Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How Resilient Are You?

www.jenniferrothschild.com


Recently, I had the pleasure of seeing Jennifer Rothschild at a conference I attended.  Now, if you are not familiar with Jennifer, she's a lot like me.  She writes, blogs, and speaks professionally, only she has sold a half million copies of her six books (a few more than me *cough*), and has been on Dr. Phil and Good Morning America.  Oh, and she is a phenomenal speaker.  If you get a chance check her out.

Here are some ways Jennifer is not like me:
  • She has never seen her own blog
  • She has never seen her own books
  • She has never seen her own husband or child 

Jennifer has been blind since she was fifteen years old.

But I wouldn't be telling you about Jennifer if I thought she was superwoman.  The reason I decided to write about Jennifer is that she admitted on stage that being blind sucks, it's hard, she's had some terribly humiliating moments living with her disability.  Jennifer's message is not about how she's so great she overcame her blindness.  Jennifer's message is about how each person has a unique gift and it might come in an unusual package.

Sometimes being a self-published author sucks. After finishing my book, my soon to be thirteen year old daughter excitedly questioned me about when she could tell her friends at school they could buy it in the bookstore.  I had to explain that The Soulkeepers wouldn't be in the local Barnes & Noble but they could buy it from Amazon.  "But it's sooo good," she said. "Why not?"

As I've started getting fan mail from all over the country about The Soulkeepers, I've had days when I've felt sorry for myself for not having a hardcover in a bookstore window. "I'm good enough!" I say. "It's not fair!"  Well, who the hell said life was?

Then I'm reminded of the picture my friend sent me when I made this decision.  She found this tree in Colorado, growing out of a rock.  For her it reminded her of being a mom.  She said, "I spend so much time making sure my kids have everything...a rich soil of activities to help them grow into the perfect adults.  But then I see this tree, an evergreen growing out of the rock, and I realize that whatever it is they're supposed to be will come as much from their hardships as what I'm doing to make it easy for them. " This tree doesn't have any advantages but it is because it's supposed to be. Well isn't that a swift kick in the butt?

So here's to all the people out there with unique gifts in unusual packages!  Whatever has brought us to this place in our lives, it is not to fail but to succeed, to learn, and to grow out of our hardships. 

Today, I am that little tree and I've realized that my readers are the rain and, for now, that is enough.   

15 comments:

  1. That message from your friend really resonated for me. I am trying to give my little man the best start in life, giving him lots of love and lots of opportunities, and yet when I think of my life, all of the things I am most grateful I developed came about as a response to the most difficult and most awful parts of my childhood. Tricky!

    And as for not having the book in a shop, well, you're doing a grand job of bringing it into the light online, so keep at it! xx

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  2. Thank you, Emma. That means a lot coming from a talented writer such as yourself!

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  3. I just wrote a ton of stuff, but google timed out on my and I lost everything.

    So,

    I agree with you on both fronts.
    I will publish my debut novel next month and I question myself daily. Am I good enough, What will people think? People are going to think it's bad because I published it, how do I know it's Good?

    I hear many authors wanting the acceptance of traditional publishing, they need the validation. It's also unfortunate not to take up space in bricks and mortar bookstores but, nothing is perfect.

    With traditional publishing, it would take you another year and a half before The Soulkeepers would be released.

    Also, with my daughter, I try to make it easy for her, but it's the hard and difficult times that shaped me. I wonder if she's missing out so to speak.

    Regardless, I'm unable to give her hardships, I'll just have to see where this goes.

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  4. I'm almost done with The Soulkeepers and agree with your munchkin, it's sooooo good. It sounds like not only are a wonderful writer, but a wonderful mom, too.

    This is a beautiful post and outlook to have, Gen.

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  5. Thanks, Kayanna! I certainly don't regret my decision in any way but I do wonder why my manuscript didn't "win the agent lottery" sometimes. It's not about validation as much as wondering if any of them actually read it!

    Thanks Angela! What a compliment from the writer of Dream Smashers (great book).

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  6. Excellent post! I know you are an excellent writer and so very glad you decided to publish. I'll be going along the same path.

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  7. You deserve so much, Gen. I've been saying that since I first read SK last year. You have a gift and people will see that. Don't ever give up!!!

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  8. You're one of my heroes, G.P. Ching. You just are.
    Tell your daughter you're saving that little tree on the rock by not having it at the local bookstore.

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  9. I love this. And I love your book. Just wait, that tree will grow into a frickin forest soon enough!

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  10. Thanks, Jen! It is all worth it the first time someone writes to say they connected with your book on a personal level.

    Megg and Karly - My buds, you make me misty eyed with your compliments. The peeps who believed in my manuscript from the start.

    Cathy - That is the most hilarious connection! I wasn't thinking of that when I wrote this but you are so right.

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  11. You know, G.P., I appreciate your candor. You wear your heart on your sleeve. You are sincere when you write about your thirteen year old daughter’s questions to you, and about how it feels to not have “won the agent lottery” yet. And the joy of self-publishing. It’s all there—in your words.

    What is refreshing is to see a thoughtful slant on the entire e-publishing versus traditional publishing controversy. Well, actually, it’s only controversial on Mr. Konrath’s blog—which we both know well—where his vitriol for the legacy publishers is rabid—and redundant.

    As anyone who reads books and looks on the internet knows, at least in 2011-2012, the traditional publishers are publishing many fantastic authors, and in the meantime making them multi-millionaires. Mr. Konrath has a grudge that the traditional publishers act as gatekeepers, and then take a hefty cut of the profits leaving authors “small potatoes”. He implies that the publishers are giving formatting and cover art, when in reality they’re providing real contacts in Hollywood and advertising in USA Today and Time Magazine and a load of other bennies.

    It takes hundreds of tries, for some, to get a traditional publishing deal. But what new author would pass it up—they may be the next Jodi Picoult, Stephanie Meyer or Sara Gruen.

    And you may be, too, Genevieve. Who could fault you for self-publishing? But then again, who could fault you for wanting the traditional contract, too. You should continue to write and submit. Your talent is exceptional. It takes time. Many famous authors are rejected dozens of times, then hit the winning combination of luck and a [publisher that knows their talent.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGF4l3hcgBg

    This video is Tom Brady, the best living
    quarterback in the NFL. It’s a fantastic 2 minutes—it shows, even now, this Hall of Famer cries when he thinks about the draft and just missing being “ an insurance salesman”. Cut and paste it—it’s very motivating. Not all talent is initially seen by others. Especially in the subjective arts. Write that doozy novel, and submit again And again.

    You have what it takes.

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  12. Sometimes, you create something so vastly different than what the traditional publishers are willing to bet on (because, frankly, that's what they do), you have to find another way to get your work out there in the hands of people who will love it.
    Bravo to you.

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  13. CoolKayaker - That video is amazing! Thanks for sending it my way. I agree. I think when you hear Konrath and others talk about self-publishing you have to remember they built their readership on traditional publishing. And I take some of what I hear with a grain of salt because there are many ways someone might be financially and personally motivated to share a message that might not be right for everyone.

    Jay - Thanks! I agree. I think you hit the nail on the head about what drove me to make the choice I did. And so far, it seems to be working for me...but it's a lot of hard work.

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