It was a tremendous month. I saw sales of the book increase. More reviews of the book came in on Amazon and other sites. Increased attention on Twitter came in the form of new followers, retweets, and so on.
But more than gaining numbers, I also learned a great deal from the Book of the Month process. The lessons will stay with me far beyond the month of October 2015:
- Engagement is different than support. RRBC Founder Nonnie Jules gave me the insight a few months ago that though I was supporting other RRBC authors with arms-length tweets, retweets, reviews, etc., I wasn’t necessarily engaging with them. So I began actually engaging – leaving comments on blogs, asking questions of fellow authors on the RRBC website, posting more in general, reading more. I got to know fellow authors a bit better and let them know me a bit better as well. Connecting and communicating more each day. And it led to more good things — like this special October, where I got to share my book with a new audience. I look forward to continuing this journey of engagement, because it’s introducing me to new ideas and people each day and enabling a marvelously vital and mutual encouragement.
- The more I read, the more I write. Many people have said this, but I’ve found that when I read and review more books by fellow authors, I learn more; I return to my own work with greater insight; and I bond more with other authors. I see now why regular reading and reviewing is a requirement of RRBC. It’s so that we can help each other, but also so that we can grow as writers as well.
- Anything of lasting value takes TIME. Yes, it takes time to engage with other authors. It takes time to write blog posts and comment on others’ blogs and blog tours. Yes, it takes time to read and review others’ work. Some would say all of this ‘takes us away’ from our own writing. And perhaps that’s true, but what we gain is more practical and valuable than the supposed cost: synergy. No author can exist in a vacuum. Starting out as a playwright, I certainly learned that. Which leads to #4:
- We need each other. We learn from each other. We spur each other to sharpen and improve and even compete (in a good way). Anyone who’s done #NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), for example, knows how important it is to have supporters to urge you on toward the goal (writing a new novel of 50,000 words in the 30 days of November). We can try to go it alone, but I guarantee the product (our work) won’t be as tested or refined; our quality as writers and our character as people won’t be as strong and wise, either. Finally…
- There is a joy in the journey. One of my favorite songs from singer Michael Card features this phrase. And although Card’s song describes a life of faith, we can also say this about all aspects of our lives as writers and people — there is much to enjoy and learn in our process, in our journey, not just in our destination or final product, as wonderful as it may be. If we only look at success as being an end-point, we miss so very much of the richness and victory of ‘becoming.’
So thank you, RRBC, for a special month I won’t forget anytime soon — and for lasting lessons I truly appreciate.