A few weeks ago I was out shopping with my husband when we came across a card. It made my husband guffaw. On it was written:
If you continue to look always on the bright side, you’ll eventually go blind.
It summed us both up perfectly. I always believe something good will happen, while my husband believes that the worst will always occur, and is bemused by my perpetual optimism.
I maintain that I am right to be optimistic. You need plenty of optimism to be a writer, especially when you seem to be making no progress with your WIP or your book sales have dropped from one a month to zero. To explain the power of optimism, let me give you an example. I have followed the Tuesday Tutorial here on Indies Unlimited, ever since it began. Thanks to these tutorials, I have become competent in ways I couldn’t have imagined before. I can now make book covers using paint, videos, network all over cyber world and have developed all sorts of skills that assist me as an author.
When KS Brooks posted her tutorial about joining HARO (Help a Reporter), I thought why not? If you missed that tutorial, HERE is the link. In brief, when journalists want information about certain topics, they ask HARO, who in turn send out emails to their subscribers, each morning and evening, with a list of subjects/topics on them. Journalists request all sorts of information or help. You scroll through the subjects and if you find one you like, you write a pitch for it, click on the relevant link and sit back to see what happens.
I have not had huge success when pitching in the past. Last year, I got very excited when invited to pitch for a major UK woman’s magazine for a regular slot with them. I was told that although my ideas were great, I flunked the actual pitch. This, I thought, would give me an opportunity to hone my pitching skills. I signed up to HARO and within a few hours had my first email. I didn’t expect that I would know much about the subjects. I looked down the list and discounted anything to do with technology, business and finance, biotech and food and diet, but then one request caught my fancy. It was from a journalist requesting articles on men’s health problems. I write a lot about the challenges of getting older. I do it with humour but always try to make people appreciate that getting older isn’t always the end of the world. Recently, I have been researching Grumpy Old Man syndrome, or as I call it, “Irritable Male Syndrome”. I decided that this was definitely worth pitching.
I sent a brief email to the journalist, Bill, at the address listed, explaining that this was a subject close to my heart and indeed, one that was also under my feet at home, all the time.
Within a few days I had a reply. The journalist had received five lengthy pages of pitches but mine had stood out and he wanted to interview me. The next day he phoned me, even though I was on holiday in Lanzarote, and spoke not only to me, but my own personal Mr Grumpy, the pessimist. We chatted for almost an hour. He seemed enthusiastic about the subject. Unlike any other journalist I have spoken to, he continued to stay in touch after the interview and surprisingly even asked for details about my latest book, How Not to Murder Your Grumpy, due out June 1st.
He sent an email last week to let me know that the article had gone out on air and was now to be found on the website. Oh yes, I forgot to tell you, the journalist was from NBC. My author website got so many hits the following week that I thought it would explode. Sales of my books went up too. What a tremendous result, and all thanks to an Indies Unlimited tutorial and some optimism! If you would like to read the article click on the link HERE.
My message is simple, don’t give up, even when times are rough and, “always look on the bright side of life.” Sing along everyone