Because I'm not a famous author (yet), I still have a day job. Some of you may know that I am the lead teacher in an infant classroom at a Child Development Center in Nashville. The children in my class range from 6 months to 15 months. Usually at some point between their first birthday and 15 months, they move on up to the next classroom, the Toddler Room, where they hang out until just past their 2nd birthdays. During that year they learn how to feed themselves, share, sit for story time, play well with others, walk and then run. Well, my YA fantasy novel just reached 2 years old, and I can tell you, through this book I've learned to do a lot of those things in the publishing world as well.
When Cry of the Sea was born in February, 2014, published by a small press who made it clear that publicity was primarily my job not theirs, I had no idea what I was doing. Yeah, I'd started my social media pages, but that's like expectant parents buying the crib and changing table, maybe some green and yellow outfits because they aren't sure what they are going to have yet. When the book arrived very quietly into the world, I had a party at a local bookstore and slowly but surely tried to find a place in the world for this baby. I did a couple school visits and stood for hours at local fairs. I tried focusing hard on the mermaid angle of the book by posting lots of fantasy pictures on Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr (still do).
By the time the book turned a year old, I knew I had to do more than coddle my little creation. It was time for it to grow. I got bolder about approaching bloggers for reviews and fed my book with happy, glowing words of praise. To pay back the bloggers, I thanked them and shared their blogs as much as I could. I was making friends in the indie book world, and I wanted to grow those friendships. So, I've made a point of reading books by local and indie authors I've met in person or online and leaving reviews on Amazon and Goodreads when I can. I've had themes on my blog, featuring the work of fellow authors. I also joined some online writing groups and met lots of interesting people. That led to my participation with The Multicultural Children's Book Day event, which was a lot of fun.
I did a lot of personal appearances last year. Some were awesome, like the school visits where I felt like a celebrity. I had a great time at the Murfreesboro Earth Day celebration. I loved speaking in the panels at Libertycon in Chattanooga, although there weren't any YA fans at the event to buy books. Sigh. I went to a number of planned "book fairs" where there weren't many people in attendance. These things are disappointing, but I still smiled and visited with the other authors. I got pictures. I thanked the hosts for having me. Who knows? Maybe their next event will be a big hit, and I could be a part of it because I didn't bite and scream when I didn't get everything I wanted. To that end, I've been invited back to speak at an event this coming summer that was a bit of a bust for me last year. I'm hoping it'll be better this time around.
Cry of the Sea had a wobbly start, tentatively taking steps and occasionally stumbling. It's beginning to cruise along at a steadier pace now, and I think people are beginning to recognize the name or the cover when they see it. I'm still looking for more ways to get exposure for it so it can really take off running and leaping. To help, I gave the book a present for her birthday: a little sister named Whisper of the Woods. She's just a baby and needs some snuggles. Oh, and by the time Cry of the Sea turns three next year, there might be another sibling. Hopefully, by then I'll be one of those tried and true moms whose been through it all with her first two and knows exactly what to do when the third one comes along.
Please help me celebrate this milestone day in my writing career by getting yourself a copy of Cry of the Sea. If you've read it already, bless you! This might be a great time to pick up Whisper of the Woods or share on your Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr or Facebook page how much you like the book. Thanks so much!
Feel free to leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you.
D. G. Driver
Author of Young Adult books Cry of the Sea and Passing Notes.