Fly One Time (aka Admitting I Have Wings)

fly one time***long ass post warning – worth it, I hope!***

You might have noticed that the blog was unusually quiet last week, and for that, I apologize. Monday mid-day, I was on a plane to Atlanta where I’d be teaching the marketing teams at the American College of Rheumatology (WTF? Yup.) for the next two days. (Oh, and for the record, they’ve been long-time readers of the blog and found me on Twitter. Business gets done via social media, once again.) I also promised I’d name the winner of the signed copy of Gary V’s “The Thank You Economy” from the Business Unicorns contest, which I sucked at getting done as well. So congrats to Darcie Newton for this comment and her take on being financially smart in your business. I’ve dropped you an email so I can get your book on its way (Unicorn Gun included).

So why did I suck so much last week? Maybe the lyrics from a Ben Harper song will say it better than I ever could:

“I have an ability
It’s pounding at my door.
Screaming for more…

Standing at the edge of your life.
At the edge of our lives.
Don’t hold on
There’s no fighting back the years
so hard to unlearn fears.

Now your caught between
what you can’t leave behind.
And all that you may never find.”

Every writer…artist…singer…musician…painter…creative type in general gets scared when they find out that (omg) people seem to like what they’ve been doing. Yeah – welcome to my world. Y’all are picking up what I’m puttin’ down by the metric ton and some people noticed. Hell, I’m still shocked as daylights when I meet someone who says they read my blog. (true story)

Last week, I signed my columnist’s agreement with Entrepreneur Magazine and two book contracts. Three pieces of digital paper that give me all I ever wanted professionally – the ability to write for a living – and for a few days, it turned out to be one of the most paralyzing things that’s ever happened to me. I don’t know if you’ve ever had the experience of being a guest star in your own life, but for me, the script has looked a lot like this since Tuesday of last week:

That’s great, Erika. You did it. You got it. You called your mom. She’s proud. But if you tell people about it, will it sound like you’re being the big swinging dick? Like you’re bragging. Will you be the douchecopter? Should you even BOTHER tell people about it? Yeah, they know about the column, but the books. Lots of people write books. Why are you special? Who the fuck is going to buy the goddamned book? What if it sucks? That’s great – you’re already thinking about writing a book that sucks. What if they both suck? Oh, that’s precious, Erika. Now both books suck. Neither of them sucked, then only ONE of them sucked and now they BOTH suck. EVE! Your fourth face is ready! What are you so proud of anyways? Now, you have to sit down and WRITE the fuckers. Unicorns don’t shit books and even if they did, you killed off all of the unicorns last week. So now, you’re batting zero: you just signed two contract for books you haven’t written that already suck, you’re fresh out of book-shitting unicorns and you have to find time in the next six months to write two books that are already predestined to suck. Balls of fucking dammit.

In the role of the Self-Deprecating, Neurotic Redhead: Erika Napoletano, ladies and gentlemen.

Today is Sunday, and the first thing I do on Sunday mornings is troll YouTube. A geeky tradition, I’m looking for music videos to watch. Studio sessions are my favorite, yet today, I stumbled across the video for a Ben Harper song I’d nearly forgotten about: Fly One Time (some of the lyrics for which appear above). And with an unprecedented ease, I removed my head from my ass and decided to fly. One time. So here it goes:

It’s because of YOU that I get to live my dream. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: without readers, a writer is nothing more than thoughts screaming for asylum. Stories need other people to come alive and the reason mine come to life is YOU. Many of you have been along this crazy road I’ve traveled and stood by me through times where there was nothing I could do except write then hide in a blanket cave. And life? What a fucked up, unpredictable yet simultaneously delightful little unhousebroken pet. It makes you laugh at the most unexpected times and something about it makes you mind the times it pisses on your rug a little bit less.

So here’s the skinny, I hope you enjoy, and there’s nothing more important to me about these books than the ability to tell you “thank you.”

The Power of Unpopular: a counter-intuitive guide to selecting your audience, building your brand and rising above the “me too” economy (publisher: John Wiley & Sons / acquiring editor, Shannon Vargo) While the final title is pending, I’m pretty sure you can glean the what’s what. God knows, I’ve never been the popular girl and the  way I go about business is anything but ordinary. A special thanks to Shelly Kramer for the initial introduction to Wiley late last year, a personal introduction by Amber Naslund (author of The NOW Revolution) to her editor at Wiley, Shannon Vargo, whose enthusiasm for my wild and wooly redheaded ways brought my message to the Wiley imprint. Additional thanks goes to Amy Fandrei at Wiley, without whom we might never have a look at what unpopular looks like. This will be littering books store shelves and hopefully, your bedside tables, in early spring of 2012, just before SXSW.

Cracking the Egg: An Insider’s Guide to Egg Donation (publisher: Demos Health / acquiring editor, Noreen Henson) Most of you don’t know this, but I’m a ten time egg donor and there are more than ten little half Erikas running around in the world. I met my co-author, Wendie Wilson-Miller in 2001 when I wanted to learn more about helping infertile couples have children. Not only did it result in a now nine-year friendship (Wendie was one of my first cycle coordinators for my egg donor procedures), but Wendie now owns her own egg donation agency in Studio City, California. The book is the first of its kind to address egg donation from both the donor and agency perspective and you can look for it on shelves in spring of 2012.

And one final note: if you’re any sort of creative, you’ve heard (and possibly experienced) the horrors of agents. I’m here to tell you that I have the best literary agent in the world, no contest: Stephany Evans of FinePrint Literary Management in NYC. I first learned about FinePrint by following the delightfully snarky Janet Reid on Twitter, and when the time came to send out queries on Cracking the Egg, I did my research through Writer’s Market and dug deeper into the FinePrint website. Stephany was our number one choice to represent that project, and thanks to a query letter that didn’t suck, she emailed back asking for the proposal not seven hours later. Eight months later (Think books move fast? Think again.), we’ve now placed two projects with great publishers together. Her guidance has been invaluable – she’s my “creative lawyer.” And if you need a take on why your business and efforts might need some sort of lawyer, watch this incredible presentation (Fuck You, Pay Me) by Mike Monteiro.

“Contracts are designed to protect both parties.”

I have a contract with you, my readers: I spare you the bullshit and expect you to call me out if I phone it in.

I have a contract with my clients: we each deliver what we promise.

I now have two new contracts, and I’m gonna fly. One time. Well, two times, actually. Discovering and subsequently admitting you have wings is a pretty scary thing, if only because the reality of falling becomes all the more clear. But fuck it. I’ve fallen before and if there’s one thing I can do, it’s get up and dust myself off (and I surprise myself quite often by not falling at all and creating something pretty damn niiiiiiiice instead). I might be a mediocre bike racer and suck inconceivably at installing wallpaper, but if I were going to fail at the writing thing, I’d have crashed, burned and called the fire department by now.

We’d all do ourselves a favor if we’d let ourselves fly, one time. Soooo…thank you for reading. Following. All the emails you send. For coming back post after post,replying tweet after questionable tweet. But most of all, thank you for sharing (the single biggest compliment a writer can receive). I don’t claim to write for everyone, and that’s why I keep writing for you.

90 comments
Shelly
Shelly

Congrats!!!! I'm sure they will both be awesome reads!!!

Elizabeth Newlin
Elizabeth Newlin

So much congrats! You are living the dream. So enjoy it already!

Tobey Deys
Tobey Deys

Erika ... Mad props! I recently discovered you and my little universe is more real thanks to it. You are a lot of things (relevantly irreverent, inspiring, motivating, really fucking insightful) but a braggadouche you most decidedly are NOT! g'ahead and swing that dick ;-)

Aaron Lee
Aaron Lee

Congratulations on your success, you've an extraordinary talent in writing and your book won't suck. No.. wait.. your bookS won't suck at all. Love your writing and I am sure it will keep a lot of people entertained. I hate boring bla bla bla business writing that puts me asleep lol. All the best! send us some copies with some love will ya!

Cherry
Cherry

Fly Reds, fly. You are soaring. Congratulations. Haven't read the rest of the comments, but can't believe I'm alone in saying: More than 10 half Erika's running around! OMG. I'll never get away from the words fuck and douchebag and analogies that make my sides split. HUgs to you and thanks for all the help you've given to infertile couples. Cherry

Lewis LaLanne - NoteTakingNerd
Lewis LaLanne - NoteTakingNerd

Hey Super Girl, The one thing I'm hoping for your in your bidniz book is that Wiley doesn't neuter words like "big swinging dick" and "douche copter" out of it. That is, if you're planning on bringing redheadwriting.com version of "You" to the book store shelves instead of the Mormon-friendly PG-13 version of "You". Which ever "You" shows up, I'm wishing you massive success in your publishing adventures and beyond. :)

Patrick Reyes
Patrick Reyes

Congrats Erika. Love it when good things happen to good people.

David Murray
David Murray

Congratulations Erika. Your post reminds me of something a read a long time ago in a thing called a "book". It's not failure that we are afraid of. It is the possibility that if we actually believe, we will be successful. Success is terrifying because we do not allow ourselves to accept the fact that we deserve success. You do, otherwise it wouldn't have come to you.

Gina LaGuardia
Gina LaGuardia

I'm dog tired tonight, so pardon the brevity, but I think this about sums it up -- I raise my glass of Fresca to you, Erika. Big congrats! :)

Kath1213
Kath1213

Well-done, Madame Redhead, Well Done. This calls for a Mac 'n' Cheese celebration at The Rackhouse! xoxo

Kellie J. Walker
Kellie J. Walker

I've been thinking about this all day. Just got a visual of the scene from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas - the one where his heart suddenly grew? Well, we all know you're no Grinch. And, we all know you've got a heart the size of Texas. I love the idea that writing these two books along with your new column will make that already-metric-ass-ton-sized heart of yours even bigger. The world just got a whole lot better.

Steve_thomas
Steve_thomas

Erika, thank you so much not only for this post but for all the others, too. I haven't been following you for long but I've enjoyed every minute of the journey. I eagerly await each F/B update and cannot wait for your book, The Power of Unpopular, to hit the shelves. I'm not involved in a business as yet. I'm one of the "great unemployed" at present. I want you to know I read your exquisitely irreverent blog on a regular basis and I reccomend it to all my business contacts. I'm not going to gush over you, tell you how great you are, or how inspiring you blog is. You know that already. Just please, DON'T STOP!! It's difficult enough to find "real" in the cyber-world. I doubt I could find (or even imagine) your equal elsewhere. Thanks again, Erika. I gotta fly now.

Isabella
Isabella

awwww....just grinning ear to ear for ya' home girl...yeah! get cha wings going....I know they are already on.. oh and .....see you up there! .... looking forward to them .<3 Isabella ( your gal pal from cyber land )

Leon Noone
Leon Noone

G'Day Erika, Goodbloodyonyer! Or, to use another old Aussie expression: Whacko The Chook! That's all. Regards Leon

Brad Holland
Brad Holland

Balls of fucking dammit. - It just had to be said again.

Sonia Simone
Sonia Simone

So cool! Shannon Vargo impresses the hell out of me, I suspect that will be a great experience.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Why, thankya! And I've always appreciated seeing you consistently in my Twitterstream and bopping over here to the blog on occasion. Glad you decided to stick around and thanks for the coveted "bedside table" spot in advance :)

SL Clark
SL Clark

Congratulations Erika, you've earned yourself "interesting" times indeed; signing yourself up for ass loads of work *creating*, which is awesomeness defined. A quick aside; damn Kirby sales-man knocks on the door, asks to talk with the "man" of the house. Thrilled First Sgt. daughter and single mother wasn't here to administer necessary beating. As a new regular reader, I'm overjoyed you're the polar opposite to a Kirby sales-man douche. Wiley is giving you a GIANT podium to speak from, use it as Amanda Hocking uses St. Martin. Sadly, you've got to climb the ladder yourself, grab the bull, etc., but the contract gives you this extended platform. Here's to enough cake, more than a drop of champagne and two new tires, because you can't ride around on dead unicorns. Cheers wordsmith, your ride is just beginning.... -SL Clark CEO Heart Press

paulmerrill
paulmerrill

Many congrats, Erika! I am sure that great stuff is in store for you. Good luck as you navigate the new minefields.

Simona Goldin
Simona Goldin

How interesting, I was just looking at egg donation TODAY...that's a very interesting concept, I'd love to read it. I just want to know about the emotional commitment one has to make, besides going through endless vagina doctor visits and injections(YIKES???!!!). Anyhoo. CONGRATS!!! Gotta rock it with your cock out. :)

Lara Galloway
Lara Galloway

Erika, I'm absolutely thrilled for you! Thanks for being vulnerable (while swearing the entire time) and letting us know that you're willing to TRY HARD and go after the things you love. A sincere congratulations to you on both books and the column. The stuff dreams are made of :)

Angela
Angela

Fly, Erika. FTMFW.

Peggie Arvidson
Peggie Arvidson

I'm really glad to be one of the people you write for. And I just have to say this: WHOOO HEEEE - fly baby. fly!

Chris Tucker
Chris Tucker

Huge congratulations! Enjoy every minute - the fear of failing (falling) is difficult to put down, and really never goes away. BUT the rush and energy that come from kicking the fear in the face and flying is pretty frickin' awesome:) Let the fear motivate & not paralyze - you've already won. I'm looking forward to flying again myself - it's way past due. You're a great encouragement & I don't even know you! Wishing you the very best! Congrats again:)

Jonathan Vaudreuil
Jonathan Vaudreuil

Congrats, Erika. You've earned this slice of success, now go enjoy it, make it happen, and we'll all be waiting for the next (big) thing you're putting out.

heatherrast
heatherrast

I've never had the pleasure of meeting you, Erika, but the emotion and candor you share with your readers every week make you a bestie in my quirky little head. And, my friend (there's no where you can run now), I'm so flippin' elated for you, I just got teary. Self-doubt and the push-pull tussle between confidence and humility, gumption and stupidity be damned. You've done something major here, Redhead. And all I can say is, How Freaking Awesome. Good things happen to people after all. Go live the literary life and tell us all about it. This requires a beret and a turtleneck.

Kellie J. Walker
Kellie J. Walker

Boo-f-ing-yah, Erika!! Not only will you be immortalized in print, you've already been immortalized by generously contributing to the gene pool. Here's to Erika and all the little half-Erika's of the world! (That could be champagne glasses or cake forks. Your pick.) Congrats, Erika. I'm not surprised to learn that you're as generous with your body as you are with your words. No double entendre intended. I've never been through the donation process, but I know enough to understand what a tremendous, amazing gift it is that you're giving. Hugs, love and lots of dead unicorns to you, my dear.

Mike Townsend
Mike Townsend

Wow! A double helping of awesome. I'd be thrilled for one book (or movie or comic or... fuck it, tag line on a movie poster) and you land two in one week. Now go kick some ass! Although I hope all these congratulations won't go to your head and get you to start thinking you're popular. That could really mess up the first book. Ummm... I've never been particularly fond of you. #gotyourback

Jeremy Meyers
Jeremy Meyers

Hey! Erika! You can do this. It's going to be awesome. There will be times when its gonna suck, and you're gonna think you wont be able to finish and you should just give up. And that's okay, because you can do this, and you know you can. Because you rock, and people need to read what you have to say. So, be afraid, but let the fear propel you forward to two (TWO!) books of pure Erika-awesomeness.

Aaronious
Aaronious

Excellent news. Congratulations, now get writing. hahaha

D.T. Pennington
D.T. Pennington

Major congratulations are due to you, m'dear. I guess if you can do it, than any of us can, and I really need to get off my ass.

Rick Copper
Rick Copper

sweet sweet news. you'll rock them, no doubt.

amycesario
amycesario

I am thrilled for you! Congratulations Erika!

Ian Gertler
Ian Gertler

Just two? Come on ... if you cut out sleeping and eating, I'm sure you can knock out one more book. ;-) Congratulations, Erika ... on the list of "favorite redheads."

TheDudeDean
TheDudeDean

Congrats, glad to hear the good news! :-D

Dawn
Dawn

Congratulations, Erika!

Nicole(Willis)Boyce
Nicole(Willis)Boyce

Fly! Fly! FLY! Thank you for such an insightful and beautiful post and baring of your self! More fuel for me to just fly...one time! Thank you for being so inspiring for me today!

Sara Rosso
Sara Rosso

Congrats - I like the premise of your unpopular book and look forward to reading it. I also sympathize with your success = scared skepticism, at least initially. Those moments of doubt are part of our continuous self-examination and trepidation that accompanies reaching for more (how high can we fly? and then fall?) But you power through, and say, Yep, I deserve it...now back to the hard work that got me here.

Killian
Killian

Kudos! Having gone through the egg donation process myself, I look forward to reading your book. If you were closer, I'd deliver some celebratory cupcakes!

Autumn Thompson
Autumn Thompson

Congratulations! You should be very proud and tell everyone! It is people like you, who dare to chase after the dream, who keep people like me, nervous to do it because of failure, going. I've just recently stepped out to do what I've always dreamed to do. Hell, I even got me a fancy degree! Now, it's time to show what I'm made of. I thank you for paving the way.

The Redhead
The Redhead

People like you are why I write - meeting you last week when you helped out with our book drive was the highlight of my day. It's not just about writing. For me, it's the people behind the words. A real treat, indeed. Can't wait to see pics of "how the garden grows!"

MegCarpen
MegCarpen

Congratulations Erika! Fly lady fly!

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