The Tipping Point is defined as the moment of critical mass, the threshold, and the boiling point. It is the point when everyday things reach epidemic proportions...the fact that little causes can have big effects, and that change happens not gradually but at one dramatic moment.
- from The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
When I woke up yesterday, a lovely little email from Camille Gooderham Campbell was waiting for me. My story, "The Sub-Basement" was the most read piece for April 2009 at Every Day Fiction, earning yours-truly an interview.
(after a moment)
Me again: But that story was published in January...
It seems "The Sub-Basement" somehow managed to garner around 4,000 hits during April despite being published three months ago. One of the questions in the interview dealt with self-promotion of my writing (i.e., what did I do to promote the story?).
Wait...I do blog. I mentioned "The Sub-Basement" when it was published back in January. The story has a link on the right side of this page. Other than that...is it luck? Maybe an invisible "tipping point"?
Self-promotion is a necessary evil. The new mantra in publishing is "develop a following" and that is before your book is even picked up by an agent. I'm not sure I know how to develop a following. The right kind of self-promotion is part science and part art. It baffles me. Too much "me-me-me-it's all about me" and say bye-bye to any loyal readers jaded by egregious self-pimping.
I do know how to grow potatoes (I have twenty lovely plants in the garden right now). You have to shove the cut seed potatoes in the ground, wait...wait...wait. I dig deep, plant the seeds low, and then fill the holes in with dirt as the plant grows, providing more room for the plant to sprout baby taters as it reaches for the sun. It's a slow process. Then the plants die, and the miracle happens.
Wait two weeks or so, and you find full-sized potatoes hidden under the dirt.
I think the same is true with writing/publishing. I have a long way to go yet, but I'm filling in my holes, bit by bit. Write a new story...rejection. Revise the story...publication. Someone reads the story, checks out the blog. He/she is offended by my use of an Emily Dickinson quote in the title and never comes back. Start the cycle over again, hopefully landing a reader that might just come back.
It takes time, I guess. Is it luck? Yes...but I think luck is a matter of being in the right place for a long time. Sooner or later, something positive is going to happen. I hope.
Little tipping points are everywhere. I have to believe they are.