In life, I like to keep my expectations low.
It may sound negative, but I learned a long time ago that if did, I would rarely be disappointed. Instead, I’m often happily surprised when things turn out better than I could have expected.
I didn’t know what to expect when I published my memoir. Picking apart memoirs seems to have become a national pastime over the last decade, and I braced myself for a challenging launch and turbulent landing afterward. I decided early on that I wouldn’t whine when people gave me negative reviews, and I wouldn’t check my Amazon ranking often enough to make myself nuts. Above all else, it wasn’t wise to assume that simply because I spent two decades writing a book, the world would pay it any mind.
I’d carefully identified my target audience. If I was lucky, women readers from ages 35-75 would be interested (and maybe a brother or two of mine).
I’d carefully planned the release date to be timed close to Domestic Violence Awareness Month since it’s a theme in my book.
And I decided to be intentionally open to new experiences, not simply including local agencies in my launch, but welcoming their invitations when they included me in their fundraising or awareness-increasing efforts.
So how did my expectations measure up to reality?
First came the heartfelt messages from family and friends, in Alaska, then in Kentucky, followed by other states,and finally in Australia and the UK.
“As you probably already know, dad bought 7 of your books to give all of his kids and grandkids. I got mine Sunday night and could hardly put it down.”
“We’re at the cabin. Dave was up early. I found him downstairs, riveted, by the time I needed coffee. He is engrossed! Liz — it’s really, really good. No surprise, but still needs to be said.”
“I’m so impressed, and I just can’t say how proud I am! I hope you feel that way too and are walking two feet taller!!!”
That’s just a few. Meanwhile, my amazing public relations team at SparkPoint Studio made sure that Pieces of Me met the rest of the world.
“A stunning, adrenaline-inducing memoir that could double as a thriller, Pieces of Me is the story of one mother’s spiritual fortitude and the limitless measures she takes to protect her children.” — She Knows
10 MEMOIRS FOR FALL BY TRAILBLAZING WOMEN – The Spark
5 Memoirs That Remind Us Of The Meaning Of Family- Buzzfeed
THE TOP 10 inspirational books to take on your next journey – The Culturalist
I’ve been so grateful for the reviews on Amazon and on Goodreads also, and from them learned that my readers are from men and women alike. And within a month of its official release, a local high school student made international parental child abduction her topic to report on at school after she read Pieces of Me: Rescuing My Kidnapped Daughters and interviewed my youngest daughter about her experiences.
In all, I participated in 14 events related to Domestic Violence Awareness Month, reconnected with old friends and family, and was even joined by my daughters for some of the events.
Thank you for every bit of it. Thank you for being with me and cheering for me and for advocating that others read my book. Thank you for the reviews. I am truly surprised and honored.
But if you’re wondering if I might change my approach to expectations, the answer is a resounding No.
I went to treat myself to a hair color and style at an Anchorage beauty school as a reward to myself for making it through the hardest parts of publishing my memoir.
I think you’ll agree that the results below validate how I manage expectations.
See you soon.