I attended a Buddhist meeting last month and was asked to give an experience about having my book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within, published. I have practiced Buddhism for 22 years and I’ve experienced a lot of benefits and personal growth, but the one area where I seemed to be falling short was in my lifelong dream to be a great writer.
I’m not a total slouch. I’ve won some awards, had articles published and even made a living in the writing world through my public relations firm, Marks Public Relations, but I have yet to sell a screenplay (although there are two movies out right now that bear remarkable similarities to two of my scripts) and I haven’t had a book on the best seller list.
However, I’m a stubborn and persistent woman. Every time I received a rejection I sent out three more queries in retaliation. When I ran out of publishing companies and agents, I contacted a few again with a slightly different letter. However, even the optimistic and perseverant have to change the game plan when it’s not working.
I decided to self publish and market the book myself.
If I must say so myself, I’m a darn good publicist. I write convincing copy with creative hooks, I have a plethora of media contacts and I never burn a bridge. I also have a passion for the message I’m trying to convey. Still, things were not happening for me. I expected a gusher, and all I was getting were little drips of publicity.
Then I studied to take a study exam based on the principles of my Buddhist practice. I’m pretty sure I passed, but I still think I missed a couple questions. So I decided to review it. One part stood out.
“A passage in the Six Paramitas Sutra says to become the master of your mind rather than let your mind master you.”
In the study guide it said: “Becoming the master of one’s mind ultimately means basing oneself on the unwavering foundation of the law.”
Bottom line, for SGI Buddhist practitioners, that means “basing ourselves on the Gohonzon and Nichiren’s writings.” Hmmm. I was basing my life’s work on the writing and law of journalism and publicity, not Nichiren Daishonin.
It was time to change course. I didn’t ignore my journalism training. Instead I put my Buddhist training first by chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo to elevate my life condition. My goal was to produce a result that would encourage others (and myself.)
At first, things went slowly. I called businesses to see if they would carry my book. One decided to carry it on consignment. Not the result I was hoping for. I had already sent out press releases and dropped my book off at the Phoenix TV stations. One, then two rejections came. In the meantime I wrote a story about feeling grumpy and stressed and how to overcome it. This was a bit ironic as I was feeling a bit grumpy and stressed myself, but I kept plugging away. And with my new determination to put my spiritual principles first and my secular training second, there was a big shift in the universe.
I submitted my feeling grumpy and stressed article to Diva Toolbox. Within hours the story was picked up by More Magazine’s online magazine. It was my first national exposure! Woohoo! A few minutes later I got an email from ABC’s Sonoran Living on channel 15 in Arizona asking me to be on their morning show on Nov. 10 to talk about erasing negativity and my book. A few minutes after that I received an email from an Arizona Republic reporter. She said the newspaper didn’t do book reviews, but if I could do an event, like a talk or a book signing, and as long as it was in Scottsdale, Paradise Valley or the Northeast Valley, they would do a story.
I emailed the one bookstore in Scottsdale, Mystic Moon Bookstore, that is carrying my book and asked if I could give a talk. She had just had a cancellation and I had my pick of two dates – Nov. 10 or Nov. 17. We decided to go with Nov. 17 and I’m going to talk about “How to Deal with Negative Relatives During the Holidays” and sell and sign copies of my book. I was ecstatic!
Finally, with all this potential publicity coming, I contacted one of my clients and told them I would be on the news and would they carry my book. They have 4 schools in Arizona and 17 in other states. My little drips of success were turning into a gusher.
I’ve practiced Buddhism for 22 years, so it’s not that I don’t know I should chant first, then take action. But I’m human. I know it’s better to be a master of your mind than vice versa. But sometimes we need to be reminded.
Believe it or not, sometimes I reread my own book to remind me to maintain an optimistic outlook by erasing the negativity that wants to sneak in when I’m not looking.
Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within is not a best seller yet, but I know it’s on its way. And those of you who know me, or read this blog, can help me. Please spread the word about the book.
And no matter what you do in life, pursue your passion and never, ever, ever give up. Once you do, there will be no chance of success. But as long as you plug away, you are one step closer to turning your little drips of success into a full blown gusher. Remember this great saying and apply it to your life like I do for mine: “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.”