The last month has been huge on the book front and home front alike and I sometimes wonder whether this has all come at exactly the wrong time. It’s one thing to have your mind full of book book book and another to have it full of book with a little man bolting around the house, convinced he can walk and demanding full attention whether or not it is convenient! Fortunately my one-year-old is patient and if mummy is a little distracted, he just comes in for cuddles more often than usual!
When the first version of the typset manuscript came though I was charged with a tingle I hadn’t felt since competition days. My book actually looked like a book with a photo of me and an acknowledgements page and an ISBN and everything! I thought it would feel just like another round of edits and cross-checking, but this was somehow a whole new beast. It felt real and scary and distant all at the same time. It was like seeing a part of me from a distance; as though this was no longer mine, but something for the world. I felt extremely humbled that it should be my photograph inside the cover.
We did have a few issues with a typo in the title, but I stood firm that it should be corrected and my publisher did eventually agree depite the backflipping and wrangling they needed to do to get it fixed. I was really glad that they understood my need for the tiltle to be just right.
Then it was my turn to take the backward step – although I had agreed to the photograph on the front cover, it looked quite different when I saw it as an actual cover. I had second thoughts, I didn’t like it, I complained and went on like a pedantic author should, but when I finally relented and got over my tantrum, I realised that the cover was pretty good anyway. It is certainly something I am proud to say is mine.
So now it is printed and on its way to our shores, it is full steam into promotion. And it’s hard! So hard! So very, very hard!
Some people love the adrenalin of cold calling potential supporters, touching base with long-lost mates and well-wishers, spreading the word. But I find it really hard. Asking favours of friends long-lost or otherwise is a challenge I have simply had to face. “Do you know anyone…?”, “Would you be willing…?”, “Do you think you could…?”, “I was hoping…” It all adds up to an emotionally draining day.
On the whole, though, people have been wonderful. I think there is a general understanding that writing a book is no small feat and that writing a memoir is a big scary deal, so people are kind and patient. I am calling in every media person I have ever crossed paths with, every famous swimmer, every writer, friend, family member. I am spreading the word as far and wide as I can in a few ways:
1. My new website – it cost about $1000 and I can’t rave enough about the company that built it for me: Peter Thorpe at www.thenet.com.au. Have a look at www.nadineneumann.com.au and if you like it, give Peter a call!
2. Facebook – it’s free and it reaches far and wide. I’ve had more feedback from posting my book cover than I could have rustled up though any other avenue.
3. Emails and cold-calling – this has been time consuming and hard, but I have found a personal email to a long-lost contact has opened many doors!
4. Feature articles – these are still in progress and are by far the hardest pieces I have ever written. The idea is that they will be on hand to distribute to appropriate newletters, magazines, newspapers, websites, etc as the time of launch draws near. It is an incredibly good exercise in clarifying your vision, purpose and direction as far as promotion goes. Just don’t be swayed by how hard it is to tell the world how good you are! And if, like me, you find this a challenge, be sure to have a good editor on hand – thank you Lauren!
5. And finally the Launch – my publisher is holding an event at the end of November in Brisbane, but because Sydney was my home, it seemed logical that there should be some kind of a bash there. It is a work in progress and I will be sure to let you know of that progress shortly. For now suffice to say that it is akin to orgaising a wedding with no budget to speak of. The only difference is that instead of arranging family members in politically correct formation, you are angling to get as many famous people on board as possible so that you have the maximum media leverage you can get. Challenging.
So until next time, remember that people don’t read what is on the page; they read what they see on the page.