A Fantasy

The plans for the Civil Rights Travel Course seem as fantastic to me as Cinderella going to the ball. The outline of the class inspires me. But the pieces I want to add are something else – that’s where the fantasy lies. I have contacted a newspaper in Anniston, Alabama, about an interview. I’m waiting for an answer. I have gotten an answer from the Atlanta Constitution Journal. The reporter said that, if the idea were approved, I might get an interview or get to write a column. I am waiting to hear from the Atlanta Inquirer. And I’ve contacted the Clarksdale, Mississippi newspaper. Monday I call them all to see where we are. Bettina, my pr expert, has her list of radio stations, newspapers and television stations in Atlanta and the other cities we will visit. Ever learn to write a press release? I know I hadn’t.

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Loose Ends

One thing that has surprised me about myself during this author odyssey is that I’m not as organized as I thought I was. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a collector – of pictures, of baby announcements, of letters and other “stuff.” Until the “book” I had each piece of stuff neatly organized in a scrapbook or the appropriate “file.” That was then.

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Who is your Audience?

“Who is your audience?” “Who is your audience?” “Who is your audience?” After what is your book about, who is your audience is the most asked question. And it is asked from the very beginning. It means, who you are writing your book for. It’s not a small question. Who the book is for determines how it is written: vocabulary, tone, asides, and point of view among other aspects. Knowing your audience means selling it in the right place to optimize sales. Do I have a niche market – small, but targeted – or a larger audience like romance novels. The book is placed on the shelf where the most appropriate audience will find it.
Like many authors I believed that everyone would want to read my book; after all, my friends did. Oops, that’s a niche market and each friend will only be able to buy so many copies.

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How to Know I’m on the Right Track

One thing I know is I need to consider “coincidences” as part of my writing process. Each time I’ve felt lost, like I’ve strayed from what I’m “supposed” to be doing with the book, I get a reminder. An event at the Maui Writers Retreat and Conference alerted me to the fact that I don’t “control” where the book goes.
As I mentioned earlier, an agent told me that my subject matter was passé. Then two of the guest speakers (writers both) told me my title, Rising to the Occasion was boring. I’d paid for this abuse! Their comment reminded me I was entering territory I knew nothing about and I’d better be open to new ideas about the book.
And then it happened. I was waiting in line at a book signing.

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