Monday, August 27, 2012

The Long Run

A sprint requires a lot of skill. Speed. Leg muscles that respond quickly and a mindset that sees the goal right in front. The mental image is to be the first person to pull the tape away and win the game. Lean forward. Fracture the time by a few more hundredths of a second. You've got other able athletes on your heels. Push. Push…. Push.

A marathon is a different animal. It demands the runner take the long view. See the big picture. Acknowledge an awareness of strategy and a trust of the process. Develop muscles that can hang in there for the long run. 

Most new authors who elect the sprint strategy are doomed to fail. When their sales fall short of the goal they believe they should achieve at this very second, a certain level of panic sets in. Where the hell are their readers? Why aren't more people finding their book and once having found it, raving about it to the world? Without the answers (and the answers they seek don't exist), they decide their best course of action is to push.

A desperate person takes desperate measures. And most often, in real life, that's a terrible decision. No one I've ever met loves to be manipulated.

When I wrote my first manuscript (long before Red Tide), I began to understand that this was process. Even the 'overnight successes' authors had worked for years and formulated plans.

This is a marathon, and for that I'm grateful. I will hone my craft one book at a time and add to my base (whatever that is) one reader one at a time. I will appreciate each of them for the unique treasure they are. I won't push. (Well, I'll try not to push.) I don't want to be 'that person' who only communicates with others from a selling platform. I will not ever get so desperate I turn the marathon into a sprint.

A marathon makes me stronger. A marathon allows me to acquire skills and become a better writer. A marathon allows me to see more of the individuals who are cheering me on. A marathon not only lets me hear their voices, but see their faces.

I don't expect to be the next J.K. Rowling. I do expect to work at making Peg Brantley into an author her readers come to appreciate almost as much as she appreciates them. I'm in this for the long run.

It's all better with friends.


  1. Great article, Peg. I wish someone had explained it to me so well ten years ago!

    Best, Lauren

  2. Lauren, thank you. I also appreciate the shout-out on Facebook.