Monday, August 29, 2016

Identity Crisis: Is Marketing Me?

A New Row to Hoe 
"Don't think of yourself as a newspaper reporter and editor anymore," Susan FitzGerald, a former colleague at the Philadelphia Inquirer told me, when I called her in a panic. "Think of yourself as an author."
Faced with a whole new challenge  in my so-called "retirement,"  I had spent the morning on the phone calling friends who had written books.  My calls weren't about the issue of writing a book, or getting a publisher. My three-year adventure was now in the hands of the printer.
No. My identity crisis was about marketing.
With  the book coming out in two months, I had started to peddle it, sending out emails, calling people, networking on social media. A part of me was reveling in it. But another part of me worried that I was crossing a line.
In my former editing job at the Philadelphia Inquirer, one editor, Butch Ward,  had called me "The Nudge." Of course, because of that I accomplished a lot. But at the risk of annoying others.
Beyond that concern, I was having an identity crisis. Why had I plunged into marketing, something I had never really done in my long career in journalism?  On my dance card already for October are a half dozen speaking engagements, and it's not like I'm a natural at that, having hidden behind a typewriter or computer for all of my career.
"It's not you," a near-and-dear someone said to me. "Find another project."
That comment had really set me off.
If this wasn't "me," why was I doing it? And who was I now?
My author-friends resoundingly chimed in with lots of reasons I had not been able to articulate:
"You love what you've discovered writing your book. Now you can share your excitement with others who are fascinated, too."
"It's what authors have to do. If you don't push it out, no one will know about it -- so what was the point of writing it?"
"You'll meet so many interesting people, and that will lead to things you never imagined."
"You'll leave every event on a high."
And, as Susan told me several times: "You'll have so much fun!"
What could be better at this stage of life than having so much fun!
And since I've decided to go for the marketing, take a look inside my book,
Boathouse Row, Waves of Change in the Birthplace of American Rowing.
(The new me just had to put it out there.)

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