Sharing the Creative Compass

It has never been easy for me to understand why people work so hard to create something beautiful, but then refuse to share it with anyone, for fear of criticism. Wasn’t that the point of the creation – to communicate something to the world? So PUT IT OUT THERE.

                                                -Elizabeth Gilbert


Sierra on SHARE:

It’s easy to forget that you’ve written a book in the gap between final submission and publication, even when that gap is only a few months long. Perhaps I should have written it’s “easier” — easier than thinking and rethinking all those on-the-page decision, worrying every word like a prayer bead.

Besides by this point, all authors have deeper worries: when the time came to write or contribute to the marketing materials for The Creative Compass, I sensed that I wasn’t alone in realizing I had no idea what my book was about, not to mention what made it different from other books. Why should anyone read my book? There was a point when, if truth serum had been administered, I would have answered this most basic question with: Beats me. Ummmmm, I spent a long time working on it. That’s gotta count for something, right?


Fortunately, that moment passed as it always does. In this instance, my dad and I dreamed, drafted, developed, and refined varied descriptions of the book and we were fortunate to have many excuses to do so: bookstore brochures and weekend workshops that needed text; interview questions to answer; radio and podcast interviews to participate in; and an online course that needed eight original lessons, multimedia, and exercises.

It often seems that authors hate marketing, but actually I think we love to hate it: it’s our first best chance to see what we’ve created through readers’ eyes when our work is no longer completely ours.

Dan on SHARE:

When Sierra and I submitted the final draft of The Creative Compass, we knew that our writing was complete, but not our work. Because our book couldn’t inform or inspire anyone who didn’t know it existed. So, months in advance of publication, we began to generate ideas about how to attract the attention of our target readers.

After looking over an early draft, fantasy novelist Terry Brooks, agreed to write a Foreword. Some of our early readers enthusiastically endorsed the book. On cue, our publisher’s marketing and publicity directors stepped in. In-house publicists are often work on overload, however, so we made suggestions and helped them prepare a press kit to send out to media outlets so as to attract the attention of radio and podcast hosts, journalists, and bloggers.

Even as I write these words, we’re immersed in the Share stage, having given talks and bookstore signings, participated in print and audio interviews, and created an online course as well as co-teaching writing workshops. My email list and social media network, which has grown due to many decades of work, helped facilitate much of our outreach.

Soon the time will come to step back from the stream of interviews and turn our attention to new creative projects. We hope that, in the manner of a first-stage booster rocket, we’ve generated enough momentum to carry the book into the hearts of readers. We can only rely on them to keep sharing their enthusiasm about our book with others, through the years, as the cycle begins again, and Sierra and I move on to other dreams and sticky ideas, waiting for their chance.


Tags: ,