Your book was published. You cold called indie bookstores and libraries, sent email inquiries to venues for author events, you met up with writing groups, friends, co-workers, fellow writing colleagues, you solicited book reviews and book awards. Publicity and book tours. There was always something to do. Perhaps some authors have no discernable transition because it’s a “business as usual” practice. But for me, that business is no longer usual; it has changed. The “always something” has evolved to not much of anything. My publicity campaign has ended and I now see an idle box filled with postcards and bookmarks, books, posters, and cash box, remnants of post pub when self-promotion was part of the “always something.” So, what’s next?
It’s a strange feeling to know that my memoir, Under the Birch Tree has crossed the finish line. For years, it was all about my memoir, answering inquiring minds’ questions, falling asleep while recapping moments of due diligence and trying with all my might to remember that sentence or two that would bring the scene together, questioning if my edits remained true to my writing. But now, not so much.
By definition, “transition” means a passage, transformation or conversion. I felt this conversion when I discontinued an old practice where I had accumulated a gluttonous amount of files and folders on my desktop for quick access and became unable to see the pink hydrangea photo on my computer screen. I was disorganized and now I’ve got time to organize my desktop so a photo of my garden flower can be seen once again.
This transition is a passage from a constant push for writing know-how and publication, to a place that has allowed me to see how far I’ve come, how much I’ve learned and envision where I want to be next. My passage has allowed a pause in body and mind, giving me time to read earlier month’s pages of notes, lists, names to contact and even more lists. I reflect on when recording remembrances appeared more important than doing something with it. Like seeing an old photograph, you didn’t realize its importance at the time it was taken, but you see what it means to you now. Transformations are a way to see what you had before, what you left behind, and where you are presently.
The eighteen months of my journey to publication was not for a thin-skinned person; thick skin was needed to deflect the unexpected–self-doubt, fear, inferiority. Perhaps transitions create resilience.
And now I take steps in new directions; to find a new rhythm to “always something.” I was only able to look forward, after looking at what I had left behind and cleared out a filled computer and mind. I think this was my way of putting something to rest before I felt I could move on.
I suggest a few ways to facilitate a transition from book publication to post pub.
- Computer filing. Clear out and delete old emails and files you saved because you thought you might need them but never, ever, did refer to them. Organize remaining emails and files into general topics for easy referral.
- And then there’s the paper! I had accumulated a lot of this. Re-read your hardcopies of everything. Throw out hardcopy notes, guides, others’ blog posts, reference printouts, and your notes that might have been timely then but no longer apply now. Sort and make file folders for remaining paper. This was the most rewarding task. I was able to reread and relearn and in so doing, came up with content for book two, essays and posts.
- Reorganize your book library. I had books all over the place I had used over the years when writing my memoir. Now I can put them back into easily accessable groups of fiction, craft, writing, reference and other non-fiction.
- Write content. Back to the paper organization. Pull out your notes, and you know you have them! of first-liners or of first-paragraphers that you know will make for a good blog post or content essay for continuing book promotion.
- Be creative and get personal. With never losing sight of maintaining book promotion, use social media to engage and promote your book and to build reader base organically through visual posts and applying life experiences, showing a side of you, the author, who no one has seen.
Are you an author who has experienced a transition? What are your thoughts and have you done anything to ease your new “always something?”