Saturday, June 02, 2007

Publishing, Bungee Jumping, & Self Esteem

In case you haven't read this blog before, my name is Hannah Goodman, and I have low self esteem.

Those of you that know me well, especially my students, are laughing and rolling your eyes.

Of course, now, if you don't know me, I feel like I need to qualify/validate/justify who I am: Ummm....well, I wrote some books and tried to get book deals for years. Then, one day decided to self-published. Did it. won a bunch of awards that got the attention of some agents. Picked the one I liked best. And now...she and I have been together for almost 2 years and since then I have won more awards and self published again. I also started a whole new career as a writing coach/tutor/editor/freelancer.

I wish going to some anonymous meeting would cure me of my low self esteem disease because quite frankly it's getting very old.

So here's what happened. Was feeling sorry for myself..no word from Gina (my agent) for awhile and then bam...A friend of mine sent congratulations about winning...and I replied winning what and she said an IPPY, didn't you know?

No! But...yay! So despite all sorts of self-conscious twinges, I sent out an email announcement. Lots of well-wishers replied.

The IPPY win has given me a little boost about the possibilities of a book deal. But it also reminds me that all the awards I have won (go to my site for more info on that)
still don't mean publication from Random House. These awards are great for my ego, for giving me the validation I need, the validation that yes, your books are not just fun to read but your books are good, award-winning good.

Don't get me wrong, I don't write and I haven't written all these books so that I could win awards or get published by Random House. All of my writing, from blog to book, is because like breathing, I write. I have to write.

And...I have to publish or be published. That part is relatively new. Before I self published My Sister's Wedding, publishing seemed scary and far away and impossible. Kind of like a looking at a mountain, a large, tall, snow capped-its-so-tall mountain and thinking that it would be awesome and inspiring to climb but the journey seems really way too much work. The journey isn't like breathing...it's like breathing really, really hard, maybe even losing your breath at times. I don't mind exercise, in fact I am a junky, but climbing a mountain has never been my thing. A nice walking path, a treadmill, a spinning class, that's more my style.

But then...I took a swan dive off a cliff called self-publishing and realized publishing is not a mountain climb. It's not that kind of journey. It's more of a bungee jump off a high cliff, an act of trusting in that jump and that chord to keep you safe, safe enough not to die but not so safe you feel nothing.

Now that I have experienced publishing and all its trappings (minus a lucrative book deal but hey I am still get royalty checks almost 4 years later from my first book and the second is still selling as well!). The book signings, the book talks and clubs, the reaction from people when I tell them I am an author, holding my glossy-covered books in my hands, etc.

I have bungee jumped, you see, and that kind of high is addicting.

So now...now I want the sky-high sensation of signing a contract in a New York office. A contract that would allow me to become an author full time. To do real book tours, school talks, signings that are publicized by more than my blog and maillist and a tiny tiny blurb in the local paper. I want to write and publish so much and so steadily that anything else I do for money is actually just for fun and thrill.

And guess what? As self conscious as I am about telling you all this, the part of me that wants and dreams of that is a lot stronger now.

I really really am ready. Despite my low self esteem, because of my agent, thanks to my IPPY I am reminded of my dream of the possibility that my dream WILL come true (not may, but will).

The thing is I am standing on the cliff of regular publishing of major book deal but I don't have that damned bungee chord so there's no way in hell I will jump. That chord is the editor out there who loves my work and wants to anchor me while I leap out into the unknown.

Now there's a way to cure my low-self-esteem disease...

Maybe.

2 comments:

Writerperson said...

Congratulations on the Bronze IPPY!! That's great news and I know how good it feels to get that kick of validation.
As usual, you channel my own feelings so accurately. It is terribly frustrating. I am now trying to find an agent with my latest MS, a mainstream novel. Bunch of rejections and one request for a full MS so far.
We should do some long-distance chanting at a simultaneous time or something.
I did have a nice thing happen last week: learned my screenplay, Long's Peak, made the quarterfinals of the Writers on the Storm contest. Very nice. Something to mention in queries.
Cheers!!!

Joanne said...

Great news! The IPPY is further validation for Hannah - and Maddie. Well deserved, I might add. I know the self esteem thing is a struggle. Believe me I know. In the interest of full disclosure, this is written by someone who can't even make it onto the Honorable Mentions list in a writing contest and has nothing but rejections for her short stories and essays. Nevertheless, I've read both My Sister's Wedding and My Summer Vacation, and I've read plenty of traditionally published work. A lot of that mainstream stuff is mediocre at best, with no hope of ever reaching an Honorable Mentions list and certainly not a bronze medal. Point being, it's ironic and - dare I say it - unfair that authors such as Hannah, and probably Writerperson above, should have to "bang nails into the floor with their foreheads" in order to get the attention their work deserves. I'm not saying it should be easy but, holy crap enough already. There must be a few editors out there whose eyes - and minds - are open.