Mother's Day: The Experiment
In traditional publishing, the book launch is an event that people react to—or not. Authors can (and should) build a marketing campaign to call people to the action of buying their book. The optimal reader journey is: a) get the book; b) read the book; c) leave a positive review; and d) anticipate the next book.
Over the past two years, I’ve put a lot of thought into how to improve the traditional ebook experience in terms of ownership and utility, but I’ve put less thought into improving the launch experience. That's because my personal bias is to focus more on the creative expression of words (i.e., the fun part of writing), and less focus on cutting through the social media noise long enough to put a little piece of my soul into the world to be judged and consumed (i.e., the terrifying part of writing).
A reader's journey is necessary, but what if that journey didn’t have to start with “get the book?” What if we could have some fun during the ramp-up stage before the release, or even during the writing process itself?
That’s where the Mother of Mother’s Day experiment begins.
The first step on your “Mother of Mother’s Day” journey was to collect the free “Mom is Love” poster on the Mirror or Cent platforms. As of this writing, the Mirror poster has been collected 6 times while the Cent poster has been collected 159 times.
This second step is the launch essay promised by the poster. It starts...now.
Mother's Day: The Holiday
This past year, the kids and I took my wife to Parker’s Maple Barn for Mother’s Day pancakes and their fresh maple syrup that turns everything it touches into edible gold. That’s been our tradition for a number of years, and having one tradition led our youngest to ask about the other traditions surrounding Mother’s Day.
So our latest tradition is, apparently, Wikipedia research.
As it turns out, Mother’s Day has a fascinating history. It’s been a Federal holiday in the United States since 1914, and in numerous individual states for years before that, with similar celebrations in mother-loving cultures being documented for thousands of years of recorded history. It seems that humans in all times and places are united in expressing love for their moms.
The modern Mother’s Day celebrated in the United States and dozens of other countries each May has two mommies: Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910) and Anna Jarvis (1864-1948).
Jarvis is credited with organizing the first Mother’s Day ceremony in 1908, in Grafton, West Virginia, on the anniversary of her mother’s passing. The celebration created a snowball effect of annual celebrations across the country, leading to President Woodrow Wilson’s signature on a 1914 congressional proclamation of a national Mother’s Day every year.
Jarvis later became disillusioned with how a day that was originally organized as a celebration of her own mother quickly devolved into what she saw as a commercial celebration of candy, flowers, and greeting cards. Jarvis advocated for handmade cards and gifts and spent the last years of her life petitioning to rescind the holiday entirely. When she finally broke down and was committed to a sanitarium, the ultimate indignity she suffered came when members of the floral and greeting card industry, flush with Mother’s Day profits, chipped in to pay her medical expenses.
In addition to her own mother, Jarvis also cited Julia Ward Howe as an inspiration, most especially Howe’s 1870 Mother’s Day Proclamation.
Howe was an author, poet, publisher, lyricist, abolitionist, women’s suffrage advocate, war protester, and mother of six. She is most famous for writing the lyrics to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” in 1861.
Howe’s eyes saw “the glory of the coming of the Lord trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored,” but also witnessed the horrors of the American Civil and Franco-Prussian Wars in America and Europe. In response, she advanced the idea of an International Congress of Mothers to empower women to pressure their husbands and sons into laying down their weapons for all time.
Which makes Howe’s Mother’s Day the most badass possible version, envisioned in the context of the women’s empowerment movement as a stepping-stone toward Ultimate World Peace.
Mother's Day: The Book
Howe didn’t inspire an end to war in our time (yet), but she did have a fascinating life of social advocacy and creative accomplishment, summed up in a riveting biography written by her three Pulitzer Prize-winning daughters: Laura E. Richards, Maud Howe Elliott, and Florence Howe Hall.
Howe’s biography will form the core of our Mother of Mother’s Day project, along with her Mother’s Day Proclamation and loving tributes from the community to their own mothers. The final version will be available on the blockchain and in physical form by Mother’s Day of next year.
Everyone who collected a “Mom is Love” poster will be able to make Mother proud by submitting a name to include in the book’s Hall of Moms.
A smaller number of up to 25 folks who collect this essay on Paragraph will be able to submit a personal tribute to a mother or mother-figure in their life.
The posters and essays will unlock a "Mother’s Day” role on the Cryptoversal Books Discord for ongoing planning and discussion as we make an unprecedented journey together toward the definitive rerelease of an award-winning book.
Julia Ward Howe saw Mother’s Day as an international movement to transform society.
Anna Jarvis saw Mother’s Day as a deeply personal celebration of individual mothers.
Hallmark sees Mother’s Day as an excuse for selling folded sheets of cardstock for $7.99 apiece.
But it’s ultimately up to us to decide what Mother’s Day means to our own families. Welcome to the journey. May the maple syrup be with you, and may the Wikipedia dives be ever in your favor.