• GloriaFeldt
  • Countdown to Publication 28 days out: Defining My Terms
Countdown to Publication 28 days out: Defining My Terms
Written by
September 2010
Written by
September 2010
Hi SheWriters- I'm embarrassed to ask, but did you ever forget what's in your own book between when you finished writing it and your first launch event? I found I needed to reread No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How we Think About Power stem to stern before my first in-person media interview about it yesterday. I literally couldn't remember the chapter titles, let alone the 9 Ways. Last week I shared my website predicament. The central element of my marketing campaign was six weeks behind schedule, delaying my newsletter and much more. Quick update: as Deborah suggested, I employed power tool #3: use what you've got. I'm framing my first newsletter as a sneak preview, being honest that I don't have it all together yet--but grateful for supportive friends and my passion for helping women lead unlimited lives. It’ll go out September 13. Meanwhile I’m using social media daily to build interest in the book. It’s also time to focus on short lead media. By last Friday, my eyeballs felt like they were about to fall out from reviewing and adding to spreadsheets my publicist had sent. It hit me that pitching highest leverage media intensively and knowing deep in my bones what core messages I want to communicate to them will be infinitely more fruitful than trying to list and do everything that possibly could be done. So what I want to share with you this week is the most important of all the 9 Ways: Power tool #2: Define your own terms—first, before others define you. This has profound implications for women and our relationship with power. Because whoever defines the terms usually wins the debate and determines what’s considered important in our personal lives, at work, and in the civic arena. For my Countdown that means: • Immerse myself back into my book's content and my purpose in writing it—to inspire women and give them the practical tools to stand in their power, walk with intention, and lead unlimited lives. • Pare my most important three messages down to 10 spoken seconds each. Well, maybe 15. • Separate the important from the merely urgent. For example, writing timely and provocative op eds is truly important; making sure every e-mail address on my list is accurate is just urgent. • Say “no” to what’s not serving me well. I asked my publicist to spend an hour on the phone talking through my media contacts and selecting those with most reach to our target audiences. • Let something go if it can’t be done adequately in the time I have. This was the hardest. I had my heart set on embedding a social network in my website where readers could connect with each other and discuss the book. But there was no way I could create a quality social site before the launch, even using a template, so I’ve jettisoned it for now in favor of a simple blog. I can always add it later as a new attraction. And truthfully if I never get it done, no one but me will miss it! What have you let go of in the interest of making your launch manageable? Did you make a strategic choice or feel pushed into it? How have you defined your terms?

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  • GloriaFeldt

    Deb--you are so thoughtful and insightful. Thanks for this perspective. I also love the metaphor of being bathed in the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm holding that in my mind.

  • Debjani Chakravarty

    First of all, congratulations again on being bathed with the light at the end of the tunnel! : ) You are truly an inspiration! This book is going to be immensely useful not just to those who struggle incessantly, unbeknownst of the power they can own and yield, but to those that understand and negotiate power, yet do not understand why things aren’t going the way they should.
    As for your being suddenly aware that you had forgotten what you wrote, it does sound familiar. I haven’t had a book launch yet, but I’ve read my articles and poems later and wondered “did I write that?” This sense of being stranger to my own work baffles me, once created, they take on a life of their own. More so for a book where writing the actual book is only a part of an intriguing web of events and preparations that creates the actual physical (and these days digital, I love trees but I still cannot come to terms with digital books) copies, which become a part of public discourse forever.
    I like tools 2 and 3: and I feel the latter cannot be accomplished without the former. Unless you set the terms of the debate, the action and the trajectory, even resources available to you might just remain inaccessible. I cannot wait to read your book!

  • GloriaFeldt

    CV, I only hope I can learn from myself LOL. I remember my father often joked with me (well maybe he wasn't joking) "Do as I say not as I do." But then that is why we need friends and sisters in this world, to remind us of who we are.

    As to your ultra-kind offer of support, what every book needs these days is lots of blogs, tweets, online reviews,and facebook postings. On or about Oct. 5 in the case of No Excuses. I was impressed with the 'how you can help" list Courtney Martin sent out when she announced her terrific new book "Do It Anyway" and I plan to plagiarize, um, share similar ones far and wide here and elsewhere when No Excuses launches. Meanwhile, I'd be delighted to send a pdf or review copy to any SheWriter who is inclined to review, pitch an article, or blog about No Excuses.

  • CV Harquail

    Gloria, I appreciate the way you are re-immersing yourself in your own wisdom by applying the principles of your own book! Not only is this effective from an outside perspective, but what it helps you find within yourself. I'm so excited for this book to come out! Please let me/us know what we can do to support the launch. cv

  • GloriaFeldt

    Thanks for that great example of having to make tough choices about where to do readings, Deborah. And thanks to Renate, Lise Marie, and Debra for e-mails suggesting they could relate to my fear of having forgotten what I wrote in the book by the time it comes out.

    In my next column I am going to report on a meeting I have coming up with a group of bloggers who are interested in writing about No Excuses. I'm going to ask them to be a focus group so I can probe them for advice about how I can best give them what they need to promote my book via blog book tours, reviews, and whatever else they might suggest. I think our ideas about how many cities we should go to are quickly being overridden by the variety of online options available to authors so we can connect with people and share our book's content in very targeted ways. Stay tuned. I will share all.

  • Deborah Siegel Writing

    Oooh good, important questions Gloria. I remember feeling disappointed that I wasn't going to more cities on a book tour (back in the days when I thought publishers enthusiastically sent authors on these things, set them up entirely, etc). I thought you couldn't be a "successful author" if you didn't have readings at the chains lined up left and right (other people's terms -- terms that, these days, are defunct, given the genesis of things like the virtual book tour!). Anyway at the time, my decision to hit only those cities that felt important to me, and where I knew I had a base or specific people I wanted to celebrate with, helped me realize that it was quality, not quantity, that mattered to me when it came to readings at stores (MY terms).