Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Authors Need To Ride Out The Storm

You ever go camping with your family? I uncovered one important life lesson -- and book marketing approach -- on a recent camping trip with my wife, eight-year-old daughter, and 11-year-old son. It was this:  Tough it out.

That was the mantra espoused by my son when we were confronted with making a decision over whether to pack it in when rain threatened our overnight camping trip some 90 minutes from our house.  He convinced us - and another family that had joined us for this wet excursion -- to push through, challenge the odds, and to fight through our circumstances.

“Quitter,” he would assault me out loud with that word as I contemplated cutting the trip short.

“Tough it out,” he would alternately shout.

We spent so much time preparing for the trip, packing: food, a tent, clothes, bikes, a kayak, and games.  We did all of the little things that go into making a trip successful, from arranging for a dog walker to buying needed supplies. We’d mapped out our trip and coordinated with our friends.  How could we turn back just a few hours into it just because of a weather forecast?

Don’t the weather people get it wrong so often?  Shouldn’t we at least try to move forward, given all that we’d done to get this far?  “Look at it this way, Dad,” said my son.  “If we pack it up now, we guarantee the trip is over, but if we try, maybe we’ll get more things to do.” 

Who raised this pushy, optimistic kid?

On the other hand, if we cut our losses and go home, we assure ourselves of things to do that aren’t weather-dependent. We can be home in time for a good dinner and dry bed.

There were good arguments for both.  Going home was a safe bet but there’d be no chance to enjoy whatever benefits and joy camping has to offer. Staying gave us a lottery ticket, but the odds really didn’t favor us.  Do we use the past (effort to make the trip happen) to create our future (stay, because we felt too invested)?  Or do we acknowledge the past shouldn’t dictate what our best option for the future may be?

I realize authors and publishers have to decide this every day.  When you put in time and money to write, promote, and market a book, at what point do you pull the plug on the project?  When do you persevere, and when do you retreat? It’s not an easy decision.

We, after much debate, decided to stay. We ended up cooking over a campfire in the rain (but the trees blocked a lot of it out).  We had an early bedtime and then slept to the patter of rain that relentlessly fell for 10 hours straight. We each got up in the middle of the night complaining we couldn’t sleep for one reason or another. It wasn't the norm to be up around 4:30 am, was it?

We toughed it out and by 8 am we left our tent for a breakfast joint 10 minutes away. Ok, so it was modern “roughing it” but we endured and made it through the night.  The threatening weather canceled our beach and kayak plans but we remained in town and ended up seeing a regional theater rendition of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn.

On the way home we stopped off at a favorite shake and burger place but much to our surprise, it was closed. Police tape ran across the doorway. Two state trooper cars were parked outside. We found out later the place had been burglarized.

Not all plans work out.  Nor do alternate plans fare any better.  But it is worth trying to succeed and pushing forward even in the face of challenges and adversity.

We took ourselves out of our element and comfort zone. We needed a new vantage point from which to see things.  Our small and brief adventure was a little Tom Sawyer-like. He loved to explore and go on an adventure, even if it meant unnecessarily raising the stakes and thrusting himself into danger.  We only risked a few hours of comfort and sanity – but it was worth it.

When in doubt, tough it out.  You may find it pays off, even though it may not be in the way you’d hoped for.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2016.

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