Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Seeing Red

When I read the theme for this month's post on my glog, Word Disco, "Seeing Red", the first thing I thought of was Marnie!  If you've seen Alfred Hitchcock's 1964 movie, Marnie, starring Sean Connery and Tippi Hedren, you'll know what I'm talking about.  If you haven't seen it yet - you should (and not just because Sean Connery's in it)!  In the movie, whenever Marnie sees the color red, it brings back memories of a traumatic event in her childhood and she becomes paralyzed with fear.  I don't think watching the scene below will ruin the movie for you so, feel free to watch the clip (I'll wait).  

With Marnie in mind, I decided to write about facing our writing-related fears. More specifically, our self-promotion-related fears.  Once your manuscript is acquired, well before it's published, you'll need to start promoting your book and yourself.  You'll want to build your platform to create a presence to help reach your target audience.  You'll also want to build relationships with other authors, illustrators, editors and agents.  

To build your platform, and connect with fellow inhabitants of the kid lit world, you may have to do things that take you outside your comfort zone and make you see red (in the Marnie sense).  Things like:
  • interviews with newspapers, magazines, radio or TV
  • writing guest posts on blogs and websites 
  • attending conferences, even when you don't know anyone there
  • presenting at conferences
  • book signings (sometimes with crickets chirping) 
  • school visits in classrooms and sometimes  for the whole school
  • skype visits
  • joining a critique group 
  • teaching about your craft to aspiring authors and illustrators
  • volunteering at SCBWI events
  • starting a website and/or blog and actually making them public
  • participating in online writing challenges
  • designing business cards, bookmarks and postcards
  • creating a book trailer
  • _____________(fill in the blank for the things I forgot to mention).
I've done everything on this list, in one form or another, and I've had second (and sometimes third and fourth) thoughts before doing them.  I was scared.  I felt incompetent.  I wanted my mommy!  I could have chosen not to do any of these things; to stay in the safety of my comfort zone.  But, I faced my fears and, instead of feeling afraid, I felt confident and empowered (ok, when it was just me and the crickets at a few book signings, I didn't feel so great)!  Still, I could have seen red and let myself wave the white flag of defeat. Instead, when I saw red, I added some cool blue and made purple! (Which just happens to be my favorite color.)