Guess what? I have decided to now include an audio version of each blog post I write. Now you have the choice- read my ramblings or listen to them. I don't know which one is more exciting. ;)
Remember this post?
Isn't it interesting how things change and evolve in our lives in a matter of days? Just barely over a week ago, I sat at my computer and typed that post about my social media experiment. I was feeling really good about my decision to back off of social media and to not let it dictate my thought process, daily schedule, and self-worth.
Then I received the first blow to the Great Experiment when I received that email from the publishing company. In it they said, "One huge contributor to our decision making is social media presence." In other words, if you want to be successful as an author these days, you need to jump on the social media bandwagon and make your presence known.
The second blow was when I realized that I would have to do something I swore I would never do- open a Twitter account. From the very first time I heard about Twitter, I just did not see the appeal. As I have talked to parents and teachers about it- and some teenagers- it seemed like they all had the same advice in regards to Twitter. "DON'T DO IT!" And I was completely fine not to have a Twitter account until I learned that statistically, the best social media outlet for authors is, you guessed it, Twitter. I could see all of the signs pointing in the direction of the land of Tweets, but I desperately wanted to stay safe and comfortable right where I was. So I took the decision and made it a matter of prayer. I am an author because of an experience that God blessed me with. The basis of my memoir is a daily journal that I was inspired to start writing in on Day One of my journey. Every post I write does not happen until I have prayed about it, studied it out in my mind, and carefully reviewed it before I hit the publish button. I knew that I could not move forward in any marketing decisions before I talked to the One who brought me here in the first place.
And He told me it would be okay. I know that I will be able to add Twitter to my "sharing happiness arsenal." My goals with all of the social media that I participate in are to:
#1. Share happiness.
#2. Be completely real and honest.
#3. Spread the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As long as I am careful and keep my priorities straight, Twitter will definitely help me to achieve those goals.
Over the past few days my brain has been jammed up with so much information. I am trying to process all of the things that I have learned about marketing with social media and how I am going to implement them. I am also trying to figure out how to get my book off my computer and into the hands of those who want to read it. And, I am also working on a secret project that came about as a result of the "Thanks, but no thanks" email I received last week. I will tell you this much about it...it's going to be amazing. Oh, and I have also been doing all of those little life details like homeschooling two of my kiddos, teaching preschool three days a week, running kids to lessons, and trying to make sure that my husband doesn't feel like his wife has abandoned him. It's a tough load to carry at the moment, but I know that I don't have to carry it alone.
So the Great Experiment continues. I've added a few ingredients to the mix, but as I push forward with faith and trust in God's timing and His plan for me, I know that the end result is going to be beautiful.
Just when I had come to a place of peace and minimal anxiety about the status of my book, I opened my email this morning and saw this...
I almost dropped my phone.
For months I have checked that email account and it has been the same story- no new emails. Every now and then I would receive a notification about something or other, but no emails from the one company that I desperately wanted to receive an email from.
Then today it happened. With hands shaking, I said a silent prayer that I would have a calm presence of mind no matter what the email said, although in my heart of hearts, I knew it was going to say, "Thanks, but no thanks."
Sometimes I don't like it when my heart is right.
I will not have the opportunity to publish my book with Cedar Fort Publishing and although I am not surprised at this outcome, it did shatter my heart, just a bit.
However, all hope is not lost.
They were very kind and gave me some words or encouragement.
"Please be aware that we offer to publish less than 10% of the manuscripts we review, and although we did not offer to publish your manuscript, we encourage you in your endeavors to get it published..."
"We enjoyed reading your work...You have a beautifully clean manuscript that does a wonderful job explaining your journey and the perspective it gave you. We still feel like it is a wonderful resource to those who are struggling with breast cancer. Unfortunately, our cancer memoirs haven't done as well as we would like..."
The good news? They liked what they read, it's just not a great fit for their particular company. I was not surprised to hear that their cancer memoirs have not done as well as they would like them to. The unfortunate fact is that there are a lot of people who have had, still have, and who will still have cancer and a lot of those people have written books. Maybe the market is a bit saturated? It's definitely a possibility, but that is only a speculation on my part.
Now for the bad news and the part that, in all honesty, has weighed heavily on my mind since reading the following words...
"One huge contributor to our decision making is social media presence. Marketing has changed drastically in the last several years for publishing companies. Authors with a high number of social media exposure will be significantly more successful. I would recommend doing what you can to extend your social media reach and share your story..."
There it is again. The wonderful pain that is social media has reached out and slapped me in the face. It has been on my mind for months now and I have researched ways to extend my social media reach and tried different tactics, but sadly, none of those tactics have made a noticeable difference. This is where the adversary steps in and says, "That's because your writing isn't as good as you may think it is."
Does my writing reach people? Yes. I know it does. I have had a handful of people tell me that it has reached them.
I suppose that is problem number one. A handful of people is not appealing to publishing companies. They need to see several thousand handfuls of people. This is where I have hit a wall. I am completely clueless as to what more I can do to get myself out there. I can share my posts and website as much as I want, but if no one is interested in sharing it with their friends who then share it with their friends, then it does not matter how many times I share it. This takes me back to the adversary as he says, "If people aren't interested in sharing your posts, then they will not be interested in reading a book that you have written."
To be completely fair here, I do have at least 50 people who would like to read my book. Thank you to all of those who have taken the time to fill out my little survey. I thank you all again for your love and support on this endeavor and I promise that you will get to read it, even if I have to just email you the manuscript.
Now, I have to pick up the pieces of my slightly shattered heart and try to figure out where to go from here. At the moment, all I can seem to do is stare at those lovely little heart pieces and feel the world bustle along around me. It takes me right back to how I felt in that moment that I heard those words, "You have cancer."
From the very start of my cancer journey it has been hard. Brutally hard. Now, it continues to be hard as I try and figure out where my place is in the literary world. All along, the one thing that I have kept clinging to is the fact that I just want this book to reach those who need it. Maybe that's just the 50 people in my little world.
But, I won't lie.
If that is truly the case then that leaves me a little sad. I was hopeful (and still am hopeful) that these words that I have been inspired to write are meant for more than 50 people. So once again, I am having to turn my will over to the Lord. I have to have faith and hope in His timing, not mine, while trying to do all that I can and need to do to have it reach its full potential.
It may seem strange to some that I have made this a part of my #100happydays posts. But I am happy. I am happy that I am not in limbo anymore, watching my email like a hawk, waiting to get some closure. I am happy that they took the time to read my manuscript and say kind things about it. I am still happy that I took the time to write it, even though it was and continues to be really hard.
And I am also happy to know that I can still do hard things and that Heavenly Father is mindful of me on hard days like today. He has helped me to not have a major freak out session, just a minor one. (I shed a few tears, but only used a single tissue, not a whole box, so that's a bonus.) He also sent love in the form of freshly baked bread and a jar full of jam from someone who, without a doubt in my mind, followed the Spirit as it directed her to send these goodies my way today. Thank you kind friend for your gift and note. It brightened my day and allowed me to place a few heart pieces back where they belong.
Now that the whirlwind of school and preschool have both started, I barely have time to breathe which means that blogging has moved WAY down on my to-do list.
And that is perfectly okay.
There was a time when blogging consumed me. When I was using it as a tool to share my cancer journey with family and friends, it was a source of practicality and healing. It was really easy for me to get the word out about things that were going on. I was also able to express frustrations, love, worry, and joy in a way that was very therapeutic for my soul.
When I started running out of cancer related items to write about, I came up with a few things that I could write about on a regular basis...Tuesday Traditions, Thankful Thursdays, and my I Believe posts. Those were all wonderful things for me to write about and I love that I now have all of those thoughts and feelings available for my posterity to read.
However, there is a dark side to blogging that you may not know about. At times, I would be so consumed with blogging that I would push more important things aside. I would get agitated if I felt like there was too much time in between posts. And sometimes, as often happens with social media, I would let the lack of followers and comments or the content of comments eat away at my happiness.
W h a t w a s I t h i n k i n g ?
More recently, as I have been researching how to become a published author, I have found myself getting sucked into the social media trap again. On numerous occasions I have read the words, "must be very active on social media", "must have at least 20-50,000 hits a day", etc., etc., etc. This left me feeling completely hopeless. I am lucky to get 20 hits a day...120 if it's a really good day. That number does not look impressive to a publisher. I consider myself an "active" social media user, which honestly, at times I hate.
This has led me to the Great Experiment.
About a week or so ago, I set a social media goal. I decided that I would only allow myself to look at my Instagram account ONCE A DAY- not every time I found myself with a few minutes of downtime, just once a day when I post my #100happydays post. I also decided that I was going to go back to my goal of only checking Facebook if I receive an email telling me of a message or notification, or if I have something I need to notify people of.
So far, I have been at it a week and can I be completely honest with you?
I have been amazed with how much time I suddenly freed up in my busy schedule. A few minutes here and there really add up in the course of a day. But there has been something much more beautiful and amazing that has happened.
I HAVEN'T MISSED IT.
Not at all. I haven't missed the agitation, depressing feelings, or jealousy that would sometimes rear its ugly head. I haven't missed looking down at my phone instead of looking at the world around me. You know what else I haven't missed? I haven't missed a single, important message. Somehow people have still been able to get in touch with me, even though I am not looking at Facebook a dozen times a day to make sure I don't have a message waiting for me. It's a miracle.
I am loving my second chance at life.
What's Happening on
Copyright Desirae Ogden, www.desiraeogden.com, 2015.
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