Triple-Dog Dare

Each step I take to market and publish Release feels like another in a series of escalating dares I give myself. “Bet you don’t give the book to your mother or mother-in-law to read. Bet you won’t email Nick. Bet you won’t tweet Jim. Bet you won’t ask for reviews or endorsements from anyone, let alone get anyone to agree to it.” “The ask” is hard at any level. When it’s asking a friend, a reputation’s on the line. When it’s an admired, established, even public figure, it’s just tongue-to-a flagpole nerve-racking.

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We’re in the final stretch before publication, folks. The manuscript has been edited and formatted. The press releases are drafted. Once ISBN numbers are purchased, review requests, PDFs, and galleys will be sent per customized specifications to more than forty industry publications, media outlets, and book bloggers this week. I’ll be seeking their endorsements and reviews, which will be added to back cover and last pages under the headline “Praise for Release.”

Also among the last pages, I will list my acknowledgements. I already shared some of them with you in an earlier post, but that list has gotten much longer. Here is a preview:

  • Lindsay, who I alluded to before, and whose work you have already admired. She designed the cover. God, it’s beautiful—perfectly elegant and exceptionally multifaceted. It’s seemingly straightforward and light, but hauntingly complex the longer you look at it. Check her out here.
  • Amanda, proprietress of Esscentual Alchemy. People, I can’t even. I’ve known this lady since college. She’s a classically trained lyric coloratura, but she’s no Johnny-one-note. After reading the book, she agreed to fashion God’s Gift, the fragrance described in the novel. Actually, before that, she gave the story such heartwarming, encouraging praise, I look back at it every few days to motivate me when I’m feeling down or daunted. The work she’s creating will actually yield two perfumes: God’s Gift: Seduction and God’s Gift: Redemption. I’ll write more about this enterprise in a forthcoming post. In the meantime, be sure to check her out.
  • Bobby and Ashley at Tiesta Tea. This is a story of small-world, fortuitous interactions yielding amazing results. My daughters’ girl scout troop leader, who I’m happy to call a friend, was proudly sharing news of her son’s burgeoning venture with fellow School of the Art Institute of Chicago graduates. I’m working with Tiesta to fashion a set of teas that will deepen the experience that readers, especially book club members, have with he book, while also introducing Tiesta brand to new customers nationwide. Win-win, as the marketing cliché goes.
  • Craig, who patiently walked me through all manner of independent publishing minutia and nuance before making a well-reasoned proposal that he advised I not take, in favor of going solo. A more seasoned marketer, generous advisor, or warm-hearted Renaissance Man is tough to find, but you can do it here.
  • Marcia, who I first contacted on a HARO lead in 2010 when she was seeking people to interview for her book, I Found a Job! Her been-there-done-that insights about the publishing industry rounded out my marketing program. This proves, once again, that it’s smart to hold onto connections with good people, no matter how seemingly distant or inexplicably “useful.”
  • Nick, Jim, Jim, and Sonat, who are each in possession of passages from the novel that make mention of, draw inspiration from, honor, and pay tribute to their work. It’s not Chicago without the sights and sounds beyond Navy Pier and the Mag Mile, people. Get out in the neighborhoods. See local shows. Eat. Drink. Be Merry.
  • Barb and Seth, through whom I have established Noon Key Productions LLC. If ever there is a grown-up moment, it’s the one in which you lock in your FEIN. Walking them through my right-brained flights of fancy and getting their left-brained approval gave me such peace of mind about this little pipe dream enterprise actually having potential. Check them out.
  • Jane, my editor. The experience of receiving my edited manuscript and reviewing the changes was like going on a job interview—one that you think you’ve nailed until you look in the mirror afterward and see spinach in your teeth. Though we’ve only interacted virtually, she’s the friend who tactfully pulled me aside and told me there was spinach in my teeth before I smiled at one more person. I need as many people like this in my life as possible; I eat a lot of spinach, and I smile quite a bit, too. While she was at it, she also told me that my outfit was killer and the job was in the bag. (I mean this metaphorically—she softened the impact of her constructive comments with complimentary ones, and gave the story high praise overall.)
  • JoAnn, Ashley, Julie, and Jeanette, who have already committed to reviewing Release. The collected credentials and wisdom of this quartet makes me feel like a sniveling tween in the throngs of a screaming fangirl crowd in comparison. To maintain the wall of impartiality, I’ll hold off on further revealing their identities, for now. Believe me when I say that having each woman agree to my request is as humbling as it is encouraging.

Stay tuned for further discussion of the marketing efforts behind Release and how you can participate. I triple-dog dare YOU.

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