How to Make a Life, book number one by the 70-year old author, celebrates its first anniversary. What a learning year! By external measures it did OK: won an award, received a thank you note from His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s office, was feted on two book tours across four states, was featured in 30 presentations on panels and presentations by all of my family members and an additional 15 Tibetan American friends, and was taped for Wisconsin Public TV, Wisconsin Public Radio and North Carolina Public Radio.
Friends in Texas told me they woke to my voice on their WPTV cable channel at 3 in the morning – that’s when stations broadcast less famous authors.
Two big lessons: #1 marketing is really tough.
Skills to write a book have little in common with skills necessary to sell a book. It’s heartless and cut-throat out there. Bookstores aren’t interested in last year’s releases or low-selling issues and take the tiny profit for themselves; there’s no money in presenting; many places won’t even let an author sell her book after her cheerful, free presentation.
Thank goodness I didn’t stumble on writing books earlier in my life. Except for a few high flying, Nobel- and Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, there’s little green or glory in book publishing.
#2, closer to my original goals, has getting to better know the Tibetan diaspora community, seeing others delight in my family’s remarkable story, presenting with them and hearing more stories, and attending rich, shimmering Wisconsin Tibetan Association events
So I note the one-year anniversary in the most important way: put its date atop a new page and continue work on book #2, a collection of travel essays. Work flows on. Thanks for sharing the journey.