Have you ever watched a performer spin twenty plates at once? You know what I’m talking about, right? It’s where a person places a plate or bowl or some other object at the end of a long pole and keeps them spinning all at once without them falling and shattering to the ground. They have to run up and down the line, making sure to keep each one spinning quickly, only to have to rush down to the other end of the line as a plate starts to wobble and slow down, and they do this until they have them all spinning perfectly at once. Sometimes, I feel like my life is like that. Only, someone keeps adding poles and plates to my routine.
Last year, we added the Feel-Good Reads Bookstore, beginning our adventure into direct sales, adding eBooks and fan merchandise. Then, this year, we began our subscription programs on Ream, offering early access to our stories as well as discounts and other swag items. But, that wasn’t enough, so we added a third pen name—Morgan Quinn. And short stories on top of that. And another plate, and another plate, and another plate. Are you sensing a trend here?
And then we have to add in all the normal routines, such as our daughter graduating high school this year and Space Coast Book Lovers. Then there are doctor’s appointments, home repair, getting the child back and forth to her events, and of course, being social. I’m told I have to be social. All the time.
And then there’s spinning plates within spinning plates. I not only have to prepare for my signing at SCBL, but I also have to work on the Author Feud and the various activities like our Booknique and Tropes and Sips. So one plate could have several plates encircling it. Then there’s plates within the writing, like eBook, paperback, audio book, hardback, large print books, and the list goes on and on. Or rather, another pole goes up with a plate on it.
That doesn’t take into consideration that some plates are bigger than other plates and require more spinning. The creative plate spins constantly because I’m always thinking of stories and characters. I work several stories at a time, and usually have no problem diving right back in wherever I left off with any particular tale. However, the marketing plate wobbles a lot because I focus so much on the creative I forget to keep this one spinning, and then the administrative plate starts to wobble. Then there’s the networking, engagement, and eating. I like to eat. I never have trouble with this plate. Of course, the sleeping plate gets a little neglected at times, but I do take afternoon naps.
I’ve been working hard lately on platform building, branding yourself some call it, and they’re probably right. Not the hot iron type of branding, mind you, the type that will leave a raised mark forever on one’s skin reminding them what a drunken idiot they were one night. No, this is the branding of one’s name so that people recognize you out of all the other writers out there. Sort of like how Levi’s stands out in the world of jeans. Or, at least, that’s what I assume it means. It sounds good and so I’m going to stick with it. Of course, we didn’t want to make spinning this plate easy, so we added three pen names as well as an entire brand in Feel-Good Reads. Good thing I’m a Gemini and split personality comes easy to me.
Watching me spin my plates may not be as entertaining as watching the circus performer do it, and it might even scare you sometimes as some of my plates teeter on the verge of crashing to the floor, but so far, I’ve got a handle on this. And I’m enjoying it, which, to me, is the most important thing. It’s the adrenaline rush that comes with it and then the excitement as I see another book published or another coffee mug sold or a subscriber get more involved with the writing. It’s an art form you won’t see on television, but we all do it. Hopefully, you never hear one of my plates shatter.
Until next time, happy reading!
Robbie & the FGR Team