I wonder if it is too self-absorbed to share, at the end of this post, two message excerpts that I have received from readers of Living in the Mourning Light? I do hope not.
Publicising a book is not an easy task.
Publicising a book that is niche in topic, such as a grief support book like mine, is possibly that bit harder. To have my writing validated by others is encouraging, and heart-warming. All writers know that we are our own worst critics and it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to judge whether your own authoring is any good. The creative flow produces a stream of words, phrases, sentences, pages, and eventually you have a book, but how will it be received?
What will people think of it? Will they be at best stirred and moved – or at worst, bored?
You need broad shoulders if you are putting a book out to a public audience. I recall when an interview about my first book, Into the Mourning Light was published in a certain daily newspaper, and someone anonymously fed back, ‘So her son died and she wrote a book. So what?’ That hurt. The belittling of our personal tragedy in losing James, and the impression that to write a book is the work of a moment, was very hurtful. I had to remember that the problem lay with the individual too cowardly to go public with his or her name, not with me or what I have done.
How is your self-worth today? Recently, I heard someone say, ‘Remember, a satsuma is not a failed orange!’ which is a great analogy for measuring the extent of our personal impact on others. I may be a little satsuma in literary terms, but I need to be a large Jaffa orange in promoting my writing!
If, like me, you opt to traverse the self-publishing route, it may help you to remember that self-publishing also means self-promoting. It doesn’t come naturally to most of us to big ourselves up, to sell ourselves, to trumpet our achievements. But this is exactly what you have to do if you are promoting a book, or indeed any product that you are selling. You have to put on a commercial head and set aside your natural modesty. Someone asked me the other day, “How many books have you sold?” and to be honest, I don’t think in terms of the number of copies that sell. I believe that books find their way to those who need them, particularly when they are in the field of grief support. When people feed back to me that there is value in my writing, that is very gratifying for me on a personal level; as indeed are the following endorsements of Living in the Mourning Light:
“I am certain that other readers and especially grieving parents will find solace and comfort in knowing there is hope and light ahead and to search for it and acknowledge that whilst things will never ever be the same as before, they can still be different and fulfilling and yes, happy, at times.”
“Thank you so much for writing an amazing book. Am savouring it. Your pain shows through. It is not a depressing book though. Rather a book that opens up hearts to express grief and pain.”
Thank you to all those who have already read my new book. I hope that there will be many more readers and reviewers to come.