The Dip or the Dead-End?

My guest today is Mary Gottschalk, author of Sailing Down the Moonbeam and most recently, A Fitting Place. Mary shares her insights into marketing and the challenges marketing presents to writers today. I encourage you to visit Mary’s blog and to take a look at her books. Mary is an excellent writer and someone I look to for guidance in many ways.
Now let’s welcome, Mary.


Back in the days when I was a financial consultant to multi-national corporations, I loved Seth Godin’s little tome called The Dip.  In it, Godin offered a way to deal with that awful feeling of being ”stuck” … with those days when you’re wondering why on earth you’re doing whatever it is you’re doing.

Godin, a popular management consultant in the corporate world, draws a distinction between “a temporary setback that will get better if you keep pushing” (the Dip) and a situation that “will never get better, no matter how hard you try” (the Cul-de-Sac or dead-end).

I find Godin’s wisdom relevant for writers, particularly for indie authors who are laboring in the field, trying one trick after another to market their books, with varying degrees of success.

Even as I was still in the writing stages of my novel, A Fitting Place, I found myself resenting the seemingly endless hours I spent on social media, garnering information about titles and book blurbs and covers and printing options and, of course, marketing strategies. Pundits (social media people, mostly) kept telling me how useful this information would be. I had no reason not to believe them, but I wanted to be writing, not making lists of websites to contact and contests to enter.

I grew grumpier with every passing day.  I abhor repetitive tasks. The ever-growing list of to-do’s made it almost impossible to enjoy a bike ride or read a book—assuming I actually found time to get on a bike or pick up a book.

Even more, I hated the idea of asking strangers to do something for me.  This quirk goes back a long way.  At age 7, I was the only one in my troupe who failed to sell her quota of Girl Scout cookies.  That pattern followed me throughout a successful career.  In the early years, I never had to send out resumes because I had mentors who believed in me and opened doors on my behalf.  In the later years as a consultant, word-of-mouth recommendations from satisfied clients meant I never had to advertise.

As a consequence, I was woefully ill-prepared by both temperament and training for the kind of self-promotion that an indie writer needs to be successful.

We’ve all heard, of course, that you’ll be more successful if you focus on things that you are good at as well as passionate about.  Marketing failed on both counts.

At the same time, I didn’t like the idea of being a quitter.

Should I just buckle down and do the marketing tasks, regardless of how unpleasant they seem? Was this a dip that I could forge through, eventually developing the marketing skills to generate significant sales?  Or was this a cul-de-sac? Would I spend days and weeks on a repetitive series of tasks I hated, with little to show for my efforts?

What Godin’s little book offered was a way of thinking it through.  What I soon realized was that my measure of success with A Fitting Place is not how many books I sell or how many contests I win.  It is the simple pleasure of having a reader tell me that my novel made him or her think differently about the complexity of human relationships, about the need to break down social stereotypes about gender, about the importance of taking responsibility for your own decisions.  It is the delight of sharing life experiences with book clubs and writing groups.  And of course, it’s always nice to be told that A Fitting Place is a “page turner.”

From that perspective, I already know that my novel is successful.  Selling another 1,000 or 50,000 books will not materially increase my level of satisfaction.

An intensive marketing campaign would almost certainly be a dead-end rather than a dip.

With Godin’s help, I have begun to get some balance back in my life.  I now have time to take a philosophy class, to go for a bicycle ride, and last but not least, to dig into my waist-high “to be read” pile.

I would love to hear how you’re dealing with challenges of marketing.

Meet Mary:

DSC_4440-Edit_2-2Mary has made a career out of changing careers.

She spent nearly thirty years in the financial markets, first in New York, and then in New Zealand and Australia, eventually returning to New York.

Along the way, she dropped out several times. In the mid-1980’s, at age 40, Mary and her husband Tom embarked on the three-year sailing voyage that is the subject of her memoir, SAILING DOWN THE MOONBEAM. When the voyage ended, she returned to her career in finance, but dropped out again to provide financial and strategic planning services to the nonprofit community.

AFittingPlace_FrontCover_3.5In her latest incarnation, she is a full time writer. Her first novel, A FITTING PLACE, was released in May, 2014.  She lives in Des Moines, Iowa.

Links:

http://marycgottschalk.com/home/

http://twitter.com/marycgottschalk

http://www.facebook.com/mary.gottschalk.9

Amazon:

A Fitting Place – http://amzn.to/1m57778

Sailing Down the Moonbeam – http://www.amazon.com/Sailing-Down-Moonbeam-Mary-Gottschalk/dp/0979799724

Defining Friendship in Today’s World

Today I’m visiting with my friend, Mary Gottschalk, on her blog with a look at the topic of friendship in today’s world and how we define it within our social existence of networks, life, and more. Won’t you come join Mary and me to discuss this ever-changing definition?


Henri Nouwen

Henri Nouwen’s quote defines the foundation of a friendship. In looking at online definitions of the word “friendship,” they are many. Not one encompasses the qualities necessary to move from “being friends” to a true and lasting friendship.

The definition found in Urban Dictionary is worth reading and understanding as it relates to today’s ever-growing cybernetic society:

“Something that is much underrated in our society. Friendship is actually a form of love (here I’m not talking exclusively about erotic love). It’s not a lesser form of love than erotic love, only a different form of love. In fact, the ancient Greeks had a word, “phileos”, more or less equating to fraternal/brotherly love (friendship). …” [read more here]

With the birth and exponential growth of social media, we use new words to define or describe friendships and how they are created. As the 2000s rolled by, social media networks burgeoned and we began to meet new people online.

(Read the rest here …)

Upcoming Guest Posts, Interviews & Book Reviews

  • On Thursday, September 4th,Marie Abanga visits with me as I interview Marie about writing her memoir, My Unconventional Loves: My Hurts, My Adulteries, My Redemption and the struggles she overcame. I met Marie when she visited this blog and left a comment. I knew upon reading her book and learning more about her life I wanted to share Marie with my other followers in a special way. I’m looking forward to Marie’s visit, and I hope you’ll come back and meet her.
  • On Tuesday, September 9th,I review Marie Abanga’s memoir My Unconventional Loves: My Hurts, My Adulteries, My Redemption.
  • On Thursday, September 18th, Mary Gottschalkwill be my guest writing on “giving up on marketing.” Mary is the author of a memoir, Sailing Down the Moonbeam (here is my review) and a recently published novel, A Fitting Place. Having been through the publishing and marketing business with both books, Mary has advice and wisdom to share with us.

Upcoming Guest Posts, Interviews & Book Reviews

  • On Tuesday, August 26th, I will post my review of Kathy Pooler‘s recently published Memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse. Kathy has told her story with integrity and holds out hope as a gift to those suffering through abusive relationships.
  • On Thursday, August 28th, my review of Lorraine Ash’s memoir Self and Soul: On Creating a Meaningful Life will be posted. Another story beautifully written from strength and courage with another gift of hope offered. Reminder: Two copies of Lorraine’s memoir will be given away.
  • On Thursday, September 4th,Marie Abanga visits with me as I interview Marie about writing her memoir, My Unconventional Loves: My Hurts, My Adulteries, My Redemption and the struggles she overcame. I met Marie when she visited this blog and left a comment. I knew upon reading her book and learning more about her life I wanted to share Marie with my other followers in a special way. I’m looking forward to Marie’s visit, and I hope you’ll come back and meet her.
  • On Tuesday, September 9th,I review Marie Abanga’s memoir My Unconventional Loves: My Hurts, My Adulteries, My Redemption.
  • On Thursday, September 18th, Mary Gottschalkwill be my guest writing on “giving up on marketing.” Mary is the author of a memoir, Sailing Down the Moonbeam (here is my review) and a recently published novel, A Fitting Place. Having been through the publishing and marketing business with both books, Mary has advice and wisdom to share with us.

Good Things Are Coming: Upcoming Guests and Memoir Reviews

Attributed to http:lifesadance.org
Attributed to http:lifesadance.org

Yes, good things are coming! I have some guests who will be sharing their insights into writing and life as well as a new memoir or two to review here. Thought I’d give you a heads up:

Next Thursday, August 21st, Lorraine Ashauthor of Self and Soul: On Creating Meaningful Lifewill be my guest. Lorraine will be sharing her thoughts on “Exploring Ancestral Patterns in Memoir.” This is a fascinating look at what traits and/or behaviors are ours via ancestry.

On Tuesday, August 26th, I will post my review of Kathy Pooler‘s recently published Memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional AbuseKathy has told her story with integrity and holds out hope as a gift to those suffering through abusive relationships.

On Thursday, August 28th, my review of Lorraine Ash’s memoir mentioned above will be posted. Another story beautifully written from strength and courage with another gift of hope offered.

My next guest, Marie Abanga, visits me on Thursday, September 4th, as I interview Marie about writing her memoir, My Unconventional Loves: My Hurts, My Adulteries, My Redemptionand the struggles she overcame. I met Marie when she visited this blog and left a comment. I knew upon reading her book and learning more about her life I wanted to share Marie with my other followers in a special way. I’m looking forward to Marie’s visit, and I hope you’ll come back and meet her.

A few days later on September 9th I will be posting my review of Marie’s memoir mentioned above.

On Thursday, September 18th, Mary Gottschalkwill be my guest writing on “giving up on marketing.” Mary is the author of a memoir, Sailing Down the Moonbeam(here is my review) and a recently published novel, A Fitting PlaceHaving been through the publishing and marketing business with both books, Mary has advice and wisdom to share with us.

Below is a collage of the various books mentioned above. Perhaps one or more interests you. I encourage you to check them and the above dates in mind to return to get to know the authors better.

And if you’d like to have reminders of these upcoming guests and reviews, sign up for my bi-weekly newsletter and you’ll receive reminders right into your inbox. Click below to visit the sign-up page.

Mailing List Widget
Mailing List Widget

Divorce and Teenagers | A Guest Post on Mary Gottschalk’s Blog

Image: ImageToArt
Image: ImageToArt

Today I’m visiting with Mary Gottschalk on her blog with an essay I wrote on the topic of adolescents and divorce and how that combination impacts a family. My essay dovetails with a novel-in-progress Mary is working on where just such a situation is making life difficult for a mother and her 13-year old daughter. I do hope you will come and visit Mary’s blog and join in the discussion.

* * *

Divorce and teens don’t mix well.

Carl Pickhardt, Ph.D., a psychologist in Austin, TX, wrote in an article published in Psychology Today in 2009:

Because the adolescent is at a more disaffected and rebellious stage with parents, divorce can intensifies [sic] their grievances. Rather than cling, the adolescent tends to pull away. Adolescents often feel betrayed by the broken parental commitment to family and become angrier and less communicative. (Emphasis mine.)

I know from experience that something changes during adolescence, creating a resurgence of memories from childhood layered onto the present.

I saw this with my stepdaughter, who was almost six when her parents divorced. By the time Leah (not her real name) reached adolescence, her life experiences included (1) learning she was adopted, (2) seeing her adoptive parents divorce, and (3) watching daddy remarry.

In her memory bank, each of these events directly linked to a woman who had let her down – her birth mother, her adoptive mother, and me. Leah’s adolescent rage centered on a distrust of women.

Leah’s solution: Bring Mom and Dad back together again and all will be right with the world. How to make this happen? Destroy Dad’s new marriage.

Around 15, Leah convinced us her life at home with Mom and Mom’s boyfriends was miserable, and she needed stability. We believed her every word.

Read more here . . . 

* * *

On tap for tomorrow, a post on memory triggers. I think you’ll find it interesting, and I’m looking forward to your comments adding to the list!

Related articles