After years of gathering, supporting, building relationships and writing, we scuffed in a circle not knowing how to accommodate the wishes of each member of our writing group. Publish? Not Publish? All of us? Some of us?
A friend who knew the intricacies of publishing suggested that ‘getting published’ might not be the most difficult challenge. His perspective suggested that maintaining the relationships was an even greater obstacle. Competition, ego, assigning blame–all human tendencies, would ooze into the process.
In our euphoria, we discounted his experience, vowing that we had the character and courage to continue in friendship and determination. However, balancing the wishes of everyone could not happen. When the goal of being published became firm, our group grew smaller. From the original twelve women, various kinds of attrition brought us to four — Four Ordinary Women.
We began the work of finding a publisher, making that goal the measure of our success. Rejection slips did not discourage. After some negotiation, a publisher sent a contract. Hours and efforts melted into the joy of knowing our book was in process.
A new yardstick, a new goal, new hours and efforts took renewed commitments of time and energy. With a beautiful book in hand, we realized that the launch was not the success. Launch was a step, but not a time for laurels.
The initial launch happened at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City, late May 2009. Our euphoria dissolved in August, 2009 when the publisher closed the business. We were left with our three-month old, no formula for marketing or publicity and a learning curve that felt impossible. On our own, we continued.
Our first signing event at Keeler Women’s Center in Kansas City, Kansas was amazing, a subject of previous blogs. This will always carry the imprint of our original public success. In truth, it was a gentle and supportive baby step. Much more was to come.
Attrition took another punch and we became three ordinary women at most signing events. Eventually, two ordinary women carried the ball with a third becoming a part-time ordinary.
As we reviewed our new and daunting goals, someone suggested the trite game of Seven Steps to Kevin Bacon, a method of connecting any human on the planet to any other human by seven steps of increased contact. If the game works, any of us could be introduced to Michelle Obama, Joyce Carol Oats, Bill Gates, Colin Powell, Oprah, Bill Moyers, Ellen, Coretta Scott King, or a woman selling jewelry in a remote village somewhere on this earth–all through seven handshakes along the process. These seven steps might connect Four Ordinary Women to that public figure who, given the opportunity, would recognize the message of our book.
Together, the two of us, Patti and I, have smiled at this suggestion as we continue our work of making contacts, pursuing author events,gulped and shallow breathing when overwhelmed, middle of the night prayers, day light doubts constantly squelched by an intense belief in our book and in one another.
Just in case you, Gentle Reader, happen to be one of our seven steps to success, we invite you to visit us (gold embossed linen stock invitation) through our website http://www.fourordinarywomen.com or via comment on this blog. As always, you are appreciated.