Sunday, October 6, 2013

October 6, 2013: Transformation...


Friday marked a big day.

My second book went off to layout design.

As a recovering perfectionist, that was one of those emails that has literally taken YEARS to send.

The book is a prequel to Bella's Blessings, and was actually began in 2003.  I finished it in 2007, found a literary agent who shopped it unsuccessfully in 2008/2009, and then shelved it.

I was crushed by the rejection.  I can still remember some of the feedback from publishers it was sent to.  I will say agent gave up pretty quickly on me; they stopped sending it out after they got about 6 no's.  That's not a lot, but the vibe they were getting was that I was basically a nobody, and the book is a memoir, and nobody is going to pick up a memoir by a nobody.  Said another way, celebrity memoirs sell great, but I "didn't have a big enough platform" to sell from.

Well, then I wrote Bella's Blessings, and self-published.  I figured, okay, I'll publish myself, and that way my tiny little platform can at least experience and benefit from my book.  So, I sold a few hundred books, donated some money to some different charities before coming on board and making PUCK the main beneficiary, and got some nice letters about the inspiration people experienced reading it.

My plan was to release this book sooner, but I honestly lost faith in it after one of the comments from one of the publishers.  The publisher said, "he's got a great marketing plan, now he just needs to write a better book."  I let the comment persuade me that the book wasn't good.  So, it just sat.

Now, I mentioned that I'm a recovering perfectionist, right?  I also have a pretty thin skin, so dealing with rejection was just something I didn't want to deal with again.  I have recently learned that fear of rejection is one of the principal human fears we all struggle with.  I felt better after hearing that.

In addition, I recently made friends with another young speaker like myself, who also has a book out.  His book was an amazon top seller, so I picked his brain on how he did it, and he helped me a ton.  For one, the self-publishing business has changed a bunch since I released Bella's Blessings in 2009.  Can you believe that?  THREE years?  Things move so fast now, it's just amazing.

So, my friend explained to me that there is a specific launch strategy that authors and publishers use to get books to post on best seller lists. I had heard T. Harv Ecker share this exact same strategy at a seminar 3 years ago, and now that I know a little more about it all, it makes a lot of sense.  I also heard a hilarious comment from Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad/Poor Dad.  He was talking to a reporter who was a struggling author.  The author was complaining her books 'weren't going anywhere.' He suggested she take a sales training course and maybe study direct marketing.  The author was offended.  Then, he pointed out that on the cover of his book, it reads, "New York Times Best-Selling Author" NOT "Best-Writing Author."  At this point, the would be author huffed off indignantly.

He reminded me in that story a piece of truth I learned in the music business which is that talent and success are not correlated.  In fact, it seems like they are inversely related!  Have you heard Robin Thicke's single?  Really?  It is the most successful single of the year, but is it the most talented?  I'd argue it's pretty far from that! LOL.  Point being, "TIM, PUBLISH YOUR BOOK.  FOR GOODNESS SAKE, IT'S GOOD ENOUGH."

I titled the post Transformation because that is what the book is all about.  It is a collection of short stories from my life where I transformed some situation from tragedy into triumph.  Some of the stories are light-hearted and funny, and some are pretty intense.  These stories represent the "training ground" where I developed my 'faith muscles.'  Everything that happened in that book led me to be the dad I could be for Bella, and because YOU specifically read THIS blog, you will make that connection more than anyone else who reads the book.

As the recovering perfectionist, I also struggled with the fact that I have written over 500 blog posts on this blog not including Bella's Blessings since I wrote that book, and I'm pretty sure through all that practice, my writing has hopefully improved, so the book might not read well to those who have been following my later works.  It's like listening to an artists' first record that didn't blow up until after their 3rd record finally charted.  You go back and listen to their early material, and sometimes it sounds a bit immature by comparison.  I have a real fear that people will think that about this book, and that is another reason I held onto it.  I wouldn't have to find out if that was the truth or just my fear if I never released it.

Have you ever had a fear that once confronted, wasn't a tenth of what you painted it out to be?  In other words, what's one thing you feared would happen, and when the day came, your fear never materialized?  It's one thing to have fear, that's natural.  But how often do you interrogate your fear?  What is the probability of it happening?  I get stuck focusing on a fear that maybe has a 5% chance of happening and magnifying that fear until it looks like 95% of the picture.

Hate when I do that.

Did you know I wrote and recorded and entire solo album in 2008, and then got caught up in the same conversation about it not being good enough?  It goes with the book; the songs are related to many of the stories and some are straight out of the stories themselves.

I also created 2 7-module training guides for music therapists to help them get their career off the ground and running faster, but only published the first half of it, and have barely let anyone know it exists.  That was in 2011.

Man I really get scared easily.  I'm a creative person; I need to create.  I create, but then I get too scared that my stuff isn't good enough, so I hide it, so I never have to find out.

Hahahaha I feel like I just outed myself or something.  I think I am sharing all this because I can't bear to sit on all these creative works any more.  I have to get them out, imperfect and all, and allow them to create value for those who they will benefit, and let the market decide if they are any good or not.  I have ben so afraid of failure, that I have guaranteed it.  I have been hearing A LOT lately that the way to succeed is to out-fail everyone else you compete with in the marketplace.

That is a complete transformation of thought from where I have been hiding on the sidelines.

Having said alllllll that, I have a favor to ask.  I am struggling with my title.  Now that you know what the book is about, would you mind telling me what title you like better?

1)  "Full Circle:  Life Lessons in Transforming Tragedy into Triumph"  


2)  "Count Your Blessings: Life Lessons in Transforming Tragedy into Triumph"

Thanks for your replies to this.  I end a couple of the short stories with the concept of the story coming full circle, but "Count Your Blessings: memoirs of an 'unlucky kid," was my very first title, and while the second half of the title doesn't tell as much as the new second half, "count your Blessings" totally fits the stories, and ties "Bella's Blessings" to this book.

Okay, I'm gonna shut up now.

Thanks for helping me deal with all this.  It's all been slamming around in my head for far too long.

God night.


  1. I like #2 and the tie-in to Bella's book (which I bought a copy of!). Good luck!

  2. I think that the second title would be better fitting for your book. Not only does it tie into Bella's Blessings, I think that it will draw the reader's attention more successfully. Either way, I am praying that you are able to get published.

  3. #2...and good for you!! I can't wait to read it. I know I get courage from my kiddos when I am afraid of rejection. They put it out there everyday, all day at school, sports, music lessons and are told try agin not good enough, and they KEEP going! If we could just find that point in life where that changes and stop it from happening! Have a great Monday!

  4. I just did an Amazon search for books titled "Count Your Blessings"--there are SO many! I think that title would just make your book be lost in a sea of others. I would be more likely to pick up something with a more unique title, so I would vote for "Full Circle". Good luck!

  5. Blessings....
    No question in my mind.

  6. 2/ Count Your Blessings. I like that it ties "Bella's Blessings" to the book. I understand where you are coming from, because I am also a recovering perfectionist. I don't finish anything I start because of fear. Then one day I decided it was time to grow in what ever it was I wanted to do. One day at a time I am moving forward. Tim, just do it for goodness sake. I say that to myself a lot. But now I am doing it and not letting fear stand in my way. We as your flatform know it is good enough and can't wait to have it in our hands. Thanks again for ALL your Wisdom...

  7. I like the second title for the connection to Bella's Blessings.

  8. I am sure that it is not a question of the material in your book as I am sure it is intelligent, inspiring and reflective, as all of your writing is! The key is going to be to get it in peoples hands and the rest will take care of itself! They will love you and your family just as we all do!
    I hope the book is a wonderful success!!
    Kelley from MO

  9. I also liked your phrase about building faith muscles...
    I didn't think about Count your blessings being all over amazon.....

  10. I vote for 1) "Full Circle: Life Lessons in Transforming Tragedy into Triumph"

    Either way - I'll read it!

  11. I have 2 books in me ... Not sure if I will ever write them, but they are in there. Having been on the receiving end of your creative wizardry, I fully support your endeavors and hope this is just the beginning!

  12. Hi, Tim,
    I vote for title #2: a) it coordinates with Bella's Blessings; b) I think people can more readily understand a title when it has a command in it; and c) based on all your evolving and transformation that's STILL happening, "Full Circle" feels a little pre-emptive. Maybe a year from now you'll look back and feel like the circle WASN'T closed by this point in your then-past. Make sense?

    Get on with it, man. Let that little light shine!!

    Adrienne Provost
    (not a lurker today)

  13. I also like #2 better, but it makes sense if you might not want the same title as many others.... :)