The woman who wants to fail: me


Image from Life in Ancient Athens 1907

You know how you muse on a mishmash of thoughts when you go walking? And how sometimes all becomes clear?

On Friday morning, on a short walk from Mt Vic to Mt Cook, I caught my own mind in the act. Its hidden motive for self-sabotage was no sooner revealed than accepted, no sooner accepted than acted on. Or in this case, not acted on.

You see, I’d just released my second Udemy course after weeks of dithering and delay:
Write Haiku Love Poems and Thrill Someone you Love. It’s a quaint little course, in fact I love it, but I published it reluctantly.  Why? Because I was dreading the next stage, which involves managing a vast array of mechanisms from mailing lists to YouTube, from coupons to blogging to webcasts and, oh all that fuss. You see, if you create an online course you have to market it.

Or do you?

(By the way this is exactly the same quandary every book author confronts.)

The epiphany: this time around, it would be fun to fail


Yes, my new business strategy is shocking, but is it tragic? Image from Life in Ancient Athens, 1907

Rachel said unto me: Listen to yourself!  You love making these courses — it’s a buzz. You deliberately choose crazy obscure topics because you hope nobody will ever do them. You actually said that, out loud, several times; I have witnesses.

Then I said unto her-me: But I am counting on the income. I left my business last year as you well know.

Rachel: What income? Your two courses have so far earned the princely sum of $8.00 but look at you — hello, not starving! This imaginary income stream is never going to happen.

Me: OK, fair enough, you’re right, dammit. I will start making a really sensible course on how to edit a novel.

Rachel: No, darling. You are missing the point. Create another unique ridiculous course that nobody will want to do… say, A Boot Camp For The Bonus Years. And don’t publicise that one either.

Me: Eureka! That’s integrity. I’ll be the best non-self-publicist on Udemy.

Rachel: Never mind that. You’re seventy-seven: stick to the fun stuff.

13 thoughts on “The woman who wants to fail: me

  1. lifecameos says:

    Good luck !

    1. I think I can do this!

  2. roshendalal says:

    write a book on how to create a udemy course–maybe it will sell itself, without you doing anything.

    1. I want the opposite of this.

    2. I see — Did you think I was being ironic? No, I am joyfully sincere!!

      1. On the other hand you are halfway there. Now a fun book that sells itself–?

  3. Dan Antion says:

    I hope you get the better of you. Sometimes we are our biggest challenge.

    1. If I died tomorrow I would not regret a failure to market, however. Fun comes first now. But

  4. Aunt Beulah says:

    When I published my book, I decided, after many conversations with myself similar to yours, that I would market it locally to the people who follow my newspaper columns with a series of readings at various locales and do nothing else. I enjoyed the readings, did nothing else, and the book paid for itself and even yielded a modest profit. We are at the age where fun matters. Speaking of fun, I had a great time reading Mrs. Philpott. She was a likable character, the other characters were equally interesting, the earthquake-devastated setting was compelling, and your voice was consistent and engaging. I enjoyed the humor that ran throughout, he kind spirit of the erotica and was totally impressed with the structure you used, giving us the titles of the stories only at first, then using the stories along with the stories of Mr. and Mrs. to complete the tale. Such fun, Rachel.

  5. That sounds like a good decision, for marketing your book, especially as your local audience would be the dominant one. For books, I love doing readings and workshops, and they have the biggest impact on sales. As for Mrs Philpott, the most effective (and fun) marketing would be to perform it as a scrunched-up one-woman comedy piece… last night I found the right performer but she is utterly unavailable, of course.

    Thank you for your super review of Fixing Mrs Philpott! I so appreciate every word of what you wrote.

    I’ve just written some of my thoughts in an Amazon review of A Seasoned Life. It’s a very special book, and highly relevant to the next (crazy, unwanted) course that I intend to make. I live in hope that one day, one of my readers with review Mrs P. for Amazon. Until then, she barely exists. But I am serenely zen about that.

    1. Aunt Beulah says:

      Of course, what was I thinking? I should have done that for Mrs. Philpott and will do so today, or as soon as I hear back from you because I’m thinking I’ll write something similar to what I wrote to you, but would like to know if I should weak it or if there is something you’d like me to emphasize.

      1. Oh how wonderful! A thousand thanks. I wouldn’t dream of telling you what to write. I am touched.

  6. Val says:

    Oh Rachel, I know this inner dialogue completely! And in fact have been going through similar myself just recently as I’m trying to set up a website and blog for my photocolouring and restoration work (will talk about that more sometime in my own blog, not in yours!) The bit of me who wants to have fun, relax, take it easy, enjoy nature, beauty and all that, says I must buckle down and the other part says – hey, old hippie, chill out, take it easy, have fun! So… I’m going to try to do both, if I can. I have to make some money as am getting very very little in (state pension,mostly) but am bloody well going to enjoy myself in the process!

    I must read one of your books one of these days. When I can – won’t be straight away, I’m afraid – will buy one. x

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