Book Marketing and Celebrity

Writing a book is just the beginning. Then you market the book. A lot of this can be fun–a blog tour, giveaways, meeting new people. A lot of it is not so much fun–lots of rejection (again) from bookstores, editors, and places you think are perfect for events. After the writing was done, I felt I had completed something, come to a good place. But it’s just the beginning. In fact, every rest stop in the journey has a great view of the future. But the road to that future is another steep path.

The bright promise of celebrity can feel a little dry and prickly.

I felt elated when I got a book contract, then terrified that I actually had to write the book. I felt elated when it was done, thinking I had stepped up a notch, but my rosy idea that book stores would welcome me, smile, and suggest a book signing was really way off. You have to struggle with book signings. It seems that book stores are busy doing not-signings, and you are a giant bother to them. As usual, it helps if you are already famous.

Which is where I ran into the snag. I subscribe to several marketing-idea blogs and newsletters, and last week was hit with several on the topic, “Marketing isn’t enough, you must turn yourself into a celebrity,” and “Unless you are a celebrity, your book isn’t moving.” Oh.

I am not sure what a celebrity is, and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to be a rock star, sweat-lodge emerging, champagne drinking,  talk-show-tour celebrity.  I’m a creativity coach, I run workshops. I’m happy doing that. Am I supposed to want a line of products, a TV show, people recognizing me on the street?

Actually, what I really want, if I had a magic wand, is my book reaching people who feel they are not enough, not good enough, not smart enough to be creative. Those who have journals with one or two pages filled up, and more pages torn out in disappointment. Those who want to journal but don’t feel complete enough to be themselves, even in a journal.

In my magic-wand world, I’d be celebrity enough if there were some people who pick up kits and do them so very well, and still feel empty read the book and realized that there is a life beyond kits. Beyond a project class that has you assemble a cute object and give it as a present. There is a satisfying life of sloppy experimentation and doing stuff that doesn’t work that makes you feel connected to creativity, to a bigger sense of yourself. In that life, making meaning is the point, and trying out ideas is exciting because you are learning about yourself and your ideas and how you connect to a huge web of ideas and, well, healing. Healing your own pain, growing into and beyond your own “not enough-ness,” connecting to another’s feeling of ‘not-enough’ and being OK with that, too.

I wrote the book for those people. People like me. People who yearn to have some sort of creative spark fanned into a flame. I want to share that joy, that incredible flood of gratitude that comes from creativity. The startling realization that an hour in a studio or workshop creates a life more satisfying than any “real housewife” has ever dreamed of. And you can have that life without wearing an underwire, pushup bra or stilettos or photographing yourself in your underwear and sending it to fans. I believe the pursuit of happiness is interesting and engaging and may be what happiness really is. That’s why I wrote the book. That’s why I teach. That’s my kind of celebrity.

–Quinn McDonald’s book, “Raw Art Jouraling: Making Meaning, Making Art,” is being shipped at this very moment, and will be available in July, 2011. It’s not too shabby that it has broken Amazon’s top 5 in Mixed Media, top 30 in Creativity and top 75 in Crafts and Hobbies. Maybe it’s a celebrity!