Lisa A. Kramer

Author, Speaker, Theater Artist, Creativity Facilitator

Building Community vs. Finding Leads

The book is published. The year has changed. Taxes are submitted (not really, but just go with it). Now what?

This is the question that starts my days a lot lately. Somehow the fantasy of publishing, for me and many others, includes a suddent radical change. A book publishes, people become interested, you get invited on talk shows, people ask you for your autograph, someone wants to take you to lunch, money roles in.

It's all fantasy, really. I learned that when publishing The excitement,pride, and energy of seeing my first novel in print, and actually on bookstore shelves, led to a feeling of deflation and emptiness and "now what"? 

Actually, I get this feeling after any stage production as well. It's not a feeling of defeat or frustration, it's more like the energy of a slowly deflating balloon. You've poured your energy into this thing, this product, this creation out of your imagination or (in the case of Re-Creating the World) out of years of exploration, practice, and experience.  And then, it launches, leaving a melancholy sense of accomplishment and emptiness.  

A large open book over an (AI generated) imaginative background, with a yellow balloon deflating over it.

I'm not complaining. This is just the reality of what it means to create pretty much anything in the world today. If you define success in terms of numbers--money, readers, followers, engagements, etc.--then it can only be sustained by the next big thing you do. And the next . . . and the next . . . and the next. 

Even if you have gone through traditional publishing--unless you are a well-known voice or have an immediate best seller--it's not all champagne, book signings, and instance success. You don't get an instant, muli-city tour along with a with a bestselling author whose popularity will help ricochet you into success, like in the Hallmark movie Winter Love Story.  Hallmark's creative storytelling allows for a fantasy view of  the world of publishing that has little resemblence to reality, as much as we might wish things worked that way.

I am not complaining.. Because the truth is this "now what" stage of being, for me, is fallow time. It is the time to be open to possibilities and ideas, to explore new things, to celebrate what you have accomplished, and to define what that means for yourself. It's the coziness of a deep winter snow, which allows the seeds buried deep below, to burst forth in colorful blooms. 

Seedling in dir underneath a blanket of snow on a snowy day. A curling arrow shooting up to a swirl of new ideas including new books.

For me Now What means:
  • Talking to people who have suddenly found interest in me, and often want to sell me something  (like lead building) or "collaborate" and redefining my own goals.
  • Recognizing that I am less interested in "gaining leads" and more interested in "building communities." While I do want (and need) to make a living, success for me looks more like taking on creative, collaborative projects that help others achieve positive goals to help society. This may be the slower route, but to move faster requires more money (which I don't have) and a focus on selling rather than connecting. I may be naive, but growing organically feels more comfortable for me.
  • Celebrating my wins, including that I should be getting a royalty payment soon, and might even be getting one from my other books as well.
  • Challenging myself to explore new ways of creating and collaborating. These include:
    •  YouTube channel called Creative Approaches with Dr. Lisa K. I plan to start a Podcast there (both audio and visual).
    • A Substack called Creative Reflections  where I write more social commentary type posts, and advocate for a creative economy.
    • I will be posting here more often, with reflective discussions about the creative process and interesting collaborations.
  • Being Open to whatever comes next. Things I would love to get on my calender:
    • bea guest  on people's podcasts
    • offer more Gateless writing salons, both virtually and in person
    • provide developmental editing to aspiring authors of all types
    • collaborate with community builders who want to find creative approaches to specific problems.
    • work with more universities to introduce improvisational techniques into their programs
  • ​​​​​​​Write more: I am working on a Paranormal Women's Fiction novel. I want to edit and publish a novel that has been gathering dust for a while called Stories from a Living Cafe which is kind of magical, kind of realistic, and kind of a reflection on society. And, of course, I'm still developing the anthology Reclaiming the Goddess (working title, learn more here)
​​​​​​​Basically, for me, Now What means that I keep dreaming, and see what happens. It's not easy. Sometimes it is frustrating. But every day I try something new, or take another step, gets me one step closer to whatever comes next.

I hope you join me on the journey. 

Image of Lisa in a heart with a colorful background. Creatively yours, Lisa