In 2015, failure, especially when it comes to my personal book marketing, is not going to exist.
I have two books to release this year, one fiction, one nonfiction; one is traditionally published one is self-published. One will have some publicity generated through the publishing house, one I’m going solo for. Both are gambles. I have no idea how well they will do. I have a lengthy and ambitious plan to market them — and I don’t have a ton of marketing experience. But I believe I will not fail. Why? I’ve just decided that FAILURE isn’t a word that’s going to be allowed in my vocabulary. It’s going to be foreign to me as a concept in these marketing adventures. It just won’t exist.
How do I banish the concept of failure from my marketing life?
I start by anticipating good things. I anticipate surprises. I assume people like me.
I leave all my past failures in the dustbin. I remember how the people who are the most likely to remind me of my failures have always lied to me –I was a success all along and they hid it from me.
I see, perhaps for the first time, that my fear of failure is far worse that the actual failure. Fear of failure is paralyzing. If all I think about is what if this happens, and what if that happens, I’ll be too freaked out to do anything at all.
I also see, perhaps for the first time, that my weaknesses are actually secret weapons. I understand that my flaws and faults, if I reveal them to the world, have far more power than when they are hidden. People are more attracted to me and what I have to say if I’m humble and honest about my mistakes. While my strengths my open doors for me and leave good impressions, it is my weakness that shows my humanity and my authenticity. People like me for my strengths, but they love me, devotedly, for my weakness.
I understand that momentum and movement is in itself success. My marketing to-do list is long and ambitious. It is unlikely that I will be able to hit all the points on it. But if I tackle it every single day, just the momentum alone will keep me encouraged and excited.
I understand and most of my fears are generated by lies. My fears are always trying to tell me that I will fail, that I’m not good enough, that no one is interested. But if I categorically conclude that every fear I entertain is really a liar. Then what is the truth? The truth is that I can do this. I can succeed.
I understand that much of what I want to do I can’t control. Much of marketing success is an unpredictable cocktail of synchronicity and serendipity. How can I predict being in the right place at the right time? But what I can control is looking at every little opportunity — say speaking at my church — as a chance to be a rock star (even to myself). The more people I meet, the more I work in my strengths, the more authentic I am, the more doors will open for me somewhere.
I also know that my success can’t be measured necessarily by sales numbers. I think that we are very deceived as writers if we choose to look at that number only for our significance and measurements of success. The truth is that a monetary measure of success is the only one we have no control over. How can I fail at something that I can’t control? I can’t. Therefore I can’t fail. I could fail to have a nice display at book fairs and community events, but I succeeded in that. I could fail to meet the other writers around me, but I’ve been doing that for months. I could fail to have contact information, like nice business cards , but I had that done. In every opportunity, either in real life or online, if I give it all I’ve got, then I am a success.
I acknowledge that there will be mistakes. There will be misunderstandings. There will be omissions and flaws. There will be errors and revisions and edits to make. But none of those are failures. There will be times with the needs of people will step into the way of the needs of the task at hand and will slow down the progress, but that too, is not failure. That’s a detour, that often can’t be helped and detours like these still can’t lay claim to your identity and your soul.If I run out of time, I am not a failure. If I choose family over work, I am not a failure. If I have interruptions, most definitely not a failure. I am only a failure if I allow lies and fears to bound me. If I choose to give failure no value in my life, then it will not be in me and it will not be in my future.
Let’s make failure as small as possible. Let’s take away it’s definitions and it’s power. Let’s ignore it, and choose not to leave it to swell and crowd out truths about who we are.
My list is lengthy and ambitious. I’m going to have to do things I’ve never done, talk to people I’ve never spoken to, write words for new readers, shake a lot of hands, take a chances. I may not sell a million books, but I will give it my best.