The Professional Writer

Okay, don’t laugh.  I’ve had three romantic comedies published in the last seven years, but I discovered something along the way.  As I struggled recently to become a more “professional” writer and to take my writing career more seriously, I realized I always took the actual writing seriously.  What I never took seriously and was never terribly professional about was the business side.  The marketing.  The get out there and SELL SOME BOOKS!  B-o-r-i-n-g.
 
But now I’ve decided there’s no point in continuing to write fiction if I can’t sell it, so I have to be more professional about it.  So for my latest book, A MONTH FROM MIAMI, I have a marketing plan.  A strategy.  Ideas.  One of them was to sit outside the Starbucks where I’ve worked part-time for five years and do impromptu booksignings.  To know me is to love me, and after five years in the same store, a lot of people know me.  Or I thought they did.  Boy, did I have my eyes opened this morning.
 
Without my green apron and a three-foot expanse of counter in front of me, it turns out, I’m invisible.  People I’ve served coffee to every morning for two or three years walked by my table without a glance or a hello.  They didn’t even stop for the free gingerbread!  I flagged a few of them down before they got too far just to say hi.  Luckily none of them had a heart attack when they realized it was me, dressed like a normal every day person behind a table with my books.
 
How many people have said to me lately “I didn’t know you write.”  Of course they didn’t and why would they?  Imagine all the things I don’t know about them that might surprise me.  That they keep polo ponies or model for Vogue in their spare time.  
 
And honestly, I have to admit, I was not in the mood to go sign books today, but I made myself do it because if you’re going to be a professional, you have to do things you don’t particularly want to do when you don’t particularly feel like doing it.  I learned this from my husband who goes off to his job every day even when he doesn’t particularly feel like it.  He’s a professional and he gives his all whether he “feels” like it or not.
 
So I sold a few books, handed out a few bookmarks, planted a few seeds.  I did what I set out to do whether I felt like it or not.  Ooh, I feel so professional now.

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