My Book is Published, Now What?

culture of numbers

These words, they urged me to somehow live them.

Since my small hand cupped my first #2, painted-yellow pencil, I’ve experienced life through story. Stories to entertain me, yes, but my mind also craved stories that taught life lessons (although I couldn’t comprehend or articulate that at five years of age.)

There’s something about story that somehow makes our lives better, easy to live.

It seems only natural that after (way too) many years of traipsing across the country in various marketing positions, I became a storyteller myself.

Matthew West is responsible. Well, somewhat—he did play an important role. About four years ago, Matthew released this song that flat messed me up. The song, The Motions, was about how we oftentimes live this complacent, ordinary life, how we fall into these stale daily routines unaware.

The song uncovered some stalled dreams, desires I had long ago tucked away.

For months, those dreams were stirred fresh. Seems each time I dropped into the driver’s seat and clicked on the radio, I heard, “just okay is not enough,” and “I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking, ‘What if I had given everything instead of going through the motions?’”

So that’s how I spend my days now—giving “everything I have.” As a blogger and author, I share heart-stories that bring hope to women when their days are hard. Don’t we all have those hard days?

And that stalled dream, the one of crafting a traditionally published book that would make its way into the tender hearts of other women, it recently became a reality. About six weeks ago, When A Woman Finds Her Voice: Overcoming Life’s Hurts & Using Your Story to Make a Difference was released.

We shot streamers, and I won’t hide it, we shed a few joyful tears.

But then, reality.

Within a couple of days a very real responsibility leaned in, one of partnering with the publisher to now sell thousands of these books. And gut-honest here, I’m tired, because I’ve just spent the last six months sacrificing many nights and family events to pen this book. And while the book is packed with hope, it wasn’t an easy write.

There are those times a cord of hope runs a scarlet red.

Now I love painting hope thick, and I’m a connector who loves meeting women far and wide, but to feel the weight of sharing a book that I authored with others, and to (over and over again) suggest they purchase it? Not so much.

Soon I fell into conversation with a wise and trusted friend (who also happens to be a best-selling author), and we uncovered my true heart to market this book.

Serve the reader.

Yes, that’s right, serve, not manipulate. In a world of hype among thousands of new books released every year and a responsibility to a publisher who risked a partnership with me, my goal is to find my reader and serve her. To engage heart-to-heart with love, support, prayer, and encouragement. To be a trusted resource.To put her first.

From that sincere offering of mine, she can decide if she wants more of my hope-filled words.

There’s this awesome conference for bloggers, Allume, and recently I sat alongside hundreds of other storytellers as Ann Voskamp brought the room to a pondering silence when she posed the question, “In a culture of numbers, how do you kneel?”

This is it for me; this is how I’m learning to kneel. I’m feeding this desire, nurturing and cultivating this servant-heart in the hopes it will defeat the anxious fingers that numbers tempt.

How about you? Who is your reader, and what are some specific ways you can serve them?

15 Replies to “My Book is Published, Now What?”

  1. Jo Ann—-So beautifully written, and so true to my experience as well. As I get ready to launch my next book in a month, already the butterflies are beginning (though it is my ninth, the pressure seems only to mount.) I arrive at the same place. Trust. Kneel. And serve. Thank you, Jo Ann, for these excellent words, which I will commit (again) to memory.

    1. Oh Leslie, that encourages me in a twisted sort of way. Wink. But to think you are on your ninth book and the same butterflies that visit me make their way to you. I love our shared motivation to kneel.

      Rich blessings, {and much success on your upcoming book!}

    1. I get that Christine. So get that. In all things, let us learn to trust though, no? 🙂 Ann Voskamp’s talk was such an encouragement to me. I think you can maybe still access it at Worth a shot. They had them up {for free} for a while.

  2. Inspiring words, Jo Ann. I’m not anywhere near the book-published-phase, however, your perspective is a great encouragement as I persevere and stay the course. Staying on my knees, whether literally or in the spirit, is the place of connection and sustenance, that’s for sure. Thank you!

  3. Dear Jo Ann,
    I really appreciate your words and perspective that you express here. I can personally testify that I have been blessed, comforted, strengthened and encouraged by not only your book, but your website and most especially the community of women that I have connected with through you.
    It has been used of God in my life. I really appreciate and respect that I have been invited to join in as I am able and called to participate, but I have not felt marketed or manipulated, just included. I also respect that you focus on helping women connect with other women and not just with yourself.
    Thank you and bless you,

    1. Thank you Susan for your kind and encouraging words. They warm a writer’s heart this morning. And I’m so very thankful you are in community with us!

  4. I’m right there with you this month, as my book just released. I do want to sell as many copies as I can–like you say, it’s a partnership with the publisher–but I don’t want to inundate my friends and family with “buy my book!” It’s a balance, and one I’m not sure I’ve got right yet.

  5. Jo Ann, my friend, do not feel anxious, because you do and I quote “engage heart-to-heart with love, support, prayer, and encouragement”. And you do provide “a trusted resource”. Through allowing me to be on your launch team and reviewing your book, I have learned so much about who am I and because of this journey, I have developed a new perspective, on my personal relationship with our Lord. I do not consider myself, a manipulated consumer of the marketing part of the publishing business. Quite the opposite, as I try to promote the message in your book and encourage others to buy it. 🙂

    1. You are precious indeed, Debie. And it’s been a JOY to connect heart to heart with you friend. Thank you for spreading this hope-message of ours — you are such a blessing!

  6. I love the personal story behind Matthew West’s song, The Motions! And I love Ann Voskamp’s question, “In a culture of numbers, how do you kneel?” For me, I tell my stories to encourage other people to tell the stories that matter most to them. And I think that’s what you did today in this beautiful post, Jo Anne. Blessings!

    1. Me too, Karen! Love his story, and love how he too draws out those stories from our hearts. And I love your passion to reach your readers–you do it beautifully.

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