Authors regularly call me wanting to set up a signing at the store. Unless you’re a psychic or television personality, you better tell your friends and family to come out and support you. Tell no one and that’s who will be there. Even acclaimed authors who you’d expect to have an audience can tell you about events spent reading to one passerby and the homeless guy dozing in a chair. My suggestion to authors is go to your target audience rather than expect them to find you. Wrote a book about WWII? Speak at a veteran’s group. Gardening? Meet with gardening groups. Rotary Club, Senior groups, schools – are always looking for good speakers and will give you an opportunity to get the word and your book out. That’s what I’ll be doing.
Recently, a generous, smart woman in the publishing industry gave me the same advice I usually give to others – only she was referring to the cyber world. The internet provides a whole new opportunity to build an audience, find readers before you even publish your book. And in fact, you improve your chances of landing a publisher if you manage to capture an audience. Times are tough everywhere, and publishers want to know that the book they’re getting behind has readers at the ready.
It was as if a light bulb went off in my head. I have been slow to embrace this new media of blogs and twittering but after a week of exploration in this brave new world, imagining the possibilities – I’m sold. It’s an exciting new world available right now on this snowed in Sunday morning when everyone else in my immediate world, is still sleeping! So here I go, ready to launch out into this new dimension. Bear with me as I get the hang of it and thanks for spreading the word.
My memoir, Light Between Shadows, is about how love and a life were destroyed by drug addiction. I needed to write the book for me but I know that my story is not unique. I hope to chip away at the secrets and shame associated with addiction and suicide. We need to talk about this stuff, help each other through the dark days. We are not the only ones. Show me a family that doesn’t have an addict, an alcoholic, mental illness. My community – friends, neighbors, co-workers, family all helped me survive those days of living with an active addict and the aftermath of suicide. I hope I can do that for others who are navigating the world that was once mine. We are not alone.
Life is different now – the shadows are mostly gone and each day feels like a gift. I marvel at the difference between then and now: ‘then’ makes the ‘now’ all the more precious. I watch my bright and beautiful daughter move through her world, wisely and with joy and am grateful. I wake each morning next to the rediscovered love in my life and can’t believe how lucky I am. Now is a different story than the one I told in my book, but only because I lived it. I don’t forget that – ever.