If you follow me on social media you may have seen a photo of me with my actual book in my actual hands. Which as you can imagine is making my book feel ever so real in a way it hasn’t before.
But what I’ve noticed as I march onward towards Publication day (24 June available on Amazon in case you’re wondering), is that as I become bolder and more accustomed to the thought that actual living human beings are going to read my book, other different, yet equally stomach-lurching thoughts occur to me.
It’s slowly dawning on me that publishing the book is only the start … it’s like when I started writing the book, I didn’t realise that was only the start or when I finished the book and thought about finding an agent that was only the start.
Out Louders it seems like it’s always only the start.
Because now here comes the realisation that I also need to PUBLICISE the book. At first I thought as you may by now have noticed I often do, I reverted to my go-to, default comfort blanket – I could simply publicise the book a bit – you know, a couple of blogs, a few nice pics of me on Instagram holding the book, maybe even a talk at a personal development event. Then I could just resume my life and get back to how things were before I’d published a book at all.
So far, so anonymous- phew!
Maximise the moment
But it turns out, of course, that’s not really going to cut it if I want to maximise this moment. If in fact, I want more people to read my book than just my lovely friends and family, then what I need is a concerted and strategic publicity campaign… and what that basically means is not just a pleasant, little spotlight but instead something that looks -and feels – like a massive, meteoric, pyrotechnic explosion heading my way that I’m scared is going to light up every particle of my being, my history, my life, my ME.
And just like that meteor which hurtles through the stratosphere to land slap bang on your head, once it starts there’s not a thing you can do about it.
Oh, how I do like to frighten myself.
You see, as so often happens in life we are sent what we need to learn … so I’ve written a book about being Out Loud and here I am again wanting to recede back in to the shadows and avoid the meteor of potential articles and interviews and reviews. Because you know what? It’s all so exposing.
(Note to reader – I do realise how delusional that sounds and that there’s no need to hire a press suite at Claridges just yet).
At which point, I ask myself is this one of the problems with Out Loud? Is this why people in the public eye fight so hard to stay private? Is this why some people simply can’t cope with it and run away and hide or worse?
An Assault On The Psyche
I see how even the thought of this unrelenting, seemingly uncontrollable, searching and voracious meteor can feel like an assault on your psyche, on your very identity.
How can I be truly Out Loud yet still keep a sense of who I am? Paradoxically in the middle of this little storm of doubt I tell myself it will be ok because the public Out Loud author me is not the real me.
I expect you can see the irony of that little thought – my book is all about being yourself in a way that is deeper, more true than ‘authentic ‘ and yet here I am thinking up ways to present a different construct of me to the world.
Duh! Isn’t that exactly what my book is saying we shouldn’t do?
I write in the book about my wish to stay in control, to try and minimise risk, above all my want to stay safe. As I approach the top of the publication mountain which I assumed once reached, I could simply and safely walk down again, it’s becoming clear that actually there’s a whole other mountain looming up behind it. And it’s much, much bigger and more challenging than I ever imagined. And there’s probably any number of mountains behind that one waiting to be climbed as well.
A bit like life if you decide to live it.
There’s always another mountain to climb
You know it’s true I could turn back and quietly return to base. Actually, I could do that at any moment I like and I suppose that’s a comfort. But the truth is I’m different now – that publicity mountain looks mighty scary but I’m choosing to be Out Loud. What that means is I’m not going to hide from you how I’m feeling. I’m not scared to tell you it is scary over here and I’m going to climb the mountain anyway – because I’m curious to see where being Out Loud, truly Out Loud, truly myself and not a facsimile of myself will take me.
I’ve written before about how my book is for frightened people – people who want to express themselves but are scared by what may ensue if they share their work. I’m that person too and my book is my own medicine. What I’m learning again and again , is that the writing of the book is the product of my self expression and it would be fine to leave it there. But like with all medicines you have to complete the full course to get the benefit. The sharing of the book, the talking about the book, the communication of its message, that is the healing part.
There are probably some follow up treatments too because as we know it’s only ever the start but for now I’ll carry on taking my medication. I’ll carry on being Out Loud and I recommend you give the medicine a go too as I can already feel the benefit. In ways I could never have imagined. You see, that’s all part of the magic of being Out Loud – and just so you know, a little bit of self belief, courage and closing your eyes and jumping are going to help a lot as well.
Out Louders, I suspect you have your own medicine which helps you in your quest to be fully Out Loud. Please share what helps you most when you are feeling a little down in the dumps or not quite yourself or like you’d be better off lying in a darkened room with the covers over your head. Or that might just be your remedy – whatever works for you is the Out Loud way.
Some beautiful realisations there Rona, many of which resonate with me hugely.
I’ve described writing my own book as expensive therapy & felt that I could have stopped at publication, however as I read your blog I realised that’s not the case. Publication is only ever the start & it’s talking about it & living it which makes it real.
You & your book will change lives, I know it. And that makes it worth every challenge doesn’t it?
Yes, I agree dear Lesley, it’s so important when things feel quite scary to re-connect with the message and purpose of your work. That really helps me to get over myself. xx
“It’s only ever the start”
Oh how scary those words seem, and how true – and in a weird way, how exciting. As is my wont, I’m not thinking beyond the present moment – so I haven’t had a single thought about how to promote a book I haven’t yet written… Another friend, who has recently published a book, has started posting updates on social media – and, heaven help me, I’m finding it rather annoying!! Goodness knows how I shall feel when I’m in the same position. Based on previous performance, I’ll probably keep quiet about it and wonder why nobody bought it
Or I could follow your lead, Rona, and be Out Loud – starting right now, because, wherever we are, it’s only ever the start.
Yes, absolutely Julia. Wherever we are, it’s only ever the start. It’s interesting about your friend who’s annoying you – I guess it would be useful to investigate what it is that’s triggering you? Also please to remember that being Out Loud is a personal thing so what’s true for me might not necessarily be true for you – on the other hand if you feel like you’re holding back unnecessarily then definitely this might be the moment to step in to the light. xx
You are such an inspiration
You are MY inspiration
Thank you so much! xx