Okay, so my hands are shaking a little as I write this. I have something really amazing to tell you guys, and I’m actually experiencing a gamut of emotions ranging from thrilled and giddy to a little dizzy and terrified. Before I tell you what I have planned, I want to talk a little about fear, that little devil inside.
Fear is the dream-killer.
Nothing great was ever accomplished in the comfort zone. The very nature of creativity is risk. As writers, we experience this every day. We face off against friends and family that can be benevolent dream-stealers. They mean well and they don’t want us to feel the sting of failure, but we can never be big winners if we don’t take a chance.
Yet that small devil inside of us is always there to whisper, What are you thinking? Everyone is just going to laugh at you.
Even in our writing, we have to stretch, look at the same things in new ways and hope that, with enough hard work, something wonderful will coalesce from various combinations of 26 letters of the alphabet. Once finished, we have to query and risk rejection. When we get an agent, we risk that no one will take a chance on our work. Once our work is published, we are out there for all the world to potentially criticize.
You are going to look like a fool.
This job is not for the faint of heart.
As a NF author, there is always a fear that maybe we don’t know what we are talking about after all. Maybe we are poseurs, fakes or madmen. If we aren’t careful, our writing can become bland because we start playing it safe.
No one really cares what you have to say.
While I was compiling Are You There, Blog? It’s Me Writer I had the duty of collecting blurbs. Now I am blessed to be friends with some of THE most AMAZING people on the planet—Jody Hedlund, Kait Nolan, Chuck Wendig, Tawna Fenske just to name a few. I knew these awesome folk would be there for me no matter what. But they were my comfort zone. I knew they would love me even when I had my skirt tucked in my pantyhose. They would still claim me as a friend.
But I needed to stretch myself. So I made a list of the top 12 people I admired and called it my Hail Mary List. Author James Rollins was one of the people on my list. While most of my memory of writing this e-mail is a blur, I think it read something akin to:
Dear Mr. Rollins,
I am writing you to respectfully request that….OMG…I have every book you ever wrote and it would like be totally awesome if you would like, well first read this e-mail and OMG I totally love ur stuff and where was I? OMG…yes, a blurb. Wait. Did I tell you that I LOVED Doomsday Key? You’ve quit reading this, haven’t you? I knew this was a bad idea and am so sorry for bothering you but…why am I writing this again? Oh, yes! A blurb…
Yeah…it wasn’t pretty. I haven’t gone that fan-girl since I discovered Chuck Wendig’s blog.
Anyway, I hit Send and kept on plugging away at the book, never in a million years expecting to hear back. But I DID. And, not only did I hear back from James Rollins, he asked me to call him JIM! And he is one of the most down-to-earth cool people I’ve ever met. Not only that, but he loved my first book We Are Not Alone—The Writer’s Guide to Social Media.
Imagine that? I was so verklempt to talk to James Rollins, only to find out he was a fan of me, too. WEIRD! So, recently Jim *giggle* asked for my help with the release of his new book The Devil Colony. He expressed to me that one of the things that always bothered him about these release parties, was that they were limited to people who happened to live close enough to attend. I jumped right in and said, “Well what about an on-line party? Worldwide?”
Oh crap, inside words stay inside. What have I done? Please say it was the dumbest idea you ever heard and why would I suggest such madness?
And Jim said, “Awesome! Let’s do it!”
So right now I kind of feel like I did back in 1982. It was my 6th birthday and I wanted to go to Six Flags and ride the Shock Wave. It was the first roller coaster I ever rode and it was the biggest and scariest at the park (are you seeing the pattern here?).
I changed my mind! I wanna ride the Teacups!
So when Jim said yes I could almost feel that invisible bar lock over my lap, the clink of no going back now.
Today is like that first big hill. The cars inch into the sky to give a panoramic view of the world before you kiss it good-bye. I can see the giant loops ahead and my hands clench tighter and tighter. This could be the most fun I have ever had in my life or I could throw up cotton candy all over my shoes.
And there is that devil…
Oh, a WORLDWIIIIDE party. Why couldn’t you have suggested a nice Twitter Tea Cozy? Getting a little ahead of yourself, Dearie?
But then I open my e-mail, fingers trembling, and I see all my wonderful blogger and Twitter pals who have volunteered to spread the word about this worldwide launch party, and I am sincerely hoping some of you will help, too.
When I pitched this idea to Jim, I told him that I wanted to get away from gimmick. If we were going to have a party it would be a genuine, authentic, let’s get together and make new friends party. This isn’t just a James Rollins Fan Club. This is a real party and we finally can celebrate the success of a friend together, no matter how far away.
If you are a James Rollins fan, then rock on! But maybe you don’t read thrillers or you have only maybe seen Jim’s name while browsing the bookstore. Doesn’t matter. We all have dreams and many of us have books and we would love for others to come and celebrate and support us too. For me, social media has always just been a vehicle for blessing others in small ways every day. Serve others, connect with others, empower others, and dance and celebrate with them.
I hope you enjoy your own company, because this idea is crazy.
I confess that little devil is whispering in my ear. You might have a little devil in your ear, too. And you know what? He only has power if we give it to him. Yet, when we focus on each other, focus on love and friendship and what it means to dream and dream big? We drown him out. No one can hear his little barbs and jabs over the sound of joy and celebration.
So I am inviting you guys, the best people out there to join us on Twitter and Facebook for a wonderful celebration. I hope you join me for an unprecedented opportunity to laugh and rejoice and have a great time. Meet new friends. Fellow writers, published, unpublished, aspiring and NY Times heavy-hitters, agents, editors and Indian chiefs (okay, still looking for one of those).
We are going to start the party on Tuesday June 21st and go for the next 24 hours…or whenever we run out of steam. This is a worldwide party so chat, mingle and strut your stuff!
Time to laugh at that little devil and let him know he cannot steal our joy. We are going to dance anyway.
Also, the “devil” theme seemed appropriate since Jim’s new book is called The Devil Colony. It took Jim TWO years of research to write this book. Thousands of hours of work and so we are going to pull out all the stops!
Dress up for a costume party, or dress up for a fancy New York or Los Angeles book release party. Wear devil costumes, eat deviled eggs or deviled ham, and take pictures! Not in the costume mood? Put on that sexy cocktail dress and high heels or your Start Fleet dress uniform with a lamp shade on your head, and take pictures! Post all of your pictures on twitter in the #DevilColony hashtag. Why?
Hi, I write books about personal finance, and you?
Jim will be popping in to say “Hi” to all of his friends, family, fans, and to make NEW friends. Why else? He will also select his favorite pictures from our cyber-party and post them on his site’s Wall of Fame. Why else? The best pictures will win a big mystery prize!
Camera shy? No problem. Come chat, mix, and mingle. Tuesday’s #DevilColony hashtag will be the social event of the twitter-verse. Or hang out over on Jim’s fan page if you prefer FB. Come, have fun and hang out! Repost this blog, blog about it tweet about it, post on your FB. The more the weirder…I mean, merrier.
I am still feeling the butterflies and the fear, but I know I have some of the kindest, most thoughtful and generous people helping me spread the word even as we speak. I can’t wait to get to have fun with all of you, because life is short and should be celebrated as much and as often as possible.
What are some of the scariest things you’ve attempted? What does your little devil tell you and how do you handle it? How do you find ways to celebrate even the little things?
I love hearing from you! And to prove it and show my love, for the month of June, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.
I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of June I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!
Note: I am keeping all the names for a final GRAND, GRAND PRIZE of 30 Pages (To be announced) OR a blog diagnostic. I look at your blog and give feedback to improve it. For now, I will draw weekly for 5 page edit, monthly for 15 page edit.
Make sure you join our LOVE REVOLUTION over on Twitter by following and participating in the #MyWANA Twibe. Read this post to understand how this #MyWANA will totally transform your life and your author platform.
In the meantime, I hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . Both books are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in th biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left over to write more great books! I am here to change your approach, not your personality.