How Can You Help?
With the overwhelming series of unfortunate events surrounding my Leading With Love tour, I must say that your outpouring of love and concern have been so heart-warming.
So often when authors undertake something of this magnitude, we feel like we are "in it" alone. It makes sense; we do spend a lot of time alone. I write best when I'm alone... I research alone... I daydream alone... I create alone... And while all of my creations are meant to enrich the lives of others, they must have time to steep in quite and solitude.
My book signings and workshops are my main opportunities to really get to be with people and interact with them.
All that to say, I always just assume that I have to find solutions to my problems... alone.
So for the first few dozen folks or so, when they ask me "What can I do to help?" I've said, "Nothing, I just have to figure things out."
For person number thirteen, that was an unacceptable answer. I got the "No man is an island" speech.
So... (short of sending me food and gas money) I have come up with a list of ways you could help me keep my head above water with little to no cost to you.
This list will actually help any author on your love list but allow me to thank you in advance by participating in any, or all of the following suggestions!
1. Have You Bought A Book? (or several?)
Contrary to popular belief, I do not make much money from the sale of my books. However, every time a book is purchased through Amazon, it raises my status and ranking. I make more of an income when I sell my books at fairs, books signings or out of my trunk (lol). But the actual "public" sale of my books help me more in the long run. So if you haven't done so, go to amazon.com and search my name and purchase a book!
2. Leave a Review (5 stars?)
Once you read the book and realize how wonderful it was, while the moment is still warming your heart, head back to Amazon and leave a really great review. This too, raises my ranking (even more than the purchase. So if you have already purchased one of my books elsewhere, PLEASE, please, please go leave a review!) The higher ranking, the more Amazon will promote my books and get them in front of new readers. (A lot of new authors are purchased thanks to the "if you liked this book, you might like this.... method!)
Goodreads.com is also a really great place to leave a review!
Also- if you loan your book out to anyone else to read, please encourage them to leave a review as well!!
3. Amazon Searches
Every time you go on Amazon for anything, search my name. Type Elizabeth Bourgeret into the search bar, whether you need a new book or not. (Even if you are shopping for vitamins, fishing lures or cookware or... whatever) Again, it helps to trigger Amazon that maybe they might need to make my work a bit more accessible. If you are like me, I shop for everything on amazon! I also let Amazon know who I am similar to. For example, I'll do a search for Joel Osteen, Karen Kingsbury, Tony Robbins or Francine Rivers and THEN I'll do a search for my name. It starts to link the names together.
4. Social Media
Love it or hate it, I have to be a part of it. I do love it for the great way it allows me to connect with readers and give those who are interested quick updates of the highs and lows into the life of Elizabeth Bourgeret and her Great Dane, Meera.
You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+.
Whether you are on there sixty times a day or once a month, please like and follow my page.
I try very hard not to post too often and I am always considerate of inflammatory content. But my pages are a great way, like I said, to get quick updates, share stories and thoughts and be privy to new blog posts or books.
5. Share Posts
Yes, not only do I ask that you like my Author page, I do ask that you share posts or comment on them. (The demands are getting greater!! Sorry you asked yet? Lol) If you have found a reason to like me, there's a chance that someone connected with you just might like me too. Please encourage others to like my posts and hopefully, my page.
There are a lot of Elizabeth Bourgeret memes floating around with my quotes either made from my camp or elsewhere, but if you see one, PLEASE like it and share it!! It helps to build name recognition!
6. Local Bookstores
While you are out and about, stop in at your local bookstore (big or small) and request that they carry my books. (This can also link back to #1. If you want to help support your local bookstore AND me, this is a great way to do it! I love to promote and support the smaller bookstores! Just request that they order my book for you to purchase and maybe they'll get an extra to carry in their store. OR when I get around that city they may be more likely to allow me to come in for a book signing!!)
7. Invite me to your Book Club!
Book Clubs are SO fun! I'd love to support your book club! I am happy to help with book discounts for bulk purchases, I'm happy to Skype with your group and answer questions or if you are within a 60 mile radius of where I am located, I'd be most honored to make a live appearance, sign books and chat about whichever book you guys are reading!!
So, there you go. There are seven suggestions that you can help me get past this dreadful "hump" that I'm having trouble getting past. These are little to no cost, but just take up a bit of time. (Add a post-it note close to your computer to help remind you of your favorites so they can be done multiple times...!)
I can't say enough how much I appreciate your thoughts, prayers, words of encouragement and now actions. I am thrilled that you have chosen me to invest a piece of your heart in. It reminds me that I am doing good things and am where I am supposed to be.
Thank you, and thank you again.
Permission to Spoil Yourself
I had a birthday this past week. When I woke up, I was prepared to be sad and even depressed because I was alone. Far away from family and anyone who might love me... or even like me a little. Once I figured out that each day is a gift, my attitude changed just a little bit. But I was still so lonely because I knew that no one was going to do anything nice for me for my birthday. No cake. No party. No dinner invites. I was so sad!
(In actuality, no sooner did my eyelids flutter to life, my phone started chirping with birthday wishes and greetings of love and affection. I was not forgotten! And suddenly I felt worthwhile. I mattered now, because someone somewhere out in the world loved me.)
But the most poignant message I got was from my sweet niece and she said, "Happy Birthday, I hope you use this day to spoil yourself."
It dawned on me that I don't have to wait for someone else to do something nice for me. I don't have to do without! I could do it myself! I have been given permission to celebrate my special day even though I have to do it all by myself! (Well, it doesn't take much to convince the Great Dane, Meera to have a party!)
As I am constantly trying to teach "my" teens that they should love themselves (before they can expect others to love them) this is one way of showing love to yourself. What a lesson for me! So I did...
I had an extra serving of bacon with breakfast. I took a long, long, extra long hot shower. I went to the beach with my dog, Meera. (There were dolphins!! They were swimming SO close to the shore I could have walked out and touched them!! There were hundreds of sand dollars everywhere too!) I wrote in my latest manuscript. I relaxed, stared out over the water and thought about the people that I loved. I ate an entire box of chewy Sweetarts. I watched a couple episodes of Bones and finished out the night with a favorite movie, a bowl of popcorn and a glass of wine. The only thing I couldn't get my hands on was birthday cake. (Because, as you know, birthday cake is the only kind of baked good that has no calories...) But it was not meant for me that day, I guess.
Overall it was a good day. It was a good birthday. While I love being around my friends and family for the special occasions, this has truly been a lesson that my happiness is not dependent on other people. I could have easily chosen to spend the day in bed and stay sad that no one is doing anything nice for me, but every single birthday wish I got on my phone or on Facebook was enough for me. I am loved. I am treasured and not even birthday cake can say that any better!
This is the life that I have chosen for myself. To travel and be an author and create awesome workshops as I go. Therefore, I am going to be away from my "support group" quite a bit of the time. I need to know how to make myself happy. I need to love me in case there isn't anyone else around to remind me that I am lovable. And... it's okay to spoil myself every once and again. Because I am special. And I am worth it.
So this is me giving you permission to spoil YOURself! Love you for you. Celebrate your awesome uniqueness and know that you don't have to wait for someone else to celebrate you.
(By the way, thank you everyone for the birthday wishes! They really and truly made my day. Each and every one brought a smile to my face! It's good to be loved.)
Over the weekend, our country celebrated its birthday. So Meera, my trusty Great Dane, and I went down to the riverfront to join in on the festivities! There were crowds, and vendors and kids everywhere. Meera was in heaven! She loves all the attention she gets when we go to these events. And I enjoy the live bands, so it's usually a win-win. We find a nice spot to stand so I can dance in place to the music and she can wait patiently for kids and adults to come up to pet her, marvel at her size and compliment her on her demeanor. She loves every moment of it. She is patient and doesn't even slobber on people. She has to watch the tail every once in a while... but other than that, she is a most congenial festival-goer.
This year I noticed that when people came up to us, they would talk directly to Meera and not to me. It's only when Meera didn't respond to their questions that they'd finally turn to me for answers.
I met up with a few friends and while we were standing around, the people who would come up to pet Meera, would ask my FRIENDS about MY dog! I'm holding the leash and everything! As if I wasn't even there. They would ask my friends the "owner questions" like, how old, boy or girl, what breed, can we pet her...
Wouldn't you think to ask the one holding the leash those questions?? Me too, but everyone directed their questions else where.
So, the experiment continued. I handed the leash over to one of my friends to see if the questioning varied. NO! They STILL asked them instead of ME!! HELLO!! I'm the Momma!! So I stood watching my friends be the dog owner... it was weird.
But it got even worse! When my friends didn't know the answer to the questions they would look to me and I would answer them! The "petters" waited for the answer to come back through the friend, and then acted like it was the first time they heard the information. Sometimes, my friends would even say, "It's her dog." and they STILL wouldn't look to me! I have never felt so invisible in all my life!! I've always thought I was approachable. I try to be kind and friendly. I'm available to answer Great Dane questions... Big dog questions, good with kids questions... It was the weirdest thing. Even my friends were starting to see the reality of it so, it wasn't just in my head!
It turned into the joke of the evening, and even while Meera was attached to my wrist, I concentrated on the music and my friends socialized with the dog-folks that came up to her.
Who ever said bringing your pet to the park is the best way to meet people was obviously not invisible!