ANTHOLOGIST: A person who compiles a collection of art, music or literary pieces.
5 Reasons YOU Should
BECOME AN ANTHOLOGIST
JOYCE M. ROSS
There are five reasons why Patricia and I encourage others to become inspirational anthologists.
1. Everyone has a story worth telling and wisdom worth sharing.
2. People enduring great hardship need to know that they are not alone.
I recently lost my father to cancer. Throughout the four months I spent caring for Dad as he slowly wilted into a childlike state, Shirley J. Bueckert’s story of losing six loved ones in three years gave me the courage to stay fully present with Dad until the very end. Shirley was the earth angel in my corner, silently assuaging my grief as the pending death of my father darkened and narrowed my world. When I needed strength, hope or consolation, I vicariously borrowed it from her. Through reading Shirley’s story, I had a sense of kinship with another human being who’d experienced the depth of my pain. I was not alone.
3. Humanity suffers from a myriad of afflictions, all of which can be eased by learning what skills, attributes and actions helped someone else to cope, heal and go on to thrive.
4. Thanks to the social media and our insanely busy lives, people increasingly want information delivered in short snippets. This accounts for the popularity of blogs, vlogs and YouTube. It also explains the growing popularity of anthologies.
5. Writing a book is 10% of the publishing journey. The other 90% is marketing. No matter how wonderful your prose might be, unless the world is aware of your book, it will go unread. Along with mastering the social reach of the Worldwide Web, co-marketing an anthology greatly expands your global reach.
Of late, a few indie writers commented to Patricia and me that there is little financial return from book authorship. This is true and false. Marketing is not for the weak-willed; however, it is for the skilled. From romance to horror, writers of all genres will benefit from creating and promoting in community.
A few years back, Patricia and I were divinely guided to gather authors together to compile a book of inspiring wisdom from those who have been there.
The universe wasn’t clear about whom we should invite to be part of this enlightening project, so after a few days of discussion, we decided to interview our friends and acquaintances as to whether they’d ever considered writing about their respective life-gained wisdom. Thus began our jaw-dropping excursion as we became privy to one incredible story after the other.
Larry Chase passionately shared his over two-hundred pound weight loss, choking back tears as he talked about: the embarrassment of having to weigh himself on fish scales, the humiliation of only being able to fit into jogging pants, the disgusting looks often tossed his way, and the day he decided to live.
Though she didn’t bring it along for her interview, Monica Forster informed us that she had an entire box filled with journals and videos about her battle with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a daunting diagnosis she received three weeks prior to finding out she was pregnant.
Shirley J. Bueckert was remarkably composed as she shared how she’d lost six loved ones, including her mother, father and husband, in less than three years.
Susan Berger Thompson continually flicked her long brown hair over her shoulder, seemingly still thankful that they hadn’t shaved it off when an aneurysm burst in her head and almost killed her. Obviously, she was revived.
With each interview, Patricia and I grew more humbled.
Though we were vaguely aware that these friends had been through hades and survived, we’d never bothered to dig for the details. Not once had we asked any of them what fears and scars still shadowed them or how they’d stayed afloat through the despair, worry and uncertainty. All we knew was that each seemed okay now.
Roswyn Nelson laughed and cried as she strolled down memory lane, telling us about the stigma, financial hardships, heartbreak and joys of being a single mom in the sixties. Amazingly, she found a splash of humor in everything, including when she broke her back. After she left, Patricia and I just shook our heads. Roswyn had been our friend for over thirty years—thirty years. How was it that we knew so little about her? How had we not known that her easy laugh was the tonic she employed to soothe what had once ached?
Sudipta Banerjee cried as she spoke of her husband’s death and the strangeness of becoming a new Canadian immigrant.
Katharine Fahlman told us about the bankruptcy that nearly ended her marriage. Georgina Grace shared her hellish nightmare through depression and how a late-night television announcement saved her life. Karie-Anne Hawthorne walked us through what it was like to be a weirdanator, a childhood nickname she assigned herself as a way of protecting herself from ridicule.
Bill Streng excitedly recounted dying, meeting God and the sheer beauty of the afterlife. A beauty so stupendous Bill said it couldn’t be put into words. Patricia and I laughed as we told him, “Bill, unless you have a video of your encounter with the Almighty, if you’re going to share your marvelous experience, you’ll need to figure out which words best portray what it’s like to be dead.” It took him six months, but he found the words.
Authors are a sensitive bunch, and our friends were no exception. Though most were glad to have a seasoned writer help them with scene development, grammar and story flow, a few who had some writing experience were downright insulted by our interference. After much negotiating and grumbling from both sides, their stories came to life.
During our weekly Inspirational Authorship class, one-by-one, each author verbally shared their journey with the group. Maria Ganguin lit up when she talked about the bingo win that rocked her world. Marcus Dwayne Harris guardedly told us how pleasing others eventually morphed into disappointing everyone. Arnold Vingsnes shared how betrayal by an employer derailed his self-worth and spun him toward suicide. Louise Morris chronicled the inner voices that kept her stuck in an abusive relationship. Born with Horner’s syndrome, J. Dennis Robert told us how he learned as a child that the keys to fitting in and making friends were ingenuity and fearlessness. Erika Taylor candidly revealed how she healed her need to be in a romantic relationship to feel whole. Elin Nash provided a heartwarming account of how she transformed fear of paranormal happenings in her apartment into an exciting spiritual awakening.
Though we hadn’t anticipated that it would be, taking the course and writing their stories became a healing catharsis for the authors. Because HEARTMIND WISDOM was created to provide readers with inspiring wisdom, Patricia compiled a series of self-exploration exercises into a workbook entitled “Passionate Purpose.” We also encouraged everyone to journal before they wrote their stories.
Some of our authors confessed to crying more than writing when they first put fingers to keyboard or pen to paper. All were pleasantly surprised by the therapeutic value in dissecting, exploring and chronicling how they’d moved through truly devastating circumstances.
Two words best capture the character of the twenty-one authors in HEARTMIND WISDOM Collection #1—resilient and courageous. Resilience is what got each through their particular challenge and heartache. Courage is what it took for each one to share the intimate details of their healing journey.
INSPIRATIONAL AUTHORSHIP &
The 13 Golden Writing Keys – Video Playlist
BLOG ABOUT WRITING
LAUNCH YOUR BOOK IN STYLE & AFFORDABLY
The Advantages of Promoting in Community
JOYCE M. ROSS
300 people attended our “Wellness Fair & Evening of Inspiration, Live Music and Dancing in Celebration of the Launch of HEARTMIND WISDOM Collection #2.” Best of all, because we worked in community with our HMW authors, speakers, musicians, and exhibitors, we promoted and hosted the event for little net-cost.
Below are the details of our event, followed by 5 things we’ll do differently when we launch HEARTMIND WISDOM Collection #3.
Target Marketing Plan
As HEARTMIND WISDOM is a collection of inspirational anthologies, we designed our launch around what would appeal to our target audience—inspiring speakers and musicians. Dancing was added as a fun networking means. The Wellness Fair was included to offset costs and increase appeal.
Speakers and Musicians
As we have twice hosted the Largest Human Peace Sign Concert, we are fortunate to be friends with a few amazingly talented musicians and accomplished speakers. In return for enhancing the ‘content’ at our event, we provided the presenters and performers with a manned display table for their books and CDs. We also had the launch professionally videoed and provided each of them with a promotional piece for their website. Additionally, the musicians were paid their normal performance fee.
We marketed the launch to our email contacts and through Facebook via an ‘Event’ and a series of posts. Speakers, musicians, exhibitors and the HMW authors were asked to forward our email to their databases and ‘tagged’ in each post. Most did invite their database and ‘shared’ at least a few postings with their social media following.
Tracking & Database
Interested attendees reached via social media and email were asked to register via our email address or phone number. This ensured we had accurate numbers regarding attendees and their contact info.
Questionnaire & Prize Drawings
To ensure attendees visited the Wellness Fair, we designed a questionnaire that could only be answered if they stopped by each booth. Exhibitors had the option of donating a prize for the free drawing, which most did. To be eligible to win a prize, the completed questionnaire/draw form had to have mostly 'correct' answers and the entrant's name, email and phone number.
As our target markets are similar, we chose to bill the exhibition as a Wellness Fair. Our exhibitors, however, were diversified and included: a chiropractor, a pain specialist, a multi-level marketing company with health-related products, make-up, handcrafted jewellery, fashion accessories and a psychic. The cost for a covered table was $125. We intentionally kept the price low to make it easier for exhibitors to make a profit and for us to secure vendors.
Space rental was our largest expense. However, after explaining that our event was community-oriented and that we didn't expect to make a large probfit, we were able to secure a discounted rate.
As there are 21 authors in each Heartmind Wisdom collection, those from Collection #1 were more than happy to volunteer at the launch of our second book. A few friends volunteered too.
Showcasing HEARTMIND WISDOM Collection #2
We kicked off the evening with a 5-minute visual presentation created with pictures from our Inspirational Authorships courses, 2012 and 2013 Largest Human Peace Sign Concerts, the day we filmed “HEART PRINTS: Be the Love; Be the Miracle” video, and various holiday celebrations. Next, with all of the authors standing up front with us, my mission partner Patricia Connor and I shared a bit about being anthologists and the honor of co-creating with such courageous and wise souls. Afterward, four of our authors briefly talked about their healing journeys.
What We’ll Do Differently for the Launch of
HEARTMIND WISDOM Collection #3
#1 – Our Wellness Fair was located on the far side of the ballroom. The problem: exhibitors need bright light and musicians prefer mood lighting. Next time, we’ll rent two rooms, not section off one larger room.
#2 – Without informing us, the hotel rented the room above us for a wedding reception. Halfway through the evening, their loud rock-and-roll band interfered with our indie-folk solo musician. Next time, we’ll insist that we are not located anywhere near an event with music.
#3 – Though we’ll again market our launch to attendees about two months prior, we’ll begin soliciting exhibitors further in advance—at least four months. To ensure we turn a profit, we will also secure a larger exhibition space.
#4 – Though we thoroughly enjoyed the dance band, most attendees left after the inspirational speakers, HMW author presentations, and solo artist performance. Next time, we’ll take dancing off the bill, which will reduce costs.
#5 – As part of our promotion and as a thank-you to our exhibitors, we created a separate website and Facebook site for our launch. We would have been wiser to keep everything under our main website. Next time, we’ll simply create a HEARTMIND WISDOM Book Launch webpage on Facebook and add a ‘tab’ to our Heartmind Effect website.
CLICK HERE to watch video of the
HEARTMIND WISDOM #2 Book Launch