My publisher surprised me with an email mid-March: Footprints in the paddy fields has been nominated for the Popular Bookstores Readers’ Choice Awards 2011.
To be frank, I don’t know whether to give myself a hi-5 for writing a book worthy of mention or… have a pity-party.
Huh? Well, I'm one of those obsessive people who analyze things and situations AND jump into conclusions. In this case, I was thinking: maybe the book isn’t selling well and this is one way to boost sales? I know-I know-I know, people have told me I shouldn’t be so negative, so pessimistic. Even my own sister said maybe I underestimate myself?
But the opposite of that is to be presumptuous; to be over-bold and think you are good and worthy. And Lord, I’m not worthy.
Last night, after I’ve seen the Popular Bookstores Contest Form where readers must pick their top three favourite books from the ten nominated for the awards, I posted about Footprints (being nominated) on Facebook. I guess I just want some votes. Imagine what it would be like if the other nine books receive a hundred votes each and my book gets only five?
The message I’d get is: You think you can write? Think again!
I wouldn’t know where to hide my face. In case you’re wondering, no, I won’t jump down from my… er Mr. Hubby’s… rooftop. But it’ll mean I’d have to unlearn everything I know about writing and start all over again at the very bottom rung. At my age? That’s a big joke!
Then there’s this thing about being Sabahan...
But, let’s move on…
With the book being nominated, I was required to send a photo of myself. Know this: there’re fewer things I dislike more than having my own picture taken. I love being behind the camera, though! Anyway, I was given a few days to email the pic. I vacillated between asking my son, Sonny, to take a digital photo of me and going to one of those fancy wedding studios where they plaster and smoothen a 5cm-layer of cement (according to Sonny) on your face to magic away all your blemishes so you could look less like a frog and more like a princess.
I visited a few websites. I called the first one on my list. No one picked up the phone. Another studio opens only a few days in a week. I took that as a sign and coupled with the likelihood that I’d have to empty my bank account to pay for the service… I gave up.
Time was running out. Sonny was busy. I was so desperate I even considered taking self-portraits! In the end, accompanied by Meg for moral support, I walked up the dusty steps to an old photo studio in Donggongon. I showed the photographer some ‘nice’ portraits of me taken by a pro—after I was painted and blow-dried by his make-up guy.
I told the photographer my predicament... and that some readers don’t buy a writer’s book because she’s: A) unattractive B) ugly C) not pretty D) all of the above. I asked him if he could make me look nice in the pictures. He noted my home-made-up face all sweaty after the long walk from the parking lot. Bless him, he didn’t burst out laughing at my foolishness. In fact, he was very professional and patient and sympathetic.
“I’ll make you look like a businesswoman,” he said as he clicked his DSLR for the umpteenth time.
“Please make me look like a writer,” I begged.
I sent the publisher this photo:
Being nominated is a big deal and a great honour. (I share the same publisher with an astronaut. Our books came out around the same time but his hasn’t been nominated.)
Hoping to win the award is like wishing for the moon. And that’s furthest from my mind. What I want are just a few votes—okay, several votes—above zero so I won’t feel like I’m letting
So if you’ve read the book and liked it, could you please vote for it? Bless your kind heart and thank you in advance!