When I self-published Getting Messy in the fall of 2009, I didn’t have a dime to spend on marketing and I was heartbroken. All the passionate work (the first draft was written in 1999), sweat, money (hiring the best editors and graphic designers because I wanted it to be perfect) and love that went into that book, and now it was going to go out into the world without any support. With the exception of my teaching community I was unknown, so I presumed that sending it to publishers would be a waste of my limited resources. And this was also true—I didn’t know if Getting Messy would be well received. My friends and students loved it, but I’d been advised never to trust the opinion of someone close to me. Getting Messy was going to have to find its own way—sink or swim—and I didn’t know which path it would take.
Self-help folks and coaches often tell us to take time to give gratitude and celebrate your successes. Three years later I am happy and grateful to report, that while Getting Messy is still not widely known, sales have increased every year and every month since it was published three years ago. It has been purchased by readers in Great Britain, Germany and Spain, and has been blogged about by writers in Basque region of Spain, the British Council of the BBC and the International Teacher Development Institute of Slovakia. On Goodreads, members continue to add it to their “To Read” shelves, and Jennifer Louden, best-selling author of the Women’s Comfort Book and founder of TeachNow has helped promote it as one of her “favorite books on teaching.” Getting Messy is indeed finding its own way in the world–it has its own life. I don’t need to be sad for it anymore.
When you deeply care about something, even if it seems like the world is not supporting your efforts, miracles do happen. I hope I never doubt that again. If you’re nurturing a creative vision or project and feeling discouraged or even hopeless, if you’ve been working on something for years and have no idea if your hard work will ever pay off, let me say this from my own experience: your love, dedication, and passion will win out in the end. Go for it.
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Getting Messy makes a very fun and affordable gift. Only $14.35 on Amazon.