By Elaine Marie Cooper
One week she was relatively healthy; the next week we were planning her funeral. And though death is not unexpected for one’s elderly parent, the sheer rapidity of Mom’s illness took me by surprise. And the subsequent grieving threw my marketing enthusiasm to the wind, despite the fact that I had a book releasing in less than two months.
Promoting a new book seemed out of sync with planning a funeral, sending thank you notes for sympathy gifts, and dealing with the emotional aftermath. I was lost in my sadness and dulled in my focus.
I am not alone in tragedies of one sort or another near a book release. One author friend received a diagnosis of cancer and was receiving chemotherapy during final edits. Another author’s son had a serious health concern during his novel’s launch. Another author lost HER mother during her book release. So how can a writer overcome these crises in order to not just survive, but have a thriving launch?
The obvious answer is prayer—prayer that you can continue to breathe even when the oxygen seems to have been sucked out of you. There are a few steps an author can take to inhale life into her lungs as well as her book’s success. Both will be key to survival for you as well as your artistic creation.
- Give yourself time to grieve, rest and spend time with your family. Your book will still be there but your loved one may not. Don’t be so focused on your book’s success that you can’t see the big picture.
- Ask trusted friends to pray for you. Tell them your struggles and ask them to lift you up. Give them specific needs like “I can’t sleep.” Seek grief counseling if you can’t seem to shake depression.
- Talk to your editor about what is happening. Ask him or her to keep you on task since your mind feels like gelatin on a hot summer’s day.
- Get other writers to help you in your launch. No one understands the pressure of a book release more than a fellow author. Delegate tasks such as setting up a Facebook launch page.
- Take some time away from your computer. Give yourself permission to watch a funny move and laugh. Go for a relaxing drive. Take a walk. Be kind to yourself.
- Don’t neglect getting sleep and eating well. You will not help your book launch if you’re run down physically and get sick.
- Do something helpful for another author. It is amazing how the Lord can work for YOUR book when you reprogram your mind to help another writer. Read their book and review it. Experience the blessing of being a good friend to a fellow writer.
And may the Lord bless your book launch with much success, whether your release occurs during a calm or in the midst of a storm.
Elaine Marie Cooper is the author of Fields of the Fatherless, a historical fiction based on a true story from the American Revolution. She has also penned three historical romances: The Road to Deer Run, The Promise of Deer Run and The Legacy of Deer Run. Her passions are her family, her faith in Christ and the history of the American Revolution, a frequent subject of her fiction. She grew up in Massachusetts, the setting for many of her novels.