No one launches a book in isolation.
Not well, anyway.
Launching a book is a team effort even more than producing it requires the help of others (beta readers, critiques, and a few rounds of careful editing).
One of the essential parts of a successful book launch is a street team - a dedicated group of loyal supporters who are eager to tell their friends to buy your book.
With this team of loyal message-spreaders, the news and importance of your book will spread farther than it ever could if you were just talking about it on your own.
So how does one exactly GET people to actually DO that?
The Institute, an Intro
In Stephen King’s novel, The Institute, twelve-year-old Luke Ellis is kidnapped from his room at night. The next morning, wakes up in a room that looks just like his… except it isn’t. There’s no window, for starters. And the door leads not to the hallway of his home, but into a hallway with other doors to other rooms where other children have likewise woken, to their horror, far away from home.
Their caretakers are steely-eyed guards armed with electric prods, compassionless keepers of children. The children, aged seven to fourteen, undergo gruelling tests designed to extract from the kids all the usefulness of their special skills. The kids wish they could extract themselves from the horrors of this place, but no one has ever escaped The Institute.
I’ve been given many names, yet not known who I am.
Those who loved me named me pinhead. A-word. B-word. C-word.
Others, who loved me differently, better, gave me names too; Friend. Gift. Treasure. Lifeline.
And there were many names in between.
So which words about me were true?
Who was I really?
Choosing Which Words to Believe
I remember distinctly the day I chose to believe the good words others spoke over me; an inner power was activated when I chose those words, when I claimed them as mine and let them become part of me.
The Memoir to Read When You're Facing Down Chaos [A Review of "When God Doesn't Fix it" by Laura Story
You know I've been writing my memoir.
... then putting it off, then making myself face it again; face the present, admit the past.
As I've tried to articulate the past, making sense of it, interpreting it, I've also been absorbing others' memoirs.
How do they make sense of their past? Of how it's shaped them?
And why is it helpful - or, better yet, critical - that I read it?
What I've Been Reading
I've read a number of memoirs recently, both to find myself in each one hopefully discovering the secret of how to be a human, and also to absorb the essence of excellent memoir writing so that I could deliver it to my readers, too.
Story telling is about creating connections.
As story tellers, our job is to first connect ourselves to the story, writing authentically from some truth in us. Our second job then becomes to connect readers to the story and characters in a meaningful way.
One of the most effective ways to grab hold of someone’s heart and make them care about your characters and their plight, is through the strategic use of Point Of View (POV). Whatever you think of best-selling author Ted Dekker, I’m sure we can agree on one thing; his adept use of POV is what drives those stories deep into a reader’s heart, and leaves them wondering about those characters long after closing the book.
Life gives us truckloads of opportunity to experience rejection, doesn’t it?
Some of us get more “opportunity” than others.
I’ve come to realize I’m one of the lucky buggers who gets a bigger helping of it than some. From my early childhood yearnings for mommy and daddy to love me more, to best friends inexplicably drifting away or outright stabbing me in the back, to being disowned by family, I’ve had a wide range of experience with being rejected; feeling unloved.
Being rejected, especially by those close to us, is one of the most devastating, soul-crushing experiences we can ever know. A need for belonging is innate in each of us – once our need for food, air, and safety is satisfied, the very next basic human need is for love and acceptance.
Our need for love and acceptance is built into our DNA.
Being loved (or unloved) changes us.
It actually changes who we are; how we see God, the world, and everyone in it. It even affects our sense of hope for the future and our will to live.  It’s like we’re somehow defined by love – like love is our identity. When there’s a lack of it, it messes with who we are.
As someone who has experienced years of anxiety, I am deeply grateful to tell you such fear is not a death sentence or a permanent state of being.
Victory can be had,I learned.
Fear Asks Permission
Did you know fear isn’t more powerful than us? Like a strong bear, it may have the ability to maul and consume us, but it doesn’t come out of nowhere and overtake us. It first needs a reason. An invitation. Permission.
In writing my short thriller, The Cabin, about a writer who seeks out solitude and inspiration in an isolated cabin and has a Cujo-type of bear encounter, I researched bear behavior. What I came across was compelling, especially considering the bear in this thriller seems like Fear personified the more I write him. Check out this advice to hikers when coming upon a bear who is not aggressive, but is advancing on the hiker nonetheless.
"I've given and helped others for so long, but now I need help, and where is everyone??"
This is a question I've heard from the hearts of friends who are leaders.
It's a question I've found in my own heart from time to time.
When a person spends their time and energy pouring themselves into others, lifting others up when they're down, building up and encouraging others, and watching and listening for those kinds of needs around them, it's fulfilling and rewarding.
But... what happens when the leader is the one who needs encouragement?
How and where do we find that encouragement we so readily give?
Ever notice how the dreams you have and the goals you set are big, and the results you get seem so very small?
I have a problem with this. I'm a major optimist and love to dream and have all kinds of big, shiny ideas.
Optimism is wonderful, and even necessary. We need optimism to even have dreams. Here's the problem.
I get super frustrated when I see the enormous difference between the size of my dreams and the size of my results.
"Recently I was chatting with a woman who has wanted to write her memoir. For years she's wanted to. For years, I've heard her tell interesting stories that I agree, should be recorded. And for years, she's put it off. As I explored her reasons for being stalled, I discovered several. One of them was this idea that to write a memoir required deciding to sit down and plod through almost without stopping until it was done. In her mind, it was a giant undertaking, so she put it off until 'one day' when she 'had time' for that kind of dedicated time investment.
But 'one day' is a day that never comes.