A month of mixed emotions …

It’s been a funny old February.

Fun versus fear in equal measures.

50-50 (1)

 

Fun because it has brought back such lovely memories from last year; my debut As Weekends Go being shortlisted for Choc Lit’s Search for a Star competition, on Valentine’s day no less, and the whole buzz of the following few weeks when I learned I’d won and was offered my contract.

Fear, because fast forward a year and I’m sitting here in the midst of what some of my writing colleagues have hinted could be post-publication blues.

Sound familiar?

I do hope so, as I’m beginning to worry that there’s something wrong with me. I mean, I’m hugely grateful to be published, so too for the tremendous support I received from everyone on  launch day and beyond, and have had some fantastic feedback on As Weekends Go and some cracking reviews.  I’m also very much enjoying the eyebrow-raising research I’m doing for Book 2.

So why do I feel a little flat?

I think it’s partly down to something  I knew I’d have to face head on, particularly after publication, yet  almost three months on, still brings me out in a cold sweat just uttering the words …

Self-promotion.   

I try to be positive in everything I do. I thoroughly enjoy chatting online with all my writerly buddies, being part of such a supportive ‘club’ so to speak , and am never more comfortable than when I am singing someone else’s praises. Yet, when it comes to tooting the horn for my own novel, I cringe. Even setting up my own blog was a massive step for me, which luckily a good friend helped me with. I love blogging with The Romaniacs but it’s a collective thing, so feels more relaxed.

romaniac-logo

I’ve  taken part in several Q&As with fellow authors and bloggers whom I can’t thank enough for featuring me, as it has given me more confidence. Joke is, I’ve conducted many author interviews, myself, over the years, which  I’ve LOVED. Then again I’ve been the one asking the questions…

It has made me quite sad at times as, like every other author, I poured my heart and soul into my book, and feel really proud that I finished it, yet can’t seem to fully celebrate promoting it.

I’ve been watching and learning, so perhaps in time it will become less scary, feel more natural.

I certainly hope so as it’s playing havoc with my mojo and if there’s one thing I love doing, it’s writing!

Any thoughts, dear friends? If not, chocolate will do! (Preferably buttons of the giant variety ;))

CRsG0y6WEAADKlg

 

Love Jan X

 

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Posted on February 28, 2016, in Jan's Posts and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 39 Comments.

  1. I do know where you’re coming from, Jan. I love promoting other people’s books and will happily shout from the rooftops when a writer has something new on sale, or has done a great blog post, or whatever. When it comes to my own books, I find the whole thing totally embarrassing and wish I could just hide somewhere until the fuss dies down. I know it has to be done, and I do it to the best of my ability, but it feels wrong and difficult and, as you say, cringe-making. If it’s any consolation, I know lots of writers who feel the same way as we do. We just have to be brave and get on with it, and don’t, whatever you do, let anything dull your sparkle! x

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sharon, thanks so much for your lovely, supportive words. It’s so weird because you almost feel as if you’ve missed a chapter (excuse the pun!) – the ‘after’ bit, so to speak; what to expect, what to do and not to do. I keep thinking I should have been more prepared for the post-publication side, yet how can you be? It’s comforting to know I’m not alone! And sparkle on, I shall! 🙂 Xx

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  2. You are NOT alone – those post-contract blues can last longer than post natal ones I believe but with the same result – lovely new babies! xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As I’ve yet to get to the book publishing stage I can’t comment on the post publication blues but I can quite understand how scary the self-promotion stage must be. I want to get there, of course I do, but I know I’ll feel like you when it comes down to it. I’ll be coming to you for advice, Jan!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mags Cullingford

    Jan, have only now caught up with your post – I can so identify with how you feel, the embarrassment, the despondency. Whether your an author-publisher, or been taken on by a publisher, post publication there’s no way round promoting your book if you want to be noticed or hope for even a smidgeon of sales. All you can do is, keep going, and don’t neglect the next book you’re so wanting to finish.

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    • Thanks so much, Mags. It’s such a comfort to hear all the tips and nuggets of advice. I suppose it’s like anything that hauls you out of your comfort zone, isn’t it?! All part of the journey as they say. Appreciate your comments 🙂 Xx

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  5. You summed it up well! I don’t think it helps that we’re English and self promotion doesn’t come easily – I hear my mother telling me not to boast!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I think what Angela said is so true! 🙂 I find the promo aspect the hardest bit about being published. I go through phases of feeling reasonably confident, and then times when I just want to run and hide! I don’t know what the answer is, but it helps to know most people feel just the same! I’m so sorry it’s left you feeling low. I must say, I’ve been really enjoying your Q&As etc, and think the banner tweets you’ve created for As Weekends Go are wonderful – really attractive and eye-catching.

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    • Thank you, Clare. It definitely does help knowing how common it is for us to feel this way. I think because I’m comfortable promoting other people and interacting and having a good old laugh online, etc, all of which I love, it seems weird to feel so shy about championing my own work. I have Lizzie Lamb to thank for the banners, as she directed me towards Canva. com. I’d been admiring the various ways other writers promoted their work and knew I needed to do something. Always good to learn new things. Thanks for your support. 🙂 Xx

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  7. Oh, sweetheart, we all feel your pain. I think it’s something most of us loathe. And as for losing your mojo…. well, when you find yours could you see if mine’s lurking there with it? I honestly thought after Book 3 (plus novella) it would all fall into place but I’m trying to drag myself out of a massive wobble! Good luck Jan, all I can say is that you’re not alone. Cx

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    • Chris, thanks so much. Reading all these lovely replies has given me a lift in itself. I so want to crack on with Book 2, but you know what it;s like when you try and force the issue. It’s getting that right balance between promoting Book 1 and carrying on with my WIP. You’ve had so much on your plate, Chris, it’s no wonder your mojo has stalled. Shall we search for them together? (Over a massive great gin & tonic, perhaps?) 🙂 Xx

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  8. Hi Jan, I wish I lived just down the road from you. We could break out the chocolate buttons and talk this through. When New Romantics Press was launched in the autumn of 2012, we hardly did any promotion – we were too busy doing other things, like – erm, writing the next book. Hell – we didn’t even have a collective blog until lovely Margaret James advised us to get one, pronto! That was in Spring 2013 and I didn’t have my own blog until six months later. Things were a bit more laid back then (!) But now we know you have to promote yourself otherwise you won’t find new readers. I actually enjoy writing blogs – ok, shoot me now. But, I think the key is to write them about things OTHER than your books. I tell everyone who asks how I do it, to get a mobile phone and take loads of pictures and maybe start by producing a photo album of, say, a week in your writing life. That advertises your book in a round about kind of way. Right? Folk seem to like photos and less writing, so that might suit you. I’m giving a talk in Birmingham next weekend about how I got my last book to #1 best seller and social networking played a big part in that. You are a lovely, warm and supportive person, just be yourself and the followers will come . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  9. And BTW, I’ve had post publication blues for all of my books. Self ;publishing is especially demanding but once you get over it and the ideas start flowing – all will be well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lizzie, you’re an inspiration! I reckon if we were neighbours there would actually be a shortage of those ‘buttons’ 😀 Thanks, as ever, for your wise words and your supportive pep talks – they really do help. I suppose it’s like any new journey in life you take – you learn as you go. Thank you muchly 🙂 Xx

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  10. Ah, Jan – I’ve been out for the day and have only just caught up with this, but see from your replies that we all feel exactly the same! Wobble on, I say, just like the rest of us! I’m about to write a review for As Weekends Go, and what I liked best was the lovely warm voice of your main character. Who could resist her? For me, she was you!

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    • June, I’m so pleased I took the leap and posted this blog. I was worried it might sound a bit negative, but seeing the responses and how much other writers feel the same, I’m glad I didn’t chicken out. Thanks for your lovely words, and thanks in advance for your review. It is very much appreciated 🙂 Xx

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  11. Jan, the fact that you’re not one of this world’s trumpet blowers and pom-pom wavers is one of the reasons we love you! What you are doing, you’re doing brilliantly (love those banners you’re tweeting) and – when it all gets too much – there’s always an big army of us bloggers here to help you spread the word, and very happy to do so. Just keep writing lovely books like As Weekends Go! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anne, thanks so much for your lovely words of support and encouragement. I dithered over publishing this post as I didn’t want to come across as negative or ungrateful, but I’m glad I took the plunge as I can see that I’m definitely not alone. The friendship and support among authors/bloggers/readers really does make you feel proud. 🙂 Xx

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  12. Hi Jan
    I’m so sorry that you are feeling down especially as you are so supportive to is all. I think you need to focus on the fact that writing a book is an amazing achievement in itself so huge pat on the back for that. I totally understand how hard it must be to self promote so please just make the most of all of us bloggers who are here to help you. Maybe you should all promote under the Romaniacs so it doesn’t seem quite so personal.
    My advice is take a breather, eat some choc, drink some wine and do something enjoyable (non book related) them when you’re feeling totally relaxed, come back with the knowledge that you are amazing x x x

    Liked by 2 people

    • Annette, that’s so lovely – thank you. Wise words re taking a breather. I think that’s been half my problem, feeling pressured re the self-promo, when I probably need to chill out a bit more and stop stressing whether I’m doing too much or too little, etc, etc. It really has been a learning curve. One I wouldn’t change, but as you say, maybe focus on the positives more. I really appreciate your comments 🙂 Xx

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  13. Darling wobbly Jan … it’s all true and not exclusive to you at all, as you can see by the responses. As you plan your next novel, plan for Author Jan too. Just do one thing (even a tiny thing) every week, not necessarily to promote your book, to but highlight Jan Brigden, the writer! I was chatting to a lovely couple recently when my husband introduced me as the ‘world famous author Adrienne Vaughan’ then nipped out to the car and came back with one of my promo cards. I wanted to cringe but they loved it. (So a bit of team support helps too!)

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    • Oh, Adrienne, that did make me smile! Wobbly Jan! That really does sum it up perfectly. What you’ve said here makes such sense and has given me good food for thought. What a lovely thing for your husband to do (even though I KNOW I’d react exactly the same way as you did!) Even so, you’re right. I’ve been lucky that Dave is hugely supportive of me too. It certainly helps. Thanks so much for everything! 🙂 Xx

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  14. Hi Jan. This is a familiar feeling. It’s also true of people who complete PhDs and othe major projects. Just when you think you would feel elated, the opposite occurs. Ride with it and be kind to yourself. Time will sort it out. And as to promotion-angst, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to know what to do for the best. What works for one author, doesn’t always work for another so it’s good to try a range of strategies. I read somewhere that it’s the fourth book that causes people to sit up and take note. Don’t know why. Will let you know if it works when I get that far! x

    Liked by 2 people

    • Interesting stuff, Linda. On all fronts. It’s so weird how it gets us like that, isn’t it?! I really appreciate your suggestions and will try and cut myself some slack and as you say, ‘go with it’. You’re right about time being a ‘fixer’ as so often I’ve pondered things that seem massive great issues, either at the writing stage or the editing stage, then it passes and you move on, wondering why it caused you so much angst. Things always seem better when you sit on them for a while and then revisit. Thanks for your friendship & support 🙂 Xx

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  15. Ah, the wobble….I’m totally with you. Whether it be about promoting myself or (in the case of the bad reviews) my ability to write in the first place, I have (and still do) wobble regularly. You’re such a strong supporter of everyone else but you can see from this thread you have a lot of support behind you, too! I can only say be true to yourself, know you are not alone and keep on writing. They say the best sort of promotion is actually another book 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m going to rename us ‘wobbles R us’ – lol! Sounds a bit unflattering, but we know what we mean, don’t we?! That word has come up quite a few times on this thread. It’s the perfect description too. Thanks, Kathryn, for taking the time to comment. Wise words! And very much appreciated 🙂 Xx

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  16. Claire McComisky

    Jan, I’m so sorry you feel this way.You are such a supportive friend. I wish I could wave a magic wand and banish your worries.I can’t offer advice with regard to self promotion because I am a useless wimp and as yet haven’t found the courage to ‘put myself out there.’ And I can certainly identify with the whole easier to do it for others than yourself thing. I’m often amazed that writers I admire and whose writing I adore also feel the same way about self promo and struggle with self-doubt. Hopefully that knowledge will help newly published authors like yourself and those of us still aspiring towards publication realise that these feelings are normal and that most of us share something in common. Good luck, Jan, dig deep my friend and surprise yourself! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for your lovely words of support, Claire. I know you and I have touched on this subject before, and you’re right when you say we are far from alone. The writing community certainly knows how to rally round one another. Really appreciate your comments 🙂 Xx

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  17. Oh, Jan, I know exactly how you feel. Usually when I plan to say something about Tapestry on social media I bottle it because I think “who’s going to want to hear about this again”. It’s funny though, because I like to read the reminders of what others’ have been up to. I think you’re doing really well and I’m looking forward to book 2. 🙂 xx

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    • Elle, I remember us touching on this subject before. ‘Bottle it’ is the very term I’ve used when describing to Dave (Mr B) how I’d like to/want to post something on a forum or on Twitter about my book but then so easily talk myself out of it all in the space of a minute! 😀 I really appreciate your lovely supportive comments. Keep writing (as you say to me! 😉 ) Xx

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  18. I am in the same position. I self published my book last year, and have it in paperback this year, but am floundering on the promotion bits. I even feel like I should just buy copies to give to my friends instead of xpecting them to buy one!

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    • Tonii, believe me, I hear you! What are we like?! 😀 It really is a project of two halves, isn’t it? The pride and excitement of finishing our novels and seeing them ‘out there’ contrasted with wanting to run screaming to the hills when it comes to shouting about it. Thanks so much for your comments. We definitely are NOT alone! 🙂 Xx

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  19. Ah, Jan, you can do it! Have you come across Siobhan Daiko? She has a lovely blog interviewing writers (both self and traditionally published), and is very sweet and non-scary. Her website is https://siobhandaiko.wordpress.com/. Good luck! Happy to retweet anything you’d like me to…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Carlie, thanks so much for your lovely supportive comments and for the link. I shall take a look. I had a peep at your own blog earlier on. Looks great! Thanks for the follow on Twitter too. Lovely to connect with you here 🙂 Xx

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