S-curves of life

Mad in Pursuit Notebook

Where is my tow truck out of the “learning zone”?

(Published Oct. 23, 2022 as Newsletter No. 3)

October 23, 2022. OMG, here I am, not a month into my “weekly” newsletter, already late with issue #3. I am in the Learning Zone. I’ve had various blogs over the years—”since 1999” as my logo says. But since only a handful of people ever read them, I wrote them for primarily for myself.

What if you write and no one is reading? You accumulate twenty-two years of “great thoughts” mixed with a lot of blah-blah-blah. So it’s not like I lack material. I’ve also just come off two years of polishing and tightening KITTY’S PEOPLE, so my writing skills are about as good as they are going to get. And I’m up every morning, hours before Jim, organizing notes and drafting paragraphs. My three ingredients for productive work: abundance of materials, skill, and butt in chair.

So what’s my problem? I’ve just take a huge leap from the snuggled-up comfort of book-writing into the strange and unknown world of book-marketing. I’m suddenly starring in that dream where you’re back in school and look down to find you’re naked.

My remedy is typical Susan: where do I find the instruction manual? (The one that doesn’t involved cold calls, please.) I did find the marvelous BuildBookBuzz website, by Sandra Beckwith, who also hosts a Facebook group. I was inundated with tips, tools, and tactics, which I took lots of notes on. She recommended the Sticky Blogging course, which promised to help find my “thousand true fans.” I signed up. She recommended Philip S. Duncan’s course in email marketing for authors. I signed up. She recommended a webinar on building author platforms. I signed up. Etcetera, etcetera.

Exhausted yet? Pity the poor learner who goes all in. What was I thinking?

If one thing emerged from this tidal wave of advice, it was the value of the mailing list, with a newsletter to keep new friends engaged. Better than a blog! More powerful than ads (in the long run)! So here I am at the trailhead of the learning curve. I am awash in instruction manuals.

I hate the Learning Zone slog. But I am old enough now that I understand: it’s a stageKnuckle down and get to the other side.

But, oy, to go through your learning in public? Promise something you’re not quite prepared to deliver? While your monkey mind is chattering away about all the new “rules” you’ve been learning? How humbling. Already I have tossed away three newsletter drafts that I couldn’t make work.

So, dear readers, buckle your seatbelts as I spin my wheels, jump a few curbs, and possibly slide off the road into a bog.

If you have any tales of life in the learning zone, I’d love to hear about it! Any tips on getting through?

P.S. Take note of the image above, which I have posted many times before. It keeps informing my life.

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Books from Mad in Pursuit and Susan Barrett Price: KITTY'S PEOPLE: the Irish Family Saga about the Rise of a Generous Woman (2022)| HEADLONG: Over the Edge in Pakistan and China (2018) | THE SUDDEN SILENCE: A Tale of Suspense and Found Treasure (2015) | TRIBE OF THE BREAKAWAY BEADS: Book of Exits and Fresh Starts (2011) | PASSION AND PERIL ON THE SILK ROAD: A Thriller in Pakistan and China (2008). Available at Amazon.