Recovering from Shame

As I mentioned in my last post, sales figures for my book SHAME were so weak that my publisher agreed to sell me back the publication rights. That book was (is) deeply important to me, and I had so much invested in its success, that its relative “failure” was a profound shame experience for me. In the book, I talk about one type of shame as “Disappointed Expectation” and another as “Unwanted Exposure.” The book’s poor sales figures felt to me like both; the shame I felt left me for a long time in a state of mild depression.

The re-acquisition of the right to publish has helped me to recover and I feel newly energized. I also feel that I’ve regained my feelings of pride in the book I wrote. It’s a very good book, a distillation of everything I’ve learned over the course of my career, and it deserves a wider audience. Part of the problem, I believe, was the wrong title and a scary cover. “SHAME” sounds serious, but the subtitle makes it seem less so, more like any other shallow self-help book. I chose neither one. I liked the cover at first but have since grown to see it as intimidating and off-putting; I selected yellow for the cover and I’ll take responsibility for that wrong choice.

The new title is much better and more accurate: my book is about how learning from our encounters with shame often teaches us something useful about ourselves and offers an opportunity to grow. I’m cautiously optimistic that it will do better than SHAME did.

As part of its launch, I’m offering the digital version for $.99 on Amazon through the end of May, then its price will rise to $9.99 — what I charge for Why Do I Do That? Feel free to download the discount copy and, if you are so moved, leave me an honest review on Amazon. Most people have no idea how important reviews are for inspiring confidence in prospective readers. Why Do I Do That? has more than 270 4 or 5 star reviews and for that reason, it continues to garner a new audience.

Meanwhile, I’m nearing the end of my fantasy novel Vacillian and will be releasing it in four parts over the next few months. I’m as proud of that work of fiction as I am of the newly re-titled Building Self Esteem, available for purchase by clicking on the link below.

Building Self-Esteem: How Learning from Shame Helps Us to Grow

By Joseph Burgo

Joe is the author and the owner of, one of the leading online mental health resources on the internet. Be sure to connect with him on Google+ and Linkedin.

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