On October 14, 2014, I launched my second memoir, “Learning to Love Myself” to a wonderful group of friends, fans and neighbours who filled the adult room of the Turner Park Library in Hamilton. I went from thinking I’d have no-one come out to being completely overwhelmed, emotionally and otherwise, as folks poured through the doors and immediately lined up to buy my book, many before even knowing whether it was something they’d want to read. I was awestruck and so grateful for their support that I completely forgot whatever I’d planned to say. It no longer mattered. They had come believing they would want to read the next part of the story I had told in my first memoir, ‘No Tears for my Father‘. They didn’t doubt me. What a feeling that was.
That same morning, I had had a repeat visit with Bob Cowan on his CHCH TV MORNING SHOW. If you missed my interview with Bob, click that CHCH TV link to watch the interview. And now, not quite 2 weeks after that launch, I’ve already had both the Hamilton and Thunder Bay Libraries add this new book to their catalogues. By the way, if you’re reading this and your local library doesn’t yet have “No Tears for my Father”, could you please ask them to get it? There are so many libraries across Canada where this book should be available to those who can’t afford to buy it.
A couple of days back, a repeat customer ordered a copy of the new book and wrote “you are really having a successful run young lady!” I love being called a young lady when I’ll turn 69 in February, but jokes aside, her words stopped me dead: “a really successful run”. I had to stop and think about that: how does one measure success as an author? According to agents I spoke with at the CanWrite Conference in April 2014, if I sell 5000 books or so, a publisher might think my book is worth looking at. Well I assure you, I haven’t sold 5000 books … not even 500 … well not printed books that is. If I take ebooks into account, yes, my sales are probably upwards of 700 … not bad for being self-published and being my own marketing and PR company I guess … but hardly a success by book publisher standards!
And yet, I’m happy. I’ve realized a lifelong goal: I’ve written a book, two of them in fact, and folks are willing to pay to read it. For me, that’s success. I have the first book in 7 Ontario libraries. That’s success too. And I’ve won a Gold Medal in the Grief/Hardship category of the 2014 Readers Favorite Book Awards. That was a surprise, and yes, a success. On November 20th, I fly to Miami to attend the awards ceremony and receive that Gold Medal. Not bad for someone who 2 years ago thought she’d never get to write a book! And even better, as a result of all that, I’m now facilitating memoir workshops for others who want to do what I’ve done: written a memoir. That’s utterly rewarding, as well as a measure of success. Of course, the greatest success is found in the letters, comments and reviews I’ve received from readers and victims of child sexual abuse: they have thanked me for speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves. That’s success. And now, with “Learning to Love Myself”, I hope to do even more for them: I hope to help them believe that they too can have a brighter tomorrow. Achieving that goal will be yet another success.
So what’s next? Well I’ve embarked on a somewhat ambitious project: I am putting together a magazine titled “Memoirabilia”, which I hope to publish 4 times a year. To make the magazine work, I’ll need submissions from memoir writers: anecdotes, vignettes, poems. I plan to offer tips, prompts and pointers on writing memoirs and I hope to have interviews with at least one memoir writer per publication. The interviews will be related to their writing, something along the lines of my own author interview at Smashwords. By the way, I hope you’ll read that interview and if you have any other questions you’d like to ask me, just do so in the comment section of this blog. I’d love to hear from you. And please share that link! And before I forget, if you’re a memoirist who has written a book and would like to be interviewed or want to submit to Memoirabilia, please email me through my website. I’d love to speak with you.
My other project is … another book! I’d told several people that was it, that I wasn’t going to write another long book. Well I’m still hoping this won’t be a long one as it will only cover 4-5 years of my life and it won’t be fully memoir. What it will be is different from both the other books, and I’m really enjoying writing it. It’s funny, whimsical, somewhat irreverent and could get me into some hot water with devout Catholics. But hey, I’ve been in hot water before and survived. What’s it about? This nerdy girl in a convent school for young ladies. Except, she’s often anything but a lady. Sound like something you might enjoy? I sure hope so!
Okay, enough for tonight. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, I hope you are happy. And if you’d like a copy of my new book, LEARNING TO LOVE MYSELF or NO TEARS FOR MY FATHER, please buy it/them directly from my website. I have all the ebook versions you want (kindle, epub etc) and would appreciate your purchasing from me rather than hitting up the online giants. You know who I mean. Thanks so much for your support.