An Attitude of Gratitude: More than Just Saying Thank You

Yesterday was the first of three southern California author events and book signings featuring yours truly, Author Claire Gager. While many authors would agree that marketing and promoting your own work can be tedious, anxiety inducing, and just plain hard work, it is a necessity in today’s market. We don’t all become the next Terry Brooks, James Patterson, Nora Roberts, or Nicholas Sparks overnight, and we certainly can’t expect readers to find us if we don’t do the leg work in promoting our work, no matter how good a PA or publisher we may have. I’d done all the work and put myself out there to promote and market my events and my books, something I as an introvert have never dreamed of doing in the past. I have a good following on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, and Goodreads, and promoted my work through social media, but also went the extra mile and had my events posted in local newspapers, advertised in the city newsletter, and even placed promo items on cars in the parking lot of Barnes & Noble and a few Starbucks locations conveniently located near the various events. I got RSVP’s from friends, family, readers in the local area, and all things considered I believed I would have a packed house. Last night, however, showed me the value of being grateful for friendships, new and old, and being a well-spoken woman. Last night’s book signing was a packed house, but not from those who said they would attend. The Magic Door Bookstore is located in historic downtown Pomona, California, an area that hosts a monthly Art Walk every second Saturday of the month from 3:00 PM to 9:00 PM. I chose the date and time intentionally on the recommendation of the store owners, and I was glad I did. The store was standing room only because of all the foot traffic they got from the monthly event. I talked up The Last Prophet book series to almost every customer that came into the store. Some even sat nearby and read a few chapters of one of the books. I made three new friends that night who signed up for the author updates and Facebook page. What was most touching to me, however, were three very dear friends from my former church ministry of Los Angeles/San Gabriel Valley Search for Christian Maturity (LA/SGV SEARCH) who attended the event, talked to other customers and the store owners, and enjoyed some night-time entertainment and the atmosphere of the Art Walk. These long time friends showed me the value of friendship and showed up just in time to ease my anxiety. They not only showed up, but they helped me break down my set-up, and haul my left over items back to the car. They bought sets of books since they missed me the last time I was selling books at a local fundraiser, and they stayed with me throughout the book signing to chit-chat about books they’ve read and were reading, authors they like, and reminiscing over old times.

Why do I bring up last night’s events in endless rambling and bother mentioning gratitude in any of it? It is this gratitude that is keeping the smile on my face today and will stay with me for days to come. Book sales were not abundant, but I was and still am grateful for those I was able to talk to about the book and the subject matter in the book itself, and the few new friends I made, as well as reconnecting with old friends. I am grateful for the new friends I have in the store owners whom I plan to visit at next month’s Art Walk to see how they are getting along with their little bookstore and if they finished the third book (they finished the first two by the time I was there last night and liked it). Studies have shown that gratitude can improve your attitude AND your health, and there are various ways in achieving this (see for some tips on how to start improving). Among my favorites were tip #4 (practice meditation or prayer), and #5 (start a gratitude jar to pay it forward – something I want to teach my sons to do). These are ways to show and reflect on the things we are grateful for, and especially changing our attitude. In The Last Prophet, Uriel’s Light (Book Four – in progress), the main character discovers that even with her world crumbling all around her, being grateful for the trials and the lessons she learns from struggle lightens her spirits and eases the suffering in her broken heart. To an outsider, telling someone to have an attitude of gratitude may seem to the individual who is struggling as something “easier said than done,” and I am no stranger to that. Experience has taught me that dwelling on the negative only drives us into a downward spiral. Focusing on solutions, and being grateful for what IS going well or positively, however, has been very therapeutic and uplifting, encouraging and hopeful. I am grateful for friends who support me in pursuing my dreams and who demonstrate so much pride in what I have accomplished in such a short time. After last night’s event, I received text messages, Facebook comments, and “likes,” from new and old friends. I am humbled and – yes, I’ll say it again – grateful for the outpouring of love. What should have given me a migraine or stomach ache turned into heartfelt thanks because of friendship and an attitude of gratitude.

Have you experienced something which you are truly grateful for? How do you demonstrate your “gratitude attitude” each day? Please comment in the space provided.

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