If you’ve followed this blog since early 2016, you may recall I have a genuine struggle with magazine subscriptions. Ordering and paying for them is simple enough, but when it comes to reading them in a timely manner I always seem to be somewhere else.
Until recently. At last I’ve found the key.
Two words: bathroom reading.
Kidding! Well, not exactly. Having a time and place to meet up with Poets & Writers and Writer’s Digest is helpful, but it’s what I do when I’ve finished reading these publications that’s making the difference.
No, I am not substituting their pages for toilet paper (imagine the plumbing bills). To you it may sound like the stupidest oversight, but I’ve finally realized that I should do something with the information I glean from magazines.
One of my action items from the May/June issue of Poets & Writers is to mourn an author on their IN MEMORIUM list. I’m probably the last person in the literary world to know that author and filmmaker Amy Krouse Rosenthal died on March 13 at the age of 51. Shortly before she died she wrote about dying of cancer for a column in the New York Times titled “You May Want to Marry My Husband.” You can read it for yourself here:
If you do, make sure you have a handkerchief nearby.
From May/June Writer’s Digest I’m half-heartedly pursuing ideas about building my social media platform. Like most writers, I’m not that keen on marketing but it’s a cold reality of today’s publishing world. Should I hunt down the perfect (for me) writers group on Facebook? Is it time, at last, to Twitter (please, God, no!)? Shall I browse some of the “101 Best Websites for Writers” for tips on finding an agent or doing a DIY MFA? Well, at least I’ve dog-eared some pages to acknowledge I should do this . . .
For marketing inspiration, I’ll look back to Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Perhaps best known for her 28 children’s picture books, she’s also written memoir. Her 2005 memoir “Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life” is how I know her best, entries about her own life on subjects from A to Z. This was an engaging read. Her marketing strategy also sticks with me. When the book first came out, she took 1,000 copies and left them in whatever places appealed to her: grocery store shelves, gas station rest rooms, places where you’d not expect to find a book from the author with a post-it note asking you to get in touch. Expensive? Yes. Effective? To some degree. Interesting? Yes. Playful? Definitely yes.
The takeaway for me is Amy’s enthusiasm for sharing her work- -her boldness, her daring, her sense of play. As a filmmaker, she launched a project called “The Beckoning of Lovely” (you can view this at her website, http://www.whoisamy.com/ ). I can’t sufficiently describe it, aside from the label public participation performance art. If you take a few minutes to watch the videos, you might feel a lift. In these times, a person can’t have too many.
Always remember: life is meant to be enjoyed.