Happy 1st Birthday Say It Out Loud!
Because of you I’ve had one of the most memorable years of my life.
When we look back on any year of our lives we typically recall the ups and downs. Remember senior year of college? A roller coaster ride for many. I like to savor the high points and reflect on what I can learn from the low points. It’s much the same with the first year in the life of a book. Here’s a look into year one of Say It Out Loud.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
The High Points
Official Book Launch: October 8, 2014
This night was truly one of those moments. The library was filled with over 90 people—people from my past who I hadn’t seen in years, former colleagues, dear friends, all of my children and of course my three life lines, Dellene, Nancy and Tim. I stood at the podium, looking out at the many faces. Some were present because they walked this journey with me, some because they heard about my past, others only knew me as the author of this book, but all were there because they believed in me. That feeling of support and love is what took my breath away and will stay in my heart forever.
When you unlock a dark secret, talk openly about a taboo subject, and expose yourself so openly you encounter doubters and those who don’t agree with sharing such personal information. There were times on my journey when a comment like “no one tells people they were sexually abused” would make me question why I was saying it out loud. The support I received that night at the library not only erased any lingering doubts, it empowered me to say it out loud—even louder!
The Connecticut District Conference
In April I was blessed with another Say It Out Loud moment that took my breath away. I was asked to be the main speaker at the CT District Conference of the United Methodist Church. Once again, I stood at a podium but this time it was on an altar. I looked out at packed church, many clergy, mostly strangers except for the front pew occupied by Dellene, Nancy, Tim and my dear friend Karen. Throughout my talk I heard a different kind of support, amen, yes, and as I concluded my 35 minute sermon, a standing ovation that brought me to tears.
When I wrote and now speak about Say It Out Loud I consciously choose not to dwell on my spiritual beliefs. I want the book and my message to be available for anyone—believers, nonbelievers and those whose religion differs from my own. Everyone has the power to heal their emotional scars with or without a higher being. My beliefs sustained me through my childhood of abuse and the long healing journey. Standing on the alter I felt like a child bursting to tell her parent some exciting news. The experience of sharing my spiritual side to a very receptive audience took my breath away.
There have been many other high points throughout this year: speaking to groups of therapists and nurses, having other survivors reach out to me, meeting other authors are just a few.
The high points are far greater than any of the lows. But there were moments that took my breath away due to the anxiety they evoked. I prefer to call them learning points rather than low points. They’re the learning curve we all experience when we embark on something new in our professional or personal lives.
The Learning Points
Number One: Promotion
Many authors do well promoting their books at fairs and bookstore events so I assumed it would be the same for me. Not so. The most books I’ve sold at this type of event was five. It’s almost, almost funny now watching people walk towards my attractive table with posters, bookmarks, books etc. As they get close enough to read the subtitle, Revealing and Healing the Scars of Sexual Abuse, they step away. The kind of detour you take when you have no makeup on and see an old classmate in the grocery store. For the few brave souls who come closer I’m able to share my message of hope and healing and explain that the strategies I write about apply to healing any type of emotional pain.
I’ve learned this year that the best venue for sharing my book is through speaking engagements. Places where people can hear my message and relate my journey to their own healing journeys. Finding those venues hasn’t been easy, not because they don’t exist, because self-promotion is not my strong suit. My goal for year two is to step out of my comfort zone and improve my skills at contacting counseling agencies, universities and book clubs.
The other learning point was realizing how difficult it is to get book reviews. Hundreds of people purchased the book this year. Twenty people wrote a comment on Amazon. If you aren’t an author you probably have no idea how important reader comments are in promoting your work. If I were a more assertive person I’d be vocal about asking readers to comment—another goal for the coming year.
The moments that took my breath away, along with the moments I could barely take a breath, all led to this first year of Say It Out Loud being more than I dreamed it could be. I want to thank everyone who has read the book, reached out and supported my efforts. Your feedback is the inspiration I need to keep on Saying It Out Loud! Roberta