Planting Seeds…

Author Ken La Salle
Author Ken La Salle

Guest post
by Ken La Salle

As a writer, I sometimes have to remind myself to think beyond my current project (or projects). I find it important to remember to play the long game and not focus only on the immediate. This is a career I’m building, not a fairy tale. Things take time.

It is with this in mind that I decided to write these words to share with you.

Recently, I’ve been trying to get my philosophical memoir, Climbing Maya (available in ebook and paperback), recognized by a few media outlets in the hopes of driving up sales. When I talk about media outlets, I’m talking about newspapers, magazine, television and… oh, but I live in southern California where nobody reads and the TV market isn’t even aware of my existence. Taking that into consideration, media becomes blogs, podcasts, and radio (with a smattering of others hopefuls along the way).

My strategy has been to make contacts where I can, email a digital copy of my book to those interested, and mail out a few Hail Mary passes when inspired.

I know there are writers out there who have the support of their publishers but I’m working with a small publisher so much of this kind of work is left up to me.

It isn’t cheap and it isn’t convenient. After a while, it becomes downright disheartening because, truth be told, my response rate is not what you’d call impressive. It’s more like depressive.

I find myself in a position where it’s easy to become discouraged and I don’t have the time or the energy for that. I decided, instead, to think of all these books costing me a pretty penny with every mailing not as books at all… but as seeds.

I hold no illusions about where I am in my career. Despite however long I’ve been at it, I am only at the beginning of this journey. So, of course, media contacts may dismiss my work when they receive it. They may actually read it and they may like it but that might not matter, because I’m not a big name. My “platform” just isn’t that big.

Okay. But that’s not the end of it. I know there will be another book – and another. And I’m going to send out those books as well.

And those media contacts will see those and they may think, “Hey, I remember this guy. I liked his other book.” And I’ll stand a better chance of finding my way into that newspaper, magazine… heck, maybe even TV show. (You know, basic cable.)

The point is, nothing is wasted. There’s no reason for discouragement. What I’m doing right now is planting the seeds of my future success.

Listen, you and I both know that – in writing especially – things don’t happen overnight. Progress is sometimes glacial. Between writing a book and holding the published work in your hands, years can pass! Between making a connection with a media contact and finding your way onto a blog or a podcast, months can pass! (Don’t even ask me about TV; I haven’t a clue!) And that’s not taking into consideration how much time it takes to write the book to begin with!

You’ve got to plant seeds. This can apply to all sorts of situations throughout your career. You’ve got to foster an atmosphere of growth. Your name probably isn’t going to be universally known overnight. So, settle in. Get your seed in the ground. While you’re working on your next novel, or your next book, or your next whatever, your seeds will grow.

And I’m not going to lie to you here. Some seeds – oh, heck, a whole lot of seeds – are probably going to fall on barren, illiterate ground. That’s just a truth in our society. It’s difficult to accept but I know I have to. And I know I have to keep planting those seeds. Because 2013 is coming and I’ve got agents selling my books out there. And I’ve got books I’m working on. And I’ve got ideas for more books after that. And I want one of those books in a magazine.

And I want to be interviewed for one of those books on television… maybe. (You know, basic cable.)

Author and playwright, Ken La Salle has brought his shows to stages from Los Angeles to New York to San Francisco. His passion is intense humor, meaningful drama, and finding answers to the questions that define our lives. You can find his books on Amazon and Smashwords and all major etailers. His philosophical memoir, Climbing Maya, was recently published by Solstice Publishing as an ebook and in paperback. His audiobook, The Worth of Dreams The Value of Dreamers, is available on iTunes, Audible, and all major etailers. You can learn more about Ken from his Amazon author page and his website.

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13 thoughts on “Planting Seeds…”

  1. This biz certainly can be discouraging. It’s heartening to read your positive spin on things (esp. on a Monday). Thanks for the post, Ken!

  2. I have barely begun this journey, and my heart tells me /my/ book is going to be the exception, bringing me fame and fortune overnight.

    Luckily my head knows better. eBooks and eReaders may have changed the game in extraordinary ways, but the arithmetic never changes – one book and one author are going to be lost in the sea of books and authors out there. And to continue the nautical analogy, making a splash will start at the droplet level. In time all those droplets may combine into reader recognition, but that time is counted in months and years, not days.

    Great post and thanks for reminding all of us that we are in this for the long haul.

  3. Great post, Ken. I find myself looking forward to future projects whether I want to or not. Sometimes the ol’ brain thinks throwing a half-dozen ideas at me is something I actually have time for. I, too, know I’m only starting on my own journey, so hopefully those seeds will start growing eventually.

  4. It’s definitely hard to be patient while waiting for seeds to sprout. Sometimes I’ll spend a day diligently marketing myself via email, social media, or whatever, and then I find myself stressed out the very next morning when I see that my efforts have yet to yield thrilling success. At those moments I have to remind myself that no seed in the world starts bearing fruit that quickly.

    1. I know just what you mean, Dan. There have been many times when I have had to force myself to stop checking for results… (Yes, that includes checking this article for comments.)
      All the best, Ken

  5. I feel your pain. I live in the middle of nowhere and marketing is pretty slim. I don’t let it get me down, I write because I love to, and if there happens to be folks out there who like reading it, great. I’m a farmer, and I won’t be making millions off my land (on the contrary, we’re about $100K in the hole). And I won’t be making millions off my books, but I keep hoping that maybe one day the “right” reader will come along that will change things for me. Until then, I write, and I write, and I write.

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