Sunday, September 30, 2018

Reviewing Six Months of Book Marketing

The past six months have been nothing but a lot of hard work and effort. I am not complaining because I wouldn't have done it any other way. But, I managed to somehow accomplish the work of several people by taking on promoting my new novel, The Accidental Yogini, in addition to running my full-time business. As I look back on the past six months, I am proud of what I have accomplished and so grateful for the tireless support of my friends, family and students. Let me tell you more about it...

My marketing plan began with promoting to the people I know in March. By April I had applied to several writing competitions and booked tons of  promotional events. May through September I put myself everyone - yoga studios, festivals and other book singing events - all in an effort to get myself out as a professional writer. The culmination of all of this hard work would be two major festival: Lovelight Yoga & Arts in Maryland and the Autumn Goddess Festival in Valley Forge. I remember thinking that September was going to be a very big month for me. I just knew it - that my book was going to get out there to hundreds of people and that it would be a big success.

Well, the huge event, Lovelight Festival in Maryland, was a ton of work and quite a bit of money and resources for me to spend. The event was okay. I met some fantastic people, but the weekend was wrought with some challenges - namely that headliner Krisha Das had come down with strep throat and would not be there the main evening, and then the cold and the rain moved in. Tons of people left early and the venue did not provide what it had anticipated. At the end of the weekend my back was shot from standing all weekend on my feet trying to sell my books - I sold two in three days...and a couple of T-Shirts.

I drove home from Maryland feeling a little defeated. I had poured so much of myself into that event to come out feeling crappy both physically and mentally. I had focused so much on selling my 50 books that they told me to bring, I kind of missed some of the great things that happened. Well, I didn't miss them, but I certainly was not focusing on them.

Some time mid-week I realized that I needed to shift my focus to what had gone well and what had been good at Lovelight. Two of my best friends had drove all the way down to come to my class and support me and hang out. Lots of people stopped to congratulate me on the book - several who said they had even heard of it but didn't know from where. The community marketplace tent that I was put in randomly was outfitted by several other folks from New Jersey and we had a blast ringing the imaginary bell every time someone else said they were form the home state. We definitely bonded and had many laughs. I learned a lot about festivals, what people are looking for in their classes, and what to expect. I gained insight and wisdom and a whole lot of people saw my book - even if they didn't purchase it. Exposure is good. So, it was a good weekend.

This past Saturday I was to be at another festival in Valley Forge called the Autumn Goddess Festival. I knew that I couldn't go into it the same way that I had Lovelight. I decided to change my perspective to go with the flow. I dressed down in comfy jeans and my Dr. Martin's and didn't even prepare or review my class. I also had two students of mine who I'd become good friends with, help and support me. So I would also not be alone. I decided to go with less expectations and just enjoy the day...and I did.

The event was lovely. There were not as many people there as at Lovelight. But I got to talk to so many amazing people. Every single person was happy and nice. I greeted everyone with a smile and light-hearted banter, without often bringing up my book. It was sitting in front of me anyway, so if the conversation led to that, great. If not, I just said, "enjoy the rest of your day!" People went crazy about the T-shirts for the book. I sold more of them than books, but I also sold more books than at Lovelight...not a lot more, but more.

My class also felt effortless. I hadn't really planned. When I taught at Lovelight it was difficult. It felt forced and I felt the disconnect with the students. But at the Goddess Festival I felt like we were grooving all together and enjoying each moment.

In all, the three festivals that I spent time and effort doing this year to promote my book did not really sell that many copies. But, I got it out there. I got myself as an author out there. I talked to so many people and so many more at least saw me and the book. And I feel good about that.

Now, as the festivals end and I get ready to head back to my studio and normal schedule, I realize that   when I was forcing things and holding on so tightly to outcomes, that things just didn't gel as well. And when I loosened up and went with the flow and just enjoyed myself - it felt much better. Normally I live organically in a flow, but promoting myself as an author was so outside of my comfort zone that I kind of got lost and away from that part of myself.

The book came out March 1st. Tomorrow is October 1st. That is a full six months of hard-core book promoting. Most of the events at other yoga studios were canceled or little attended. The festivals didn't reap what I initially expected. And now I am done with all of the marketing that I planned at other locations. I'm exhausted, and I still have a ton of books to sell. But I sure did learn a lot!

I remember a mug I saw a long time ago that said, "Sometimes right back where you started from is exactly where you need to be."

I am no sure where all the promotions and hard work will take me. But tomorrow I go back to my studio and to my students and teach like I always have. Well, maybe not like I always have. Maybe more relaxed and, dare I say, "present" again! I'm sure that everyone will appreciate that. But I want to say that I am so grateful for everyone in my life that has supported this effort and me. I really know some amazing people in both my personal life and my professional world. My students are so amazing. I am not just saying that, either. I look forward to spending some time with them and at my studio in October, sharing yoga, healing and other mystical things.

And, as for the book, well, if anyone knows Oprah or Ellen or anyone in television, publishing or movies, please tell them about it! And if you have any ideas, I am all ears! I still have hope, but I am surrendering to the divine flow of the universal pulse of energy and riding that wave with trust.

Peace, love and light...

TOTALS:
# of books sold on Amazon to date: 102
# of books sold personally (approximate): 40

Saturday, September 1, 2018

September 2018 Theme; Blessings!

September 2018's Theme: BLESSINGS!

"Count your blessings," "God bless you," "Bless your heart." There are many blessing phrases that we have heard our entire lives. We wondered how many take the time to consider what their blessings actually are...

According to the trusty old dictionary, the noun form of the word blessing means God's favor and protection. But what does it mean to you to be blessed? Have you thought about that in some time? And if you have, how have you expressed that feeling? And how does being blessed feel in your body?

Humans have a tendency to complain more than express appreciation. We tend to worry instead of trust that the Divine is, in fact, looking out for us. Most people feel that miracles are something that rarely happen instead of known that they are normal and fundamental daily occurrences. 

Even though things may go wrong, we can choose to look at the situation as a lesson. Learn what we need to, let go of pain and anger, and choose to view it as a blessing (we like to refer to them as "blessings in disguise" don't we?). 

Start your day with a blessing journal or jar and express what you are feeling grateful for and blessed for every day and make it your new habit! 

This month, we invite you to incorporate these methods into your life:
 
ChantOM AY HUM - Buddhist Mantra of Blessing

Postures: True some Warrior variations such as "Humbled Warrior," which you take from Warrior I or II, bring your hands around the back, and lower your head to the floor at the instep of your foot, then closing your eyes. Or, "Exalted Warrior," coming from Warrior II, bringing the back arm down to the thigh and front arm up above the head, gazing skyward.

Meditation/Breathing: Give the Breath of Joy a try. Tracey's Breath of Joy!

Alter: Find a gold cloth for your alter and place in the center a white candle and just behind that a statue or picture of Jesus Christ. Add any other items that represent some of the people, places or things that you feel blessed to have or have had in your life. Chant your mantra using mala beads to count the blessings in your life. 

In Love & Light, Tracey and the One Yoga Center Teachers.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Special Message from Tracey for September

Earlier this year I started a gratitude journal. Every morning I would sit down with my hot tea and write what I was grateful for. I enjoyed the process and it really got my energy channeling in a positive direction right at the beginning of the day. Then I got "busy" and put my journal in my office and off the kitchen counter and kind of forgot it. I'm embarrassed to share this because I truly feel that every day is a gift and a blessing. I'm now making a more concerted effort to bring my daily journaling back. 

That's the thing with blessings - when everything is going good we kind of forget to count them sometimes. A true spiritual practice is one that reflects this energy all the time. We can't just ask God for help when we need it. We have to put effort into expressing the gratitude too and recognizing how blessed we are - all the time. 

This got to me the other day after a fundraising dinner that I host at my house every August for a charity that is dear to my heart: Stu and the Kids. My friend, Stu, is a chef who left his pretty cushy job in Hollywood behind and moved to Thailand to not get paid to teach English to a wat (temple) that houses 650 orphaned and hill-tribe children. I have been to the wat a couple of times and it is truly heartbreaking to see how these kids live. Mind you, they are happy because they have a roof over their head and rice in their bellies. But it is touching and you realize just how blessed you are to have the comforts that we take for granted back home. Stu's organization helps these kids go to secondary school so that they can learn a valuable trade - something not many Thai children are afforded in the north. This year we raised about $2000 for Stu and the Kids, which he said is probably a quarter of a tuition for a kid. When I take my retreat to Thailand in January we will visit the wat and bring the kids a special lunch. 

So what got me was, I began to think about my "kids" here at home - my Special Olympics athletes that I get to work with and teach yoga to twice a month. There I was cleaning up from the fundraising dinner and I began thinking of my SONJ peeps. What a true blessing I have been given to be able to help so many people. It hadn't hit me how lucky I am to be able to continue to do this work. And I need to thank all of you reading this, because if you are a student of mine at One Yoga, then you coming in and taking classes is what allows me the advantage to help others. You probably are aware that our studio is helping you, but I want you to understand how you just coming in helps me help even more people and just how freakin' blessed that makes me feel! I may not be expressing myself so clearly, because when you truly feel it in your heart, sometimes all you can do is put your hand on the heart-center and smile in appreciation...I hope you can visualize me doing just that.

To learn more about Stu and the Kids, check out their website, and please feel free to donate if you feel inspired to do so. Or, to really see what it's all about, join me in Thailand this January on our Living in Joy retreat. We will be visiting the wat and bringing the kids a very special lunch and learning about the organization right from Stu!
StuandtheKids Website (StuandtheKids.org in case the link doesn't work).

In Love & Light.

Tracey L. Ulshafer, Founder, One Yoga & Wellness Center LLC, Experienced-Registered Yoga Teacher 500 hours (E-RYT500), RYS, CMT, Energy Worker, 11:11 True One.

If you would like to meet for private yoga, spiritual counseling or mentoring, contact Tracey at (609) 918-0963 or Info@oneyogacenter.net