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What I learned from Guy Kawasaki

When the first self-published anthology, I Just Want To Pee Alone, I contributed for became a best seller on Amazon and iTunes, I was getting a lot of praise from friends and family. Neighbors were telling me how cool it was.

I would always thank them, and then add, “Oh, it’s no big deal, it’s just a self-published work that I’m a contributor for.”

Seems reasonable right? I mean, I didn’t get a book deal with a major publishing house, I didn’t put forth the thousands of dollars that got it self-published in the first place, AND, I just wrote a little essay that is one of the chapters. It wasn’t THAT hard.

Well, fast forward to BlogHer 2013 and I had an a-ha moment. An epiphany of self-worth.

Guy Kawasaki was the keynote speaker. He is a self-published, social media guru. He has over a million twitter followers and is an entrepreneur and has a book out called APE – Author Publisher Entrepreneur, as well as 11 other books. He knows a little bit about self-publishing, let’s just say that.

After he was speaking that afternoon, I was probably more interested in running to the Expo Hall for more free moisturizer from the CVS booth. But later that night it sunk in. Not the moisturizer. Guy’s words.


When he said that you wouldn’t discredit a baker for opening their own pastry shop instead of going off to work for Hostess, it made perfect sense.

Add that to what I learned from Jen of People I Want To Punch in the Throat at her break out session she lead with Robin O’Bryant of Ketchup is a Vegetable and Lela Davidson of Blacklisted from the PTA,  I was feeling pretty good about myself! Not only did I Just Want To Pee Alone do well among blogger self-published works, but even beat some big name best sellers that get fancy pants publishers to promote them.

These three  explained the self published pathway can be better than the fancy book deal publishing pathway. Doing what you want and using your fan following from your blog to drive up book sales is sometimes more effective than hoping a major publisher will promote you successfully. Don’t get me wrong- a book deal with a publisher is something I would still go for!

What does all this mean?

It means that I will not make excuses about my success anymore. Sure, I can say that I’m a published author now. That I can add to my writing resume and be proud. But,  I’m still dodging boogers from the Boy and scooping cat poop. I’m still driving my 10 year old + minivan. Sure. I haven’t gotten a housekeeper- yet.

But take away the dog hair and dust bunnies, I never thought this possible a year ago. Now, my little blog is no longer just a distraction from dinner making and carpool. It’s my job.

When people ask me, ‘oh do you work?’ I will now say ‘yes, I’m a writer, author and blogger.’

Bam! Are my author accolades a collaborative effort with about 75 other women? Yes. But so is anything in life, right? We support each other, promote each other and cheer for each other. It’s a win-win.

Now with my second anthology out, You Have Lipstick On Your Teeth, and it’s kicking butt on Amazon as well, I have even more to be proud of.

I will always credit Jen and Leslie, my editors extraordinaire on their risk and hard work, absolutely! And thank them forever that they gave me a chance. But I will take more ownership of where I’ve come thus far, and what it could mean for where I’m heading.

Friends have asked me if I’ll be getting a book deal of my own one of these days. I’m not sure. I would jump at the chance. I might also swim in the self publishing waters all by my lonesome. No floaties from an anthology or a collaboration- just little ol’ me. I would also jump at the chance of my own TV show. Hint. Hint. Ellen…. are you reading? Anyone?

I want your takeaway from this post to be- don’t make excuses or apologies for your work. Own it. And if you’ve got it in you- self-publish. You’ll be glad you did.

Now go buy these books!


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  1. When asked if you work. Well you’ve always worked, hours and hours and hours…with no overtime pay…except ‘satisfaction’ which isn’t a bad overtime salary…..you didn’t need an ‘aha moment’ for ‘working’ I know of no harder work than the ‘at home mom’ and the miriad of work done both in and outside the home…your selfworth was well established….as were so many of our own ‘selfworth’ doing the same …. I say you’ve just added another ‘cap/hat’ to your already full and busy worklife’…good for you, but never negate the ‘work’ you’ve done full-time for years …. the ‘salary’ earned from that unselfish giving and doing is never going to be topped….
    Wishing you wonderfully well as you add writing and publishing to your already ‘accomplished’ resume….xxxx

    • Thank you Sandy. It’s nice to feel the recognition. You know it yourself how hard it is. 😉

  2. I’m always so amazed by the stigma that comes with being self-published in any genre. It’s still art, whether it’s backed by people who only care about a bottom line or not. Look at Macklemore. Independent label and kicking ass. No one is questioning his authority, or saying he’s less of a musician because he didn’t sign with a major record label before hitting big. So, yes, girl! Don’t apologize for anything! You’re doing this, quite well, I might add. Congrats on your successful anthologies!

    • How did I not know about Macklemore? I’m so out of the loop. Love him, and the fact that he is an independent label makes me love him even more. Thank you!

  3. Self pubbed or not, you still worked hard and you are getting paid – hells yeah, call yourself a writer. I need to start doing that, too!

  4. Karen Alpert (Baby Sideburns) says:

    Amen to all that!! Well-said!!

  5. I love this. I so wish I could have been at BlogHer to hear Guy, Jen and Robin. My writing successes have far surpassed anything I could have hoped for when I began this journey less than a year ago, but it took two anthologies and a weekly column in my local paper for me to call myself a writer, and sometimes I still expect someone to correct me. That is unacceptable.

    Thank you for helping me hold my head higher.

  6. I’ve been down both paths now – self and traditional – and I am a little dismayed when people ask “Did Random House publish your anthology?” It’s all I can do to not say, “No. I did, bitch, and it’s awesome.” Instead, I just smile and try to educate them on the reasons why self publishing rocks the hell out of this world. I’m so happy that you put your trust in me and my vision and you joined me on the amazing ride that has been the success of I Just Want to Pee Alone. It’s not every day that you throw Tina Fey and George R. R. Martin off the top of the best seller’s list so that you can take their places. Self publishing did that for you and me.

    • Jen, I still get butterflies thinking how cool it is that you selected me. Thanks for the ride!!