Is Post-Publication “Depression” a Given for First-Time Authors?

Culling my files recently for idea-notes, I came across an unpublished article that I wrote nearly three years ago. In our last blog post (My Book, My Daughter), artist and author Licia Berry shared her story of nearly abandoning her book after publication, so I was curious about how the experiences of the authors in this article might parallel with or contrast to her story.

When an author finishes the writing and/or publication of a book, the natural, ensuing question is, what’s next? Typing THE END is not the last step, nor is passing the manuscript to your editor, or clicking the “upload” button on CreateSpace.

There are many answers to the question of “What’s next?” which often lead to more questions and options. Does the author move on to the next manuscript? take a total writing break? temporarily delay new writing to focus on marketing this book?

But maybe we attempt to heed our responses prematurely. Perhaps a pause is necessary, not to attend to a lengthy list of non-writing to-do’s, but for tending to the emotions that are bound to present themselves when championing any effort that requires us to be open and vulnerable—any creative endeavor.

The discussions I had with two authors three years ago, which lead me to writing the article below, caused me to contemplate this question: Is it a given that first-time authors will go into something resembling depression after they publish their first book?

On consecutive days this week, I had separate conversations with two authors who recently self-published their first novels. One author spoke about her low expectations for success—not because her book is bad, but because she realizes she doesn’t yet have a following. She is realistic about being an unknown author putting her manuscript out into a sea of other works that are seeking readers. She is just beginning to build her “platform” from which she can eventually build a community of followers who will anticipate her next book.

She is rightly proud of her book. One that began years ago when publishing was a very different industry. She went the route of seeking agents, waiting interminably for responses. After years, yes, literally, years of waiting, she eventually embraced self-publishing. She prepared herself and her manuscript and got it done. Yet she has given herself no time for celebration. She is moving on, lining up her marketing efforts for book one, moving from outline to manuscript on book two.

So her view is long-term and she has a marketing plan. Her second book in the series is underway. Still, as we finished our lunch, I sensed a fragility not normally evident in her. She seemed distracted, maybe even a little unsettled.

The second author just published the first book in her series, too, one that took her less than a year to write, and she is already well into writing the third one. She tells me she promised herself before publication that her expectations for sales of the first novel would not be inflated, unreasonable. She would not allow herself high hopes. Although she has had a successful blog, she too is an unknown novelist among many. She felt she needed to be realistic with herself.

“But when it was done,” she said, “I realized that I must have had expectations. It’s like postpartum depression. I guess I thought somehow that my life would change after my book came out.”

This younger author also had sought out an agent. She succeeded, but eventually ended the relationship after a year without a publication contract. She had not experienced the endless waiting to hear from the agent(s) that the first author had, so, at first, she toyed with the idea of trying the traditional route again. In the end, she did not, but it still took her a while to shift to the idea of self-publishing.

Both of these authors are following the sage advice of experienced writers who say that when you finish one project, you should already have another project underway. So one is focusing on marketing; the other, now that she is finally a published author, is seeking “the next big thing” in her life.

Circumstances that led them to lives of writing, their writing processes, and their eventual paths to publication have been quite different. But in these conversations with them, I saw a similarity in their after-publication demeanor that I can only attribute to a sort of “letdown.” I don’t have the right or the credentials to label these authors as “depressed,” but certainly each has been changed deep to her core, even if just temporarily, by the experience of publishing the first book.

What has been your experience and emotion after publication? Is there a letdown or a relief? Would you label it depression, elation, or something else? How did you manage it? Did it happen again after your second book?

I’d love to hear from you—both first-time and veteran authors.

My Book, My Daughter

It isn’t unusual for artists and writers—even experienced and successful ones—to pour heart and soul into a precious creative project, seeing it nearly to completion, only to abandon it. Have you done that before? This week, artist, author, and speaker Licia Berry shares her personal story of recognizing the abandonment of one of her recent creative projects.

My Book, My Daughter

by Licia Berry

Would you tend to a lone or lost crying child?

I’ve asked myself this question thousands of times over the years—not because I doubted whether I would actually pick up a lost or lost crying child if I found one who needed tending…OF COURSE, I would, as would most of us with a heart!

No, the reason I have asked myself this question so many times is because I have abandoned parts of myself that were alone and crying. Parts of myself that were inner children, that needed healing, that needed to be heard. And recently, I realized that I had abandoned my 2016 bestseller I Am Her Daughter – The Healing Path to a Woman’s Power.

You see, I did all the things an author is supposed to do…I did the back-breaking work of living the material, then the laborious effort of writing it over years, editing and re-editing, publishing, and marketing it on Mother’s Day weekend to raise it to best-seller status…and then I collapsed. I walked away.

I went to France for six weeks on a solo pilgrimage, on the hunt for Black Madonnas. When I returned, I led the I Am Her Daughter Retreat in Santa Fe New Mexico, along with other travel commitments. Multiple creative projects that I’d put on the backburner came crowding forward, clamoring for my attention. I began the sorting process in an attempt to line them up so I could tend to them. Like hungry children, they all wanted to be fed NOW. Soon becoming overwhelmed, I finally turned to tended to myself, getting quiet with my inner vision and exploring my frustration.

That’s when I noticed that beyond all the noisy kids pushing into me, there was a lone little girl off to my left, maybe two and a half years old, looking around as if she was waiting for someone. She seemed anxious and a little afraid as if she just realized she’d become separated from her mommy. In a blinding moment of clarity, I realized that this little girl was my book, I Am Her Daughter, and that I had abandoned her. My initial push to complete, publish, and market the book accomplished, I had turned my back and left her to fend for herself.

Aghast, swift as a lightning bolt, the mother in me went over IMMEDIATELY and picked that child up into my arms. I comforted and placated her, wiping away tears of relief from her sweet urchin face, and apologized for having left her alone for these several months. My resolve to recommit to the book became solid as I saw her smile and felt her relax in my arms. The next thing I knew, she transformed into the book with its beautiful deep indigo cover, laying in my hands.

In the real world, my commitment is to speak, write, and shout from the rooftops about I Am Her Daughter. All of the effort I put into living, writing, and having the courage to publish my book truly deserves to be honored. Reenergized and resolute, I will indeed champion this important piece of work as I would one of my children. And like a proud mama, I can give my creative work the love and promotion that it is due.

As artists and writers develop their unique voice and learn the craft of writing, they travel a journey of highs and lows, navigating often confusing, sometimes frustrating emotions and behaviors. These highs and lows correspond with identifiable stages and cycles in the natural creative process. Once an author can pinpoint and understand which phase they are in, they can better manage the process to avoid fallow times and to make the most of periods filled with inspiration and great production.

Do you have a project, or projects, you abandoned when it/they were seemingly done or almost complete?

Licia Berry is the featured guest on this month’s CONVERSATIONS Around the Writer’s TableWednesday, February 15, 2017, at 7 p.m. We will continue the discussion about the cycles of the creative process and how writers can manage them.

This is a FREE call in the Author Education Series and you can receive reminders and the call-in details by signing up HERE. 

Author, Artist, Speaker, Women’s Advocate, and Ancestral Healer Licia (pronounced LEE-SHA) Berry is known the world over as The Guide to the Frontier Inside. She has a passionate belief in women’s innate resilience and unique ability to lead humanity into a better world.   Licia’s ongoing quest to nurture women’s inner trust and empowerment has led her to teach and mentor women to claim and walk in true strength on their unique life path since 2001.

Writing on such juicy themes of women’s issues, resilience, ancestral intelligence, consciousness, creative approaches to whole-brain development, leading a spirit-led life, and the Mother Wound, her words have impacted seekers around the globe since she was first published in 1998.

Her 2016 bestselling book I Am Her Daughter: The Healing Path to a Woman’s Power examines the personal, cultural and global Mother Wound for the purposes of healing and evolution.  With deep devotion to the calling to our Tribe, Licia’s work provides a path to belonging, connection, and well-being. 

Learn more about Licia Berry:


Twitter: @Liciaberry

A Writing Event Right for You – Part 3 of 3

Nothing matches a writing retreat as an immersive experience to focus on your writing and on you, the writer. My participation in several retreats this month has been the inspiration for our series here on workshops (Part 1), conferences (Part 2), and writing retreats.

Retreats are more intensive than workshops or conferences. Some retreats focus primarily on the writing while others concentrate on the writer. The best retreats affect both—skill set and mindset.

Although retreats are often small groups, don’t assume they all are. Some large events label themselves “retreats,” and a retreat can be a one-on-one experience between an author and a teacher/guide/facilitator. Retreats are generally multiple days and can be held in a private home, a retreat facility, or a conference center.

Writing retreats are sometimes themed or genre-specific.

For instance, the annual seven-day women’s retreat I attend at St. George Island, Florida, is called “Fiction Among Friends.” The workshops during the retreat are tailored toward the skills needed by fiction authors, and participants usually come with a novel-in-progress or one they intend to start. Participating in the workshops is optional, so if your writing is flowing, you can keep at it. Ten to fourteen women usually attend and we stay in a lovely beach house on an island in the Gulf of Mexico.

A few weeks later, a second group of similar size gathers in the same house, with a similar format for the event, to work on their memoirs and personal stories. Also in the same house, I host/teach a shorter retreat (this week!) with a smaller group of five women. We are gathering for three full days to work on creative non-fiction and personal stories.

So you can see there are many variants to the group retreat format.

The Vision Quest Retreat, hosted by artist, author, and speaker Licia Berry, is an example of a one-on-one event. Retreats of this type are aimed at examining the writer’s vision for their career or for a specific project, the deeper meaning in their work, or the author’s “inner landscape” as a writer and a person. My vision quest took place in a mountain home, but the location changes based on the needs and inclinations of the author. I had an important ancestral connection to the Western North Carolina mountains, so that made it the perfect spot for me.

When I experienced my Vision Quest in June 2016, I came away with a willingness to meet myself raw, open, and honest as a person and a writer. More importantly, I came away with an eagerness to do that. Afterwards (and still, since), I have had a rush of clarity and excitement about my work as an advocate for authors and as a writer myself. Little actual writing was done at the retreat, but that wasn’t the point. All the work there was on me.

For nearly ten years, I have attended at least one writing retreat annually (plus some conferences and workshops too).

My writing and the connections I make among other writers strengthens every time I participate in a retreat. Deep engagement with like-minded authors, safety in discussion, encouragement, self-confidence, and clarity in my writing projects are aspects of retreats that keep me going back year after year. Deep engagement with our inner selves is also vital for our creativity, so self-care during the retreat time is also important (and is something I tend not to do so well in my day-to-day routine).

If you are considering attending a writer’s retreat, here are some of the questions you may want to ask before making the commitment.

  • Is the retreat one-on-one with a facilitator/teacher or is it a group event? If group, how large?
  • How many days/nights is the retreat?
  • Who is the teacher/trainer/facilitator/guide? What are their qualifications and experience to lead the event?
  • Is the retreat open to all genre writers or is it themed?
  • How are the days structured? Are there workshops, classes, or one-on-one sessions?
  • What topics will be covered or what is the primary focus of the retreat?
  • How much free time is there for writing? Is there private and/or quiet space for my writing times?
  • Do I need to be a published author to attend? Must I have a work-in-progress? Will writing prompts or exercises be provided to get me started if I don’t have a WIP?
  • Is a writing sample required when I register?
  • Are any scheduled outings part of the retreat?
  • In what type of facility will the retreat be held: a rental or private home, a retreat center, a hotel or conference center? Is the location urban or rural?
  • If lodging is included in tuition, will sleeping quarters and bathrooms be shared or private?
  • Do both men and women attend? (This is an appropriate question when close lodging is considered.)
  • What time of year and where is the retreat held? What is the weather typically like then?
  • Is a savings on tuition available for early sign-up, as a repeat retreater, or for bringing a friend?
  • Are meals eaten on your own or as a group? Are meals provided in the tuition and/or do retreaters participate in food preparation? Should I bring my own snacks or beverages?
  • Can special needs such as food allergies or physical limitations be accommodated?
  • Must I fly or can I drive to the retreat destination?
  • What is the accepted attire?
  • Should I bring my laptop? A folding table? A lap desk?
  • And the final and most important question: What do I want to take away from the retreat and is that expectation in alignment with what is being offered?

Below are some sources for identifying the right writing retreat for you. Some of the same sources for writing workshops and conferences provide details on retreats too. Although the St. George fiction and nonfiction retreats for women mentioned above are complete for 2017, I’ve provided the links for those recent events so you can see what they’re about.

If you have attended a retreat that you particularly liked, please do share!

A Writing Event Right for You – Part 2 of 3

Writing workshops, conferences, and retreats can provide authors with new perspectives and knowledge, facilitate lifelong relationships with other authors, and connect authors with professionals in the publishing world. When deciding which events to attend, be sure to consider your objectives for going (see Part 1 of 3).

Last week’s post touched on workshops, and today’s focus is conferences. The format of a conference is usually predicated by the sponsor or organizer of the event, which may be a genre-specific association, such as Romance Writers of America or the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, or a local, regional, or state writers’ association. Conferences may be one day or multiple days, are generally held annually, and are often an assemblage of many different events such as writing workshops, panel discussions, vendor show, manuscript critiques, readings, and author signings.

The size and scope of the conference will vary by the resources of the sponsor-organizer and the needs of their group members and attendees. I have attended writers conferences as small as several dozen people and as large as five hundred. Some writing organizations limit participation in their conference to their members, but most do not.

As I gathered information for this post, I quickly recognized the enormity of the task of compiling any meaningful list of writers’ conferences. Instead, I offer here a list of organizations that have extensive online compilations already. Some allow you to sort by genre, state, date, and in other ways. Have fun exploring and finding the perfect writing event for you!, which provides news, information, and guides for writers has a conference listing here:

The Write Life has a listing of 30 conferences for authors, bloggers, and freelancers:

The Association of Writers and Writing Programs has a Directory of Conferences and Centers which includes festivals, retreats, residencies, and writing centers, as well as conferences, and includes national and international events:

Shaw Guides’ 2017 listing of events is here:

Poets & Writers has a database detailing over 200 conferences, residencies, and literary festivals:

Have you been to a writer’s conference? How was that experience for you? Do you have a favorite conference you have been to several times? What conference do you plan to attend in the future?

A Writing Event Right for You – Part 1 of 3

Writing workshops, conferences, and retreats can be fun, interesting, and exciting ways for authors to learn more about the craft of writing. Over time, I have attended all three types of events and I usually come away inspired and always return to my writing with new knowledge to apply.

When choosing to attend a writing event, here are a few things to consider:

  • What do you want to get from the experience? Is there a specific aspect of the craft that you want to learn more about? Is your primary goal to meet and network with other authors?
  • Who is sponsoring, teaching, or facilitating the event?
  • Do you prefer a format that allows for critique/feedback on your work-in-progress?
  • What is your budget for attending writing events?
  • Do you get the most from longer events that are immersive? Multi-day events that cover a variety of topics? Or short events focused on a single topic or aspect of writing?
  • How far are you willing to drive to attend and how long can you be away from home? Do you have a writing buddy who can share the driving or hotel expenses for distant events?

Over the coming weeks, we’ll discuss all three types of events. This week, we’ll focus on writing workshops. Writing workshops are often locally or regionally sited and typically require the least amount of driving and time away from home of these three kinds of events.

Workshops are offered in a variety of formats. Although some multi-day events describe themselves as workshops, a workshop is typically shorter than a conference or a retreat. They may be a short session—45 minutes or 1 hour—during a larger event, such as a retreat or a conference filled with several days of workshop options at one locale; they can be several hours or a half-day long and focused on one single aspect of writing; or they can be a day-long event held at a local venue, such as a conference center or college.

Some workshops are of the lecture/classroom-learning type while others are experiential. For me, the best workshops are the ones that provide a chance, while still at the event, to use what I just learned in my writing so I have a chance to ask questions of the facilitator or teacher.

With the growth in online courses of all types, the offerings of online workshops have also increased. Indeed, the terms course, class, and workshop are often used interchangeably. Like in-person workshops, online workshops are offered in various formats. Some are strictly email-based: you receive a lesson from the instructor via email and all interactions between you and the instructor, and among the participants, are done via email. On the far end of the spectrum, the facilitator might employ a variety of technology to deliver the online workshop: email, pdf forms and tip sheets, prerecorded videos sent via email or available on a private website, and live video conferencing with the instructor or the entire group of participants.

Be sure to research the workshop’s format and structure, the content or focus, and the instructor or facilitator before committing to a workshop, either in-person or online. Know what your workshop tuition includes, especially if it is long enough to span a mealtime.

Some resources for finding workshops include your local, regional, or state writer’s association and Shaw Guides online. If you live near a university or college, they may offer workshops that do not require you to enroll in their degreed programs.

Have you attended a workshop that was particularly beneficial to your future writing? If so, I’d love to hear about in the comments below or via email (Gina at; replace the “at” with @). Next week, we’ll talk about writers’ conferences.

Exquisite Month, Unfolding Year

Golden light washed over St. George Island on my first morning here. I am on St. George now and we just completed the second morning of workshops at the Fiction Among Friends women’s writing retreat. This is my ninth year attending. A sacred week for me, this is the one time of year when ALL I focus on are my own words, my writing. I am fortunate to have editing and coaching clients who understand and support me in this.

This week’s retreat is the beginning of an exquisite month for me. I have the luxury of staying at the beachfront retreat house for most of January. This first week, I am writer/participant, working on my novel Dancing at The Orange Peel. In week two, I’m a sort of “house mother” for retreaters who want to continue writing on their own. Week three, we welcome another group of writers to the house for whom I’ll play co-host, supporting our fabulous retreat organizer, Perky Granger. Week four, I step into the role of organizer/facilitator for Content Creation Camp, a three-day/four-night women’s retreat for non-fiction writers. If it is true that the way we begin our year sets the stage for the way the year will unfold then I am one happy gal and a satisfied author!

Since this month is so far out-of-routine for me, I want to let you know what’s in store for you at Around the Writer’s Table. My novel awaits, so I’ll be brief.

First, due to poor internet and cell service at our retreat location (for which I’m actually quite grateful), there will be no CONVERSATIONS Around the Writer’s Table call in January. I’ll resume the calls in February and intend to continue them monthly in 2017. If you have a guest to suggest or a topic you want us to explore on the calls, please send me an email.

Lined up for February and March are guests Licia Berry and Heather Whitaker. Licia will discuss creative voice and Heather, a return guest, will go deeper into an earlier discussion we began last fall on point of view. More details are coming soon, so put the third Wednesday of each month at 7pm Eastern on your calendar now!

In lieu of this month’s call and given the theme of my current activities, I will do a series of blog posts about writer events that can help us improve our craft. Workshops, conferences, and retreats offer fantastic learning experiences and opportunities to engage with other like-minded authors. I’ll focus on one of these in each of the next three posts.

A final note to women readers/writers: a few spaces are still available in the fiction retreat (January 15 to 22) and the non-fiction retreat (January 25 to 29). If you want to jump start your writing for 2017, please join us! You can get more details here: Fiction Among Friends/St. George Writer’s Retreat and here Content Creation Camp.

Thanks to each of you who responded to my New Year’s email. I’d still love to hear from the rest of you about your writing plans for 2017 and how writing helps you make meaning in your life.

As always, in gratitude and service,

Writing as an Instrument for Meaning-Making

Last week, I wrote about how we must write, no matter what, in the middle of things, despite circumstances . . . that we must make time to write. I was resolute in my instruction, adamant in my advice.

Then the unthinkable happened.

I am still numb from the loss on Christmas Eve of my second father, the man who became my stepdad when I was five and has been a rock in my life ever since. For almost 28 months, he fought the cancer battle, so a turn, at some point, was inevitable. But we have a way, sometimes, of vehemently denying what we know to be unequivocal truth.

Unthinkable—yes. Unexpected—well, no.

I was prepared to write during this visit home, every day, just as I advised you to do. My laptop, notebooks, and favorite pencils were loaded into my backpack. Of course, I would write. No matter what.

And then I didn’t.

Trauma sends me inward in a sheltered, reclusive, and self-protective way that does not allow for writing. At least not at first.

I process loss and grief in much the same way that I learn. I soak up everything. I experience and live into all the bits and pieces. Then I step back and parse, embracing the useful, helpful fragments until they become part of me, and then I release the remaining shards. Only then can I write about it in a meaningful way.

Others writers literally write through their pain, putting words to the page in the midst of their still unfolding, raw, and ragged grief.

Both ways are right.

Both ways lead down a meandering and sometimes lengthy path of getting our questions answered, grasping for the purpose of things, seeking to explain, longing to understand, exploring the unthinkable in ways that make it bearable.

Writing is a significant instrument for making meaning in this world, a mighty hammer in our human toolkit which we too often dismiss or diminish in its importance for that purpose. I hold that all writers, no matter their genre, write to make sense of their lives and of this greater existence that we all share.

Every one of us asks, at some point, “What is the meaning of life, of this life, of my life?” We often talk about seeking meaning, finding meaning, looking for meaning. The idea of making meaning in life is far more appealing to me, though. The former posit that meaning is external to us, not of our own doing, completely outside our purview, that we must search outwardly to discover it. The philosophy that we make, i.e., create, the meaning in our lives is empowering and, at once, exciting and soothing to me. It gives me the sense that this is up to me—a huge responsibility, for sure, but also a satisfying understanding that I have some measurable control here.

Using writing as a tool for making meaning in life is a theme I am committed to exploring in 2017. I want to dive deeply into 12 keys that I feel are essential for meaning-making and how writing fits into that endeavor. I hope you will join me on this journey, much of which will unfold here on this blog.

As 2016 comes to a close, I extend my deepest thanks to all of you who have supported me and Around the Writer’s Table this year. Our tagline is “Training, Resources, Connections” and that last part—the connections—that is the truly enriching piece for me. 2016 has been filled with rich, new, rewarding relationships and I am grateful beyond measure for every single one of you.

Yours in gratitude and service,

Tuesday Tip: Make Time to Write . . . No Matter What

Looking for only the perfect time to create? Forget about it! You are always in the middle of something so it is right in the middle of things that your creating must also happen.

Never is there a moment when we aren’t “in the middle of something.” And that holds especially true during the holiday season. Over the next few weeks, your commitment to your writing will be tested in countless ways–likely, already has been.

woman-1733881_1920There is only one solution: regardless of what’s going on in the rest of your world, you simply must write.

It sounds so simple! But you know it isn’t.

Do it anyway.

Plan it, if only for fifteen or twenty minutes a day. Do it consistently, no matter what else is going on around you. Get up a few minutes early, stay up a few minutes late, or steal a quarter-hour away from the holiday hoopla for a date with your notepad and pen.

Use a closet if you have to.

This creativity tip is inspired by and based on The 97 Best Creativity Tips Ever! by Dr. Eric Maisel (2011), and is used with his permission.

Reaffirm your commitment to writing and publishing by listening in to the next CONVERSATIONS Around the Writer’s Table, a free monthly education series for authors. This month’s topic is “How to Plan Effective Author Events on a Shoestring.” Learn more HERE.

5 Secrets to Getting Indie Books into Bookstores

By Patti Brassard Jefferson

Having the advantage of being both an independent author and a bookstore owner, I am lucky to be able to see the challenges between authors and booksellers from both sides. Prepare yourself for the breaking news: It is a myth that independent bookstores (or the big box stores for that matter) will not deal with self-published authors.

Then where did the false narrative start?

banner-1090830_1280It could have been from a flood of self-published authors who went to the internet, downloaded lists of bookstores, and sent out mass emails and then got very little response. Or it may have begun with authors who sent out dozens of packages to bookstores that included books and marketing materials and then never heard back from the stores. Clearly, these authors did not know the following five secrets.

Secret #1

Booksellers do not respond well to unsolicited press releases of books by authors they are unfamiliar with—especially if those books do not fit into their niche. The survival of small bookstores is, and has always been, based on creating a niche within their community and, as an author, you should spend time doing your due diligence to see if the bookstore you are reaching out to is a good fit for your genre. A good source for this information is the bookstore’s website or Facebook page. Sending your new book release information to a vintage or used bookstore is a waste of your time as well as the bookseller’s. A children’s bookstore probably will not be interested in your steamy romance and could declare you a thoughtless, lazy businessperson. Often, this first impression of you cannot be easily undone.

Secret #2

books-985954_1920Do you know what is also usually on the bookstore’s website? Submission instructions for authors! Seriously. You are not the only author interested in getting your book on their shelves, so to save time, many booksellers have created a place that outlines their policies.

Read their information and if it makes sense to you and seems appropriate for you to carry on to the next step, do so. Make sure you follow directions even if they are a challenge for you.

By the way, this is also true for Barnes and Noble. Really. Check out their website.

Secret #3

Your local bookseller is your best ally. They are part of the creative community, just as you are. They are also small business owners, just like you are. You can and should form relationships with them and support each other.

By definition, a relationship is a two-way street and this often is where authors falter. Selling a few copies of your book does not keep the bookstore doors open, so every now and then, go buy a book from them. Attend an event that is not yours. Do you think the bookstore staff is more likely to hand-sell the books of an author who is also a customer? Why, yes. Yes, they are. Aren’t relationships grand?!

Secret #4

Once your titles are in your local bookstore, be professional and friendly. If you do an event there, make sure you work with the store to promote it and drive traffic. Bring snacks for the staff. Send a hand-written “thank you” note afterward.

thank-you-515514_1280Why take these extra steps?

Because booksellers know other booksellers! If you are a great author to work with and have good sales or a successful event, you can approach other bookstores and use your local storeowner as a reference to get a foot through the skeptical door. Of course, keep in mind that if you are dismissive of the staff, arrive late or unprepared for your event, or call excessively, bookstore owners will warn their contemporaries and that skeptical door will remain closed to you. Again, that is often hard to undo.

Secret #5

Think outside the bookstore. Many non-bookstore venues may be willing to sell your books as well and often at a more beneficial split of the sale. Defining your actual target market (and no, “everyone” is NOT the correct response) will lead you to alternative options. Children’s books are often accepted at children’s boutiques, and your local garden center might be interested in your book about caring for orchids. Of course, any venue willing to take a chance on selling your book for you will thrive with the building of the relationship and your unwavering professionalism.

Oh and, as a reminder, keep good records! Happy bookselling!

pbjonbooxPatti will be the next featured guest on CONVERSATIONS Around the Writer’s Table on December 21, 2016, at 7pm. Patti and Gina Hogan Edwards will discuss “How to Plan Effective Author Events on a Shoestring.

This is a FREE call in the Author Education Series and you can receive reminders and the call-in details by signing up HERE.

Patti Brassard Jefferson is an award-winning authorpreneur, illustrator, multi-medium artist, bubble-blower, amateur tiara model, and bookstore owner. She owns exactly zero pairs of socks, daydreams about tropical bike paths, and lives with her two rescued mutts and one rescued husband. You can contact Patti via:

Author Links

Twitter: @pbjauthor

Bookstore Links

Twitter: @pjboox

Tuesday Tip: Material measurement of a final product does not equal your creative worth.

tape-measure-145397_1280It is easy to fall into a trap of human material measurement when it comes to our creative work and worth. How much did that painting sell for? How many of my books were shipped out to readers today? What is my ranking on the Amazon best seller list? The real trap comes when we apply these metrics to our worth as human beings.

Recently, I had the honor to support, in her book-publishing efforts, someone I greatly admire. I was not her editor nor her creativity coach. In fact, I started out knowing her as a fan of sorts. Melissa Dinwiddie has a marvelous podcast about creativity, Live Creative Now! Her joy around creativity is contagious, so I love to listen to her. When she put out a call for volunteers to be on her book launch team (an awesome concept that I hope to share more about with you), I jumped at the chance to serve as one of her Ambassadors.

Since August, in the final stages of birthing her book, the Ambassadors have supported her in a myriad of ways. Melissa shared with us, through emails and a private Facebook book, as well as her podcast, all of her decisions, her successes, and her angst. We advised, shared opinions, offered encouragement. It was a beautiful process of creative people uplifting one of our own.


Shortly after her book release, I awoke one morning with Melissa heavily on my mind. I thought about all that she had done to get that book written and to assure the promotion process came off gracefully and successfully. Honestly, it was exhausting to watch the way she had navigated the process, but she did it so adeptly, so expertly. It was so detailed and thought-out that, frankly, it blew my mind. But her efforts were not what troubled me that morning. What concerned me was the person of Melissa, the artist, the creative spirit.

I was driven to reach out to her that day and share what was on my mind in hopes it would further support her in the way all her Ambassadors had committed to do. I didn’t expect what happened next.

Melissa asked me if she could use my letter as the centerpiece of her final podcast on the subject of her book release. I’m sharing this with you here because the overriding message of my words was in my reminder to her not to apply our human ways of material measurement to her value as a cultural creative. Nor should any of us who offer to this world our words, our paintings, our sculptures, our dances, our music, our creative hearts and souls.

Melissa is living her passion and is thereby filling many other creatives with joy and the courage to do their art. That is immeasurable worth. As she says in her podcast, when you create, “not only will you feel more alive, it’s how YOU WILL CHANGE THE WORLD.” Thank goodness for all of us that Melissa is sharing this message and that she lives it herself!

Please, listen to Melissa’s podcast, and then GO CREATE! Listen here: