Marketing: Doing The Things You Don’t Want To Do

For those who read my blog last week, you can see that I’ve done a lot of things to help with the marketing campaign for my book THE WITCH OF ZAL. If you look at the list, however, you will see a common thread—the majority of items did not involve interacting with people.

I am a classic introvert and I have an anxiety disorder that manifests mainly in social situations. So I tend to a hermit-like existence. As soon as I signed my book contract, my published friends told me to do two things: network with other writers in my genre and get to know the book bloggers in my genre. I put those two things on my To-Do List, and there they languished.

Why? I could tell you that since 18 months seemed like a long time until publication, I just let it float and lost track of it. I could say that the research involved in both of those things was overwhelming. Both of those things are true. But they are not the reason I kept putting them off.

I kept putting them off because they are hard and scary for me and my subconscious made every rationalization it could to avoid them.

Some of the things we do in marketing are not easy for us. But we have to do them anyway. I didn’t network with authors in my genre until very late in the game, so when it came time to ask for blurbs, I stressed. Luckily, I had other fantastic authors willing to blurb for me, so my procrastination was not as destructive as it might have been.

Now, I am seeking reviewers in my genre and once again it caught me by surprise, even though it should not have. I knew I had to do it, but my brain kept saying, “Tomorrow. Tomorrow.” And because my brain told me what I wanted to hear, I listened. So the Procrastination Pressure is on again! Once again, a fellow author gave me a huge boost in the right direction, and I am now on the road to reviewers.

My first point is this: my avoidance of the things I didn’t want to do could have seriously damaged my marketing efforts. We have to do the parts of marketing we dislike or that frighten us with the same diligence and planning as the parts we enjoy. I knew what I had to do, but allowed my inner demons to get the best of me anyway, causing a great deal of pressure and stress I didn’t need to go through.

My other point is: be grateful for the writer friends you have in your life. My writer friends caught me when I fell on my face. They have listened to me when I freaked out. They have been with me through this whole long process, and I could not have made it this far without them.

Marketing involves some things we are reluctant to do. Your list of uncomfortable marketing items will differ from mine. Do them anyway, when they need to be done. Save yourself the stress of waiting until the last minute.

And lean on your friends to help you through the hard parts. You can return the favor when it’s their turn.

Which part of marketing do you find the hardest? How do you motivate yourself to get it done?

The Internal Saboteur

We all know about the “internal critic” or “internal editor.” You know, the one who keeps telling us things like, “That comma doesn’t go there.” or “That’s the worst sentence ever written.” or “No one’s going to want to read the trash you’re writing.” And there are many blog posts out there dealing with how to turn him off or shut him down.

But what about your “internal saboteur”?

What? You’ve never heard of that one? Then pay attention, because he might be why you’re not moving forward as fast as you’d like.

The internal saboteur is not loud like the internal editor. Like most saboteurs, he prefers to work quietly and unnoticed. Subtle. Insidious.

The internal saboteur is why you stop working on a manuscript when you’re getting close to the end. He’s why you put off sending out those query letters. He’s why cleaning the bathroom suddenly seems more appealing than doing the final polish on your short story.

In short, he is every reason you procrastinate when you could actually be accomplishing something.

The internal saboteur is fear made manifest—but not fear of failure. He is fear of success.

That’s right, fear of SUCCESS.

Why would you be afraid of success? Because success means change, and change is very hard for a lot of people. Success in writing can mean a huge amount of change in a short amount of time, too, robbing us of the ability to ease into our new world slowly. The internal saboteur doesn’t want to deal with the change.

How to I know about the internal saboteur? I live with him every day. It’s no secret I wrestle with an anxiety disorder. This means everyday things can be incredibly difficult for me—just talking on the phone can break me out in sweat. My fear rises up every time I try to step out of my sheltered routine—to see a movie or go out to eat or see a concert or visit a friend. Simple things. Yet my fear will grab me, try to convince me that I am too ill or too tired to go out and do these things. That I don’t really want to. That it would be harmful to go. I must fight the physical symptoms of this fear and push ahead anyway. Live my life in spite of my internal saboteur.

Since he is so prevalent in my daily life, it comes as no surprise that my internal saboteur is hard at work in my writing life as well. He doesn’t seem to have a problem with me writing, per se (he leaves that to the inner critic). But once I have a piece written, he fights hard to make sure I never do anything productive with it. It becomes too great a chore to finish revising those last few chapters. I’m too tired to research agents to query, and I definitely need to nap instead of researching markets for the short story I wrote. I procrastinate, playing Solitaire over and over, finding other chores to do, or simply escaping into the rabbit-hole of genealogy research.

I know my internal saboteur when I see him. Sometimes it takes a few days, but I know the signs. And when I finally recognize him for what he is, I have to rally myself, kick him to the curb, and get on with the things I need to do to further my career.

One of my goals in 2013 is to recognize him earlier, to loosen his grip on my career. I spend my whole life beating him off with a stick so I can enjoy my life—I refuse to let him steal my writing career from me.

Take a look at what’s holding you back in your writing career. Are the obstacles real—or are they the constructs of your internal saboteur? Is it the OBJECTS that are insurmountable—or the FEAR?

Don’t let fear of success hold you back.

No matter what your internal saboteur says, you deserve success just as much as everyone else. Go and grab it.

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