From time to time, Archway Publishing turns over its blog to its authors, giving them the opportunity to share stories and perspectives about their individual self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Tsara Shelton, author of “Spinning in Circles and Learning from Myself.” Tsara is a writer of musings, sipper of coffee, and addict of any story. Having learned life exploring the edges of society she finds her footing in the world through storytelling—as a mom, wife, daughter and citizen. She blogs regularly at Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton. For more about Tsara and her book, visit her on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.
Ever since I was a little girl I’ve wanted to write books. When I was young I wrote often and diversely, basking in the compliments and impressed smiles of the grownups. But soon those compliments came with suggestions and constructive feedback, and I shrunk away. I was afraid of the work. No, I was afraid of doing the work only to discover that I wasn’t as talented as I’d led everyone to believe. I put myself on hold; not quite giving up, but not quite ready to do the work either.
Many years later as the mom of four sons who were searching for manhood, I knew I couldn’t keep telling my talented boys not to give up on themselves when I so obviously (and so easily!)had considered giving up on myself. So, I started writing and publishing and proving to myself that I could do the work.
Then, with my husband insisting that my dream coming true would also be his dream coming true, I put together a book of stories that slowly grew up and published with Archway Publishing. In this way I am now showing my sons, and myself, what it looks like to do the work and to value our dreams.
Thus, Spinning in Circles and Learning from Myself: A Collection of Stories that Slowly Grow Up, the beautiful book with the beautiful cover designed by the beautiful people at Archway, was born!
The next step was to show my sons and myself what it looks like to back up those dreams by introducing the stories to the wide, wide world through marketing.
I had two things going for me in this regard. One, my mom is an international mental health expert and I’ve been her personal assistant for a few years. I’ve eagerly taken on the job of sharing her projects (books, shows, inspirational comedy and music, international docu-series) with the media as well as with parents and professionals in the world of mental health. Two, I published through Archway which means I had a team of supportive, knowledgeable, and available others to give me a hand.
I had one (big) thing going against me. A fear of being self-centered and annoying. Sure, I can email busy producers and editors regarding my mom’s stuff because I see and know and have witnessed over and over again its immense value. But my stuff? My book? My words and ideas? Scary stuff, man!
However, I love my book and I love my ideas and I love learning who I am through marketing. With the support of Archway (coaches and consultants who call to check on me just the right amount, keeping me going without applying unnecessary pressure) and the watchful eyes of my sons (who are young men searching for their own voices and marketing tools) I’ve stepped outside of my comfort zone, just enough to discover my marketing comfort zone.
I’ve done podcast interviews, written guest blogs, and discovered book reviewers who adored my accessibility and (thank goodness!) my book. I’ve answered questions about myself as a writer for author interviews, and have been planning an event for families with autism, as well as another event for teens who want to write in order to discover their voice.
Thanks to the support and ideas from Archway, who offer creative marketing tips that fit me and my book, along with author friends and other groups I’ve discovered while on my marketing quest, I’ve grown as a writer. I’ve grown, also, as a mom with ideas for her sons.
I knew that marketing my book, Spinning in Circles and Learning from Myself: A Collection of Stories that Slowly Grow Up, would help me figure out how I was most comfortable marketing myself, and I even suspected it would help me grow as a person.
I was given marketing strategies and ideas by the knowledgeable folks at Archway Publishing, and I started trying the ones that matched me most – which meant discovering what those were.
I discovered my marketing plan while marketing.
I also discovered more of myself.
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