Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Support System

Im afraid of heights. As a child, the thought of climbing the scary metal ladder-looking thing in the school gymnasium paralyzed me. In fact, thinking about it today, I remember the feeling of holding the cold metal bars in my sweaty hands and I can taste the fear again.

My poor gym teacher was determined to get me on the monkey bars. He even allowed me time away from class to try to get me to climb to the top. I got so annoyed with myself that twice I tried climbing the igloo-shaped apparatus in the playground. Needless to say, those attempts were the least successful of all, and left me clinging for life while a classmate went to get the teacher to help coax me down.
What finally helped me climb up and then over? I had a team of cheerleaders encouraging me. With a patient gym teacher (sorry to say I dont remember his name), and classmates who encouraged instead of laughed, I finally was able to make it.
When youre writing and self-publishing a book, it can sometimes feel like youre trying and failing at overcoming a childhood fear. Its essential that you have a support system, your own cheerleaders, who not only believe in you, but can be relied on when you need an opinion or advice.
Why have cheerleaders?
For moral support. When youre working long hours at your day job, and spending your free nights and weekends writing a book, its nice to know theres someone who believes in you and is looking forward to seeing your success. When youre nervous and worried about whether your book will be successful, they will be there to help you envision a positive outcome. If you get overwhelmed or frustrated and really need to vent, your cheerleaders will be there to let you release some steam. A close, trusted friend or a family member is usually a great person to have on your squad. When you reach a milestone that you want to celebrate, theyll share in your joy and even help spread the word!

For advice. You may know other authors who have written a book, and maybe even some who have self-published their book. They can be a great sounding board when you need opinions or advice on the decisions youre making during the writing and publishing process, whether it comes to reading them a portion of the book, or getting their opinion on potential cover designs. This person could be a fellow author, a mentor, or a colleague. Colleagues can give very constructive feedback, especially if youre writing a non-fiction book that falls within your shared area of expertise.
For a different point of view. Your support system can offer you a variety of opinions on your writing style, the book, your promotional efforts, and more. Try to choose people with different backgrounds who will bring different opinions and experiences to the table. Ask them to be honest with you, even if their opinions will differ from your own. Although you want people to be in your court and make you feel good about your writing and publishing efforts, its important for you to get honest feedback so you can use it constructively.
If youre working with a publishing support provider, the team working with you on your book can provide all of the above!
Dont get down if some of your cheerleaders sometimes disagree with you or give an opinion that youre not happy with. Remember that youve asked for their support, and also for their honesty. Sometimes the people closest to you may ask the toughest questionsand thats because they care about you and have your best interests in mind. Your family especially may have all kinds of responses and questions when you decide to publish your first book: support, praise, excitement. Be prepared for the 5 w questions, but also for the inevitable doubt and complaints about how much time youre dedicating to the project. Despite all of that, when they see the results, they will be proud of you, excited for you, and will want to tell everyone they know that youve published your first book.
So get up on those monkey bars and climb! Your team is here to cheer you on. As for me, Ill stay down here on the ground, to cheer you on. (Once was enough for me, thanks!)

Angela DeCaires is the Marketing & Communications Manager for BookLogix Publishing Services. She oversees Corporate Communications for BookLogix, and also assists BookLogix’s authors in the publishing process. Angela’s background includes experience in public relations, writing, broadcasting and journalism, having held positions in public relations and working for a number of years as a news writer/TV news producer.

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