An Embarrassed Announcement
I guess this is the appropriate forum to put this in...
When my friend Mark Walters and I began collaborating on a book last year (Lessons from Armed America, from White Feather Press), we were extremely excited about the possibilities. We knew we had a winner of an idea and we believed we'd be able to pull it off. We couldn't wait to see what we produced together! But at the same time, I was a little shy of telling other people what I was up to. Truthfully, I was afraid to talk about it for fear that if I did, it wouldn't be "real." I was afraid of being embarrassed if our plans fell through, or if the book didn't work out for some other reason. So afraid of being embarrassed was I, in fact, that I didn't even tell my own mother that I was working on a book! "I'll mention it later," I rationalized, "once I know for sure that the book will become a reality." I extended this same reasoning to other family members and friends, figuring that there would be plenty of time to make such announcements when we had a formal contract from a publisher.
It wasn't long before we'd finished the writing and went looking for a publisher. We were extremely fortunate when Mark Walters met up with Skip Coryell, of White Feather Press. Skip took one look at Lessons from Armed America and said, "I'll publish it." He thought we had a winner. Excellent!
We even got a foreword from Massad Ayoob. And yes, asking him if he'd be willing to do that was also embarrassing.
When Mark and I signed our contract with the publisher, we were both extremely excited. Mark immediately set out to tell the world, shouting it from the proverbial rooftops (I half suspect he shouted it from some literal rooftops as well; he's that kind of guy). But despite my excitement, I still found myself strangely embarrassed. "When the book is really in print," I thought, "then I will tell everyone about it." I rationalized that there was still lots of time, and that I didn't want to make any formal announcement until the book was actually available for purchase. So apart from a few close friends, nobody else in my life knew that I had a book in the works even after the contract was signed.
Of course, I hadn't realized that when I diffidently avoided telling people that I was working on a book, from fear of embarrassment, I was actually setting myself up for even more embarrassment down the road! That's because almost without exception, when I mentioned to a friend that my collaborator and I had just signed a book contract, the universal response was, "Really!? That's wonderful! How much time do you have to do the writing?" – and then I would have to explain that the book was already written, and that we'd been shopping for a publisher, and of course that little story was always followed by a hurt look when friends realized I hadn't shared any of my writing adventures with them.
But it got worse.
Now the book really is in print, but even though I'm holding it in my hands, it still doesn't seem real. And the embarrassment I hoped to avoid, by keeping quiet? It's become acute! That's because every time someone mentions Lessons from Armed America in my presence, they almost always follow up by throwing an accusing look at me while saying, "Of course, Kathy didn't tell me she was writing a book! I had to find out by ..." – followed, of course, by some long and involved story about exactly how they'd discovered my embarrassing little secret.
Awhile back, I kind of quietly changed my sig line in some of the forums where I participate, figuring that would function as an announcement. But I've been told that it doesn't count ... So as belated as it might be, here it is, my formal announcement: I've written a book with Mark Walters. I think it's a good book. It might even be a very good book. But if I can't overcome my embarrassed reluctance to tell people about it, nobody will ever buy it – and that would be a crying shame.
If you want to save me from myself, please pick up a copy of Lessons from Armed America today. If the book sells well, it won't be nearly so embarrassing.
Oh, and if you read the book and like it, please post a review on Amazon and on a gun board somewhere. Help spread the word...
an embarrassed pax