As part of my year of trying different things and basically doing the opposite of what I've done in the past (in terms of marketing, though this has already spilled onto other avenues of my life), I decided that I would hand deliver deluxe launch party invitations to the media around Los Angeles. This is so far outside of my comfort zone that it might as well be Mars.
My comfort zone is right here in this chair. There are entire days when I don't leave my apartment and that's just fine. Between email, Facebook, writing, cleaning, sleeping, laundry, miscellaneous projects like organizing the Post-it notes or sewing a new garment, I can keep myself occupied. I'm no hermit, but there is a certain anonymity that goes with working from home. Yes, I'm up and showered and made up and dressed every day, but no, I don't bother with shoes or jewelry. But even though I've spent time emailing out media invites in the past, I haven't ever gotten the response that I want, and you know what they say: if you want a different response than the one you're getting, you can't keep using the same approach. (serious paraphrasing there, but since I credited the concept to "they" I figure I'm fine.)
My new book, A DISGUISE TO DIE FOR, comes out Feb 2, and my launch party is Feb 3. The book was inspired by a conversation about a costume for my teddy bear, so I ordered twenty-four small bears wearing T-shirts with the book cover on them, packed them with a press release, a bookmark, and a formal invitation with launch party details. I Mapquested a route that spanned from Burbank to the west side, dressed in a favorite Pucci dress, packed up the bears, and headed out. I'd intended to be on my way by ten; in reality I got started slightly before noon. (I may have created small, procrastinating projects like restyling my hair and changing lipstick colors before admitting to myself that I was putting off the inevitable outside-my-comfort-zone task.)
I dropped off eleven invites. And here's the thing: this was one of the most fun things I've done in a long time. I felt like Elle Woods, armed with my enthusiasm and winning smile, marching into various buildings. I met editors and receptionists and security and assistants. People smiled when they saw the bears. Strangers on the street complimented my outfit.
Even thought the process involved battling Los Angeles traffic, it was a good day.
At one point I thought, what is the worst that can happen? This either works or it doesn't. But this way, I'm engaged in the process. I'm experiencing it first-hand. There's a power in that, and regardless of the outcome, I walked away charged up. Blisters on my feet, but still.