I’ve been trying to find a way to motivate myself to promote my work.  I know there are many things I need to do in order to get my books noticed and read.  Regardless of appealing to editors and agents for traditional publishing, or going the digital route with an ebook.  I know I should keep trying, but its not always easy.

Last week, I met a man who put all that in perspective.

A man around seventy or eighty came into my work.  He was in good shape, but with the grayed white of his hair and the density of wrinkles on his face alone, I could tell his age.  This man wore a cap stating some of his awards for fighting in past times of war, times when it took ten weeks for 2,000 Americans to die, not ten years. Near his heart he wore two identical buttons–one on his shirt, one on his jacket–saying, “Re-elect President Obama.”

(Don’t worry Republican and third party friends, there’s something in this story you’ll like too.)

This man, this veteran, spoke confidently about the things he cared about, from the newspapers he read, to his thoughts on political affiliations.  I live in an area that’s highly conservative, so conservative that there are a few pro-Akin signs (but only a few).  Toward the end of my exchange with this gentleman, he asked, “Do you like my pins?”  I said yes, seeing that he could tell I’d looked at the buttons a few times already.  He reached into his pocket and pulled out another button just like the two he wore, giving the new button to me.

I noticed something else about this button once I had one.  The font on it was quite generic, something belonging to no one at all.  A real campaign pin would have a font consistent with the Obama campaign.  This was something that was made locally by a small group.  Combined with the fact that a senior veteran would have these in his pocket while wearing a cap noting some of his military achievements, there could only be one conclusion: this man was part of a small group looking to promote President Obama on a personal level, in an area where there was little chance of success.

In front of me was a man who’d literally bled for his country–as noted by him having a Purple Heart–and he was going to talk to strangers in an attempt to rally whatever support he could for a leader he supports.  This would be a tough assignment for anyone, just as promoting a book is a tough assignment to any writer.

What we have to do as writers is keep pushing through.  We have to dig up new opportunities, be willing to talk to anyone, and go wherever we might need to go.  Yes, we’re going to run into doors that will close on us, find people who won’t want to talk to us.  That’s part of the game.  The more we play, the more likely it will be that we do find someone who will share our passion for the things we write.

Keep submitting, keep writing.  If you need to make an ebook, do it.  Need to write a short story for a competition, shoot one out.  Aside from making you a stronger writer, it might help you find the next opportunity you need on your journey to becoming the writer you want to be.

Our writing successes start with one person and grow from there.  Find that person, keep looking for them and the opportunities they offer, even if you have to go into territory where most people won’t even want to talk to you.

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