August is not a great time to ‘aggressively promote a brand’—to use one of the corny buzz phrases that parasites into the vulnerable mind of any go-getting freelancer. People are keener on taking vacations than having their novels cut up and surgically stitched back together for the prospective discerning, if brutal, attention of agents and publishers. Nonetheless, it is an undertaking (or, more loftily, vocation) to which I am currently committed.
As editing is an enjoyable creative pursuit that rewards me with inspiringly aspiring authors, cold calling (a category encompassing posting letters, sending emails as well as annoying people on the phone) is monotonous and a little debasing. I am becoming unsettlingly knowledgeable about website optimisation, the proliferation of excel workbooks of contact details and improving social media visibility.
Still, my search for the most august of August’s novels-in-progress has its highs. Promoting Rowan Tree Editing has made me think harder about the service I provide. For example, the need to build trust—exposing one’s creative work to anyone is terrifying. And I increasingly come to know that I am committed to this for more than just those admittedly necessary monetary rewards; I keep imagining the ways I will use excess gains to pursue and further build Rowan Tree Editing. It is an end-in-itself, to use philosophical jargon.
Then there is success. Acquiring a manuscript from a new client who has reached my website by a route (a roadway, rail track or ill-defined countryside footpath) I created. Whether they arrive with historical fiction, a memoir, sci-fi adventure or a coming-of-age tale, it is exciting to get clients from unexpected but hard won sources. The diversity of these sources expands the range of clients and therefore the variety of manuscripts I have the privilege to work on.
And all the while Rowan Tree Editing gets to grow through the summer.