all this if I were still working full time? Would I even have had the time to schedule so many activities?
And the learning doesn’t end there. It doesn’t just extend to responsibilities or lists. It involves responses and results. I have to observe what is happening and the net results of my efforts. There will be times when the response to my book will be less than impressive–perhaps non-existent. Hell, it’s happened already. There will be times, perhaps many times, when I will be spending money and not making anything. Hell, THAT’S happened, too!
This is to be expected as a new author. In order to rise above the din and make myself heard, get myself recognized, make an impression, I will need to remain disciplined and continue forward even when there is a net financial deficit. I can’t expect massive profits for awhile. But I will have to remain alert and not necessarily pursue every avenue tossed at me.
Yes, there is the chance that that one person, someone somewhere might buy my book at that one obscure location who will then take me into the stratosphere. Nevertheless, I still have to temper that with economic reality. I’m not made of money; I need to analyze where to spend my limited funds to get the maximum exposure and maximum result. I still know that there will be mostly a net deficit because I’m starting out. Yet the money I spend, even when I’m in the hole, is still an investment. “You have to spend money to make money”.
I’m really anxious to find out the results of these radio interviews. Something tells me that Portland will probably be more lucrative for obvious reasons, it’s a potential market of three million. Yet, radio still doesn’t have the pull of television. Yes, there’s Internet radio where a person in Memphis can listen to a station from Bend, Oregon, but what are the real opportunities there?
No, I believe television will be the true pot of gold. Which is why it will be so difficult to get noticed. Would chaining myself to their front door make me look like a stalker?
There’s so much to learn, so much to observe. I must be constantly diligent so I make intelligent decisions. And the thing is, even as I promote this book, there’s a very real chance that it won’t sell tons. I always knew that. What I’m hearing from others is that maybe book number 2 or 3 or 4 will be the breakthrough. What I do now will reap benefits down the pike. What I learn now will determine how large those benefits are. And if I’m able to live out my dream.