And the next steps are...

For the weeks and days prior to publishing, my mood was generally that of anxiety. It felt a lot like a political campaign — getting my book published was the last thing I thought about while lying in bed trying to get to sleep — and it was the first thing I thought about when I woke up in the morning. Finally published, it took a few but not too many days to switch to a reasonable sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. That was quickly replaced by: OK, what do I do next?

For a self-published author, the steps seem straight-forward: Start small and local, and take additional steps as I am able. I was pleased as punch when Gerry and Clyde Hicks at The Trail House in downtown Frederick agreed to have their business sponsor my first author presentation. I was equally pleased, when later that day, Marlene England at The Curious Iguana, Frederick's independent bookstore, also agreed to sponsor the event and make the connections with C. Burr Artz Library. Come 3 PM on Sunday, September 11, I'll be telling hitchhiking stories and fielding questions and hopefully entertaining a crowd in more ways than one. I was also pleased when both a men's group and a reading club asked me to come make fall presentations.

Of course, any self-published author wants to test the waters and see if there is some prospect that their work of love may have some broader appeal and bigger paying audience. How do I put my book in the proper hands to find that out? Are there connections or relationships I can take advantage of to boost the book's readership and circulation? Such challenges will consume my time in the weeks ahead.