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A Spark or a Flame?

I've gotten some traction on my book, but now what?

For starters, I finished the book I mentioned in my previous blog post... 11 days ago on February the 2nd. I know I should've made a blog post right after that but I'm still getting used to the whole idea of having a blog... and a website for that matter. Plus there's been some stuff going on recently that's taken up my focus for the last few days, which I'll go ahead and explain.

Recently, I was able to go to Perdue Primary (my old primary school) after talking with the principal Mrs. Gibbs, who happened to be my 5th grade teacher from elementary school. It was really great to see her again and to visit my primary school, especially when I'm nearing the end of my time in the Houston County school system as a high school senior. I'd been planning the visit for months with Mrs. Gibbs, and I ended up tagging along with a group of seniors who were already planning to visit the school as part of a PBIS rally for the students there. I spoke at the end and told them about how Mrs. Gibbs was the first teacher to make me cry, why I wrote the book, etc. You can find a link to the actual video here:

Unfortunately, the teacher who made the video forgot to actually start it when I began to speak, so my whole introduction and first few starting words are cut out, but the rest of the speech is there.

After I spoke the rest of the seniors went back to school, and I stayed behind so I could read my book to a few of the classes in person. I read the book while Mrs. Gibbs held up another copy so that all of the kids could see the pictures, and then after I answered a few questions that the students had about being an author. I have to hand it to Perdue Primary, a lot of the kids are better behaved there than the high schoolers I have class with, and they would agree with me on that as well.

I left with a smile knowing that I'd done my first ever author's event (hopefully of many) and proceeded to crash and burn because the adrenaline I'd had from speaking in public had worn off. I cannot emphasize how stressed out I was to speak to the kids, and how I re-wrote and re-rehearsed what I was going to say over and over again until I'd settled on a basic layout/formula of what I wanted to share with the students. In hindsight, I didn't need to worry nearly as much as I did, but I suppose old habits and anxieties die hard.

I'm getting sidetracked, the point of this is that after the speech to the kids, my librarian Mrs. Jackson shared the video that was taken of my speech and posted it on our school Facebook after making it look pretty, and also shared it with our school's media coordinator. She reached out to a few news stations, and two local channels responded to our shared amazement! 13 WMAZ and 41 NBC news.

They came to the school and did a basic interview of me, asking me some questions about the book, why I'd written it, etc. They also made me do "B-Roll" and at the last minute I even did a Zoolander face for the camera, which hopefully is still saved somewhere on their hard drives. It marked my first ever author's interview, or any kind of television interview for that matter (hopefully the first of many). Alot of what I said was cut out of the final edit for the broadcast, but they did justice to what I said, and it was incredible (if not somewhat embarrassing) to see myself on TV. You can find a link to the video 13WMAZ aired and the article 41 NBC posted below.

P.S: The 13 WMAZ interviewer misheard me. My grandfather is STILL ALIVE, I chose the pen name Ud Din because of my GREAT grandfather, not just 'grandfather', although I DID dedicate the book to my grandfather. Writing this now though, I can see why that would be confusing...

As a result of these TV interviews, for the first time my book's actually been gaining some traction aside from my maddening email chains. Over 50+ sales have occurred after a dry spell all throughout January, and it's just been exciting and almost overwhelming to see the positive feedback from everywhere. Although I don't tend to show it due to my general embarrassment and overall sass, I've been nothing but appreciative of all the kind words that friends, family, and even stranger alike have all been saying about my book.

Right now, my greatest concern is seeing whether or not this is all just a dwindling spark of interest that'll pass, or if I can fan it into a legitimate flame. I need to capitalize on the success that these TV interviews have brought me (if the time frame for doing so hasn't already passed), so the spark of interest that's been generate doesn't die out before I can grow it into something stronger. I've found that for better and worse, trends come and go far faster than before, and people are always looking for what comes next. Because of my limitations, it can be somewhat difficult to try and figure out what to do next, but I've got a few ideas in mind to expand my book's reach further.

My main goal is to try and get my book available on physical shelves, if not just for a short period of time. This would increase awareness of my book, but also allow me to make almost 10x as much off of each book sale as Amazon takes away $7 of every $8 book I sell. By selling it physically and cutting out Amazon (aside from buying author copies of the book), I can increase profit margins and generate more for Make a Wish Georgia and Cure CMD. This of course won't be easy, as it's an entirely new beast to deal with, but I'm going to do my best to try and figure out the next way forward to further myself as an author.

There's also the ever-present desire of getting a publisher but well... still nothing but hopes, dreams and fears on that front, so that'll have to wait until someone comes to me (who isn't trying to scam me). And then of course I need to find another new illustrator for my next book, but the person I was talking to hasn't responded after several months and it looks like I'll have to wait on that end as well.

Until then, it'll just be me marketing and hoping I can maintain and grow traction in my book before it's too late, if it isn't too late already. Now that people are actually reading this blog for a change according to Wix analytics, I can now say with confidence to whoever reads this blog post next,

Thank you for reading this, and I look forward to writing another post soon (sooner than it took me to write this one, at least).

Farewell for now,

- Ud Din.


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