Anne M. Smith-Nochasak:
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On April 27th, 2021, I came home to learn that I was now a self-published author. In an earlier blog, Self-publishing Unfiltered , I described the fun and frustration of the first two months of my publication journey. I was interviewed by Lighthouse NOW, and my book went smoothly to consignment. Life was gentle and simple.
The next ten months were, at times, like navigating a canoe through class five waters with a cracked paddle. It was less simple, less gentle.
The journey is measured in moments, not sales. I learned to enjoy the summer markets. Fellow vendors shared their strength. I had incredible suggestions and encouragement from authors. It was hard to hear that a few well-chosen questions would work better than my wordy displays, but I also knew they were right. I rushed home and reworked my display – and next afternoon heard such good things. Barb, wherever you are, THANK YOU. You freed my marketing spirit!
The Miramichi Reader stepped forward with a positive review and ongoing support. South Branch Scribbler later provided an interview. There were such joyful moments.
In between, there came illness, cancellations, and explanations. With recovery came quick bookings and the discovery that Canoer had caught the Christmas current, for consignment copies will surely sell if you really need them. I scrounged copies from friends to fill out the display, while FriesenPress negotiated the labyrinth of supply chains in pandemic times. I do not think they anticipated me when they developed a sound marketing plan.
Five days later, two boxes of books appeared by the front door, the dog again claiming the credit. I think that FriesenPress must have connections at the North Pole, or an equivalent mythic location. That got me through to Christmas, my friends got books back, and then I vanished for surgery and a winter of recovery, useful for finishing my work in progress.
Now I have a stable internet connection, and am learning that there is a strong writing support network out there. Others also struggle with lack of time for writing or marketing or outlining or self-publishing vs. traditional publishing. Reaching out was hard at first. As an adult, when I invited old friends to visit, my mother would worry that they would plunder the attic of its dusty relics if she stepped out. That mindset is hard to break. So far, no one in the Writing Community has attempted to abscond with the silverware, real or virtual! They share their ideas and cheer you on.
People leave my booth to borrow the book from the local library, or drop by to tell me they read their nephew’s or their neighbour’s copy. That excites me. I visit local bookstores, and am each time moved to see my dream on display. I correspond with people and share ideas. I read. I write. My life has grown richer.
Although my sales statistics are possibly the lowest on record, people are reading my book, using our old high school code: the one who buys the book must share it with the rest of the class. I am participating in conversations. I am writing. I am content. After all, Laila’s theme in A Canoer of Shorelines is: The measure of success is a satisfied mind.
My one regret is that my lady, the brindled Husky who saw A Canoer of Shorelines into reality and into marketing and saw my second draft to completion, passed away four days before Canoer’s anniversary. I write for her. I go forward for her. I breathe the gentle air of the lakeshore for her. Such a year, my friend.