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Book Review: Firefly Magic by Lauren Sapala

Are you worried that if you really immerse yourself in marketing and selling your work, that you’ll lose touch with the deeper reasons behind your writing?

-Lauren Sapala, Firefly Magic: Heart-Powered Marketing For Highly Sensitive Writers

Firefly Magic: Heart-Powered Marketing For Highly Sensitive Writers is May's book of the month. It's a nonfiction book published in 2018 by Lauren Sapala. Sapala is a nonfiction and transgressive fiction author and writing coach who specializes in coaching introverted, intuitive writers. She wrote about her struggles with addiction in her autobiographical fiction series, the West Coast Trilogy. She was kind enough to send me a free copy of the second installment in the series for a Q&A, which you can read here!

Firefly Magic: Heart-Powered Marketing For Highly Sensitive Writers Book Review
5 out of 5 stars 
May 2019 Writers With Mental Illness Book of the Month

Firefly Magic Summary
A Different Kind Of Marketing Book
Down-To-Earth And Eye-Opening

I discovered Lauren Sapala's book last summer when she had a 99 cent sale on her books. I can't remember which of her books I read first, but once I read one, I fell in love and quickly bought all of them. Sapala has four books out, and each one offers the reader something different. Her writing is down-to-earth, and her nonfiction books are genuinely helpful. There's no fluff, only deep emotional work. What I like the most about Firefly Magic is that it's not just a book about marketing. At the end of every chapter are a few exercises to nudge us along on our journey in undoing incorrect beliefs about marketing and success. The exercises helped me do a lot of inner work that I knew needed to be done but had no idea how to begin. They're also perfect to revisit.

Sapala starts out the book by addressing the root of the problem for most highly sensitive writers. We tend to think that marketing is a slimy endeavor. Images of a sleazy salesman may come to mind, but she implores us to rethink how we view ambition and integrity. Because highly-sensitive writers are "emotionally-centered, empathic, intuitive, and deeply connected to the earth and our own hearts," we tend to think that marketing goes against our integrity. However, Sapala is here to show us it doesn't have to.

She helped me reframe how I view marketing in my mind. It doesn't have to be a fancy ad campaign. I don't need to obsess about the color scheme of my website or the font on my social media photos... which I do... to the point where I feel paralyzed with fear and do nothing at all. Sapala says,

You don't have to know everything before you start. You don't have to spend money you don't have. You don't have to have an aggressive ad campaign or social media strategy that aims to reach a million people. Instead, you can play around with pumpkins and purple lights. You can take a few fun pictures of your book and post them on your Facebook page. There. You just did it. You just marketed your book.
"All of us have baggage. It’s unavoidable. But the process of empowerment starts happening when we look at that baggage and become conscious of it."

I enjoyed Sapala's honesty about her writing process and the overwhelming feelings she felt when trying to market her novel Between The Shadow and Lo. It gave me a boost of confidence to know that successful writers have also felt overwhelmed by marketing and were able to overcome it. I loved when Sapala talked about her messy rough drafts because it gave me a little glimmer of hope to know that one day I can finish the hopeless pile of papers that I'm calling my novel. I thought,

She was right here... where I am... feeling how I do now... and she succeeded. I can, too.

One thing that surprised me was discovering my unhealthy attitude toward money. Chapter 5, "How You Feel About Money = How You Feel About Marketing," really blew me away. Sapala helped me uncover that my parents' attitudes toward money were imprinted on me and that was affecting me to this day. The truth is that I don't think I deserve money. It makes me cringe. It feels wrong to have extra money, which is why I usually spend most of it and then have a small amount left for basic necessities until I get my next paycheck. My attitude toward money affects the way I market my book. Do I feel like I deserve to be successful? Truly? No, I don't. And whenever I have thoughts about publishing my book and making sales, I feel guilty. Is it wrong to want success? Is it wrong to want to make a profit, however small, off my writing? No and no. I'm still unlearning some unhealthy beliefs about money and success, but I wouldn't even know those unhealthy beliefs were there if it wasn't for Firefly Magic.

Firefly Magic is full of insight and practical advice. What I've touched on is only the tip of the iceberg. Discussion questions have been posted on Goodreads and Facebook if you want to try your hand at them! Have you read Firefly Magic? What did you think?


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