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RandiLynnMrvos

Thursday, October 18, 2018



Losing and Winning 

I was totally bummed out and feeling low.  I was losing money on book sales.  

How does an author LOSE money instead of make money selling her book?  For me, the answer was giveaways.  

Professor, columnist, author Jane Friedman says, "Giveaways (or freebies) are popular for good reason; they’re a classic, frictionless way to make people aware of your work."  She also states, "The giveaway is one of the more powerful tools in the new author’s arsenal because it’s a way to get attention when you may not have anything else going for you."

Giveaways however, did not work for me.  I gave away copies of Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show-and-Tell as a contest prize and as a gift in a silent action.  I also gave free copies of my books to catalog companies, school book fairs, and other businesses in order to create attention and drive book sales.  And this starting adding up.

I decided to give up this practice.  No more giveaways.  I was stick-a-fork-in-me done with losing money.

And then an opportunity arose to have my book considered for the Kentucky Book Festival (which meant relinquishing another book.)

The Kentucky Book Festival is a week-long celebration honoring reading and writing in Kentucky.  Now in its second year in Lexington (my hometown), the 37th annual Kentucky Book Fair is the grand finale of the week.  This festivity attracts writers of all genres and patrons who share a passion and interest in writing and reading.  More than 140 authors will attend the Kentucky Book Fair to promote and support literacy, including Silas House (Clay's Quilt), Bobbie Ann Mason  (In Country), and Wendell Berry (Jayber Crow).

After giving away close to 20 books (well over $200), I was ambivalent about having my book evaluated.  This did not guarantee an invitation.  But, I felt it was important to send my book to the committee.  This could be an awesome opportunity to introduce readers to Maggie and her rescue dog.

During the waiting period, I grew doubtful of hearing good news and thought more and more about the difficulties of being a published writer.  Being published is supposed to be totally joyful, but for me, there were times when it was not always a bed of roses.  The more I considered the struggles, the sadder I got knowing:

  • Book expenses exceeded revenue
  • Page views on my blogs were not as high as I'd like
  • Responses from agents for new picture book submissions had been nonexistent

Don't misunderstand.  In spite of these disappointments, I feel lucky and blessed to have the opportunity to write.  Writing is still one of my biggest joys in life.  But it's hard to hold on to the good feelings all of the time.  Especially when I had just given away another book.  I had lost more money.  What were the chances that this "investment" was going to pan out?

Doubt and worry seeped in and gnawed at me.  Feeling discouraged, I released a question into the universe:  Is writing still the correct career choice or is it time to move on?

Silly as it may seem, I asked for a sign—something, anything that might give me an idea if I should continue being a writer.  And then I went back to writing.  In only a few hours, this email appeared in my inbox:


"Dear Randi,

On behalf of the Kentucky Book Festival Committee of Kentucky Humanities, it is my pleasure to invite you to participate in the  annual Kentucky Book Festival (KBF), presented by Kentucky Humanities and our sponsors." 

I was floored.  This was unbelievable good news.  And the timing!  The timing couldn't have been more perfect.

This situation got me thinking about how we should turn to the universe more often if we have questions or if we are troubled.

"When you need to know, you will. There will be no confusion or doubt about what is being said. Seek out this kind of relationship with the universe and it will most certainly support it. Don’t allow yourself to get part of the message and end up more lost. Trust in the source, within and outside of yourself. Signs are not meant to be ambiguous, even if they appear to be so at first. Seek and find, then receive fully, in order to find your truth." ~ The Chopra Center.

And so my decision is clear.  Moving on to a different career is not part of the plan.  Despite the doubts and disappointments, despite feeling low about marketing a book, and despite losing money, I was shown that my footsteps should follow the writer's path.


Kentucky Book Festival
at the Alltech Arena at
the Kentucky Horse Park
Saturday, Nov 17, 2018
from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

✌ and 

Comments: 
"Great Stuff. Congratulations!"  M. Cook
"Congrats, Randi!"  C. Phelps
"Congratulations on the Kentucky Book Festival" A. Miller Hudson

Thursday, October 4, 2018















Marvelous musings and the mind-boggling journey of marketing a book


The Benefits of Gratitude  

I like hearing the words "thank you."  Don't you?  Those two words make me feel good. 

And yet, those two words bring back a hurtful memory.  

Many years ago, I took vacation leave from my job and drove 75 miles to take care of a relative recovering from surgery.  It was my pleasure and honor to care for him.  But, when it was time for me to travel home, I never heard I'm glad you came, you were helpful, thank you for being here.  Maybe he felt that I was obligated to help out.  Or maybe, he didn't feel well and just forgot to thank me.

On a more upbeat note, a fellow writer and protégé has kept in touch with me for over ten years.  He writes to tell me of his rejections, acceptances, and goals.  In all of his emails he expresses thankfulness for the help I had given him in the past and for the help I still give him.  And this means the world to me.

I never fail to notice gratitude.  My husband thanks me after every meal.  Even if it's just spaghetti and meatballs.  Even if it's leftovers.  He doesn't have to, but he does.

Our daughter is grateful.  She thanks us when she gets a surprise package at college.  She always writes thank you notes to relatives for birthday presents.

My cat Ozzie expresses gratitude.  After he's been fed, of course.  Ozzie shows his appreciation by rubbing his lips across my hand and marking me with his scent, telling me that I'm his.

I like to express gratitude, too and writing has given me many opportunities to be thankful—when someone critiques my work, when somebody submits to Kid's Imagination Train, when a writer asks me to guest blog, when an editor publishes my work, and the list goes on.  
  
When people do something nice for me, I like to write a thank you note, send flowers, or bring them something sweet to eat.  And after being published, I found there are a lot of people deserving of a thank you:  
     
  •  My publisher
  •  My agent
  •  Reviewers 
  •  Fans who came to the book signing
  •  Shop owners who placed a book order  
  •  Bloggers who promoted my book 
  •  People who ordered my book
  •  Editors that accepted an article I had   written on publishing a book
  •  Bookstore managers and book sellers
  •  My book launch team
  •  Business people who helped me market   my book
  •  Media specialists who booked a school   visit
Gratitude is easy to do and it can transform your life.

Amy Morin, psychotherapist and author states that gratitude has been proven to open doors to more relationships and can improve physical and psychological health, enhance empathy, reduce aggression, improve sleep, and increase self-esteem.  She believes we can cultivate gratitude. Rather than complain about the things you think you deserve, focus on all that you have

Grateful people have been found to be blessed with more happiness.

As reported by Robin S. Stern, Associate Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and Robert A Emmons, Ph.D. Dept. of Psychology, University of California for the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, "Grateful people experience more joy, love, and enthusiasm, and they enjoy protection from destructive emotions like envy, greed, and bitterness.  Gratitude also reduces lifetime risk for depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders, and it helps people entangled with those and other problems to heal and find closure.  It can give you a deep and steadfast trust that goodness exists, even in the face of uncertainty or suffering gratitude to mental health and life satisfaction." 

Stern and Emmons said it perfectly, "Gratitude isn’t just an emotion that happens along, but a virtue we can cultivate. Think of it as something you practice as you might meditation or yoga.  Gratitude practice begins by paying attention. Notice all the good things you normally take for granted." 

When you practice gratitude, it can inspire people to acts of kindness.  It has the power to strengthen bonds with other people. 

There are countless ways to say thank you.  All you have to do is to take note when someone is kind and express thankfulness.  No one gets tired of those two little words.  

✌ and