My Book, One Year Later
By Samuel Moore-Sobel
One year ago, I published my book, Can You See My Scars?
The timing wasn’t great. My book launch coincided with a global pandemic, rendering null and void most of the plans I had made for the launch of my long-awaited book.
Despite the obstacles, I remained undeterred. After all, the greatest obstacle of my life was written in the book I was about to release. One of the great gifts of experience is knowing that adversity is not the end. In many cases, adversity is the beginning.
I could look back at the accident that left me with second- and third-degree burns, and draw strength from the fact that I had survived that challenging experience, when now I faced another challenge: releasing a book with no marketing budget, a mailing list of just a few hundred people, and a book launch date in the midst of a pandemic.
The launch got off to a rocky start. The purchase link for my book on my publisher’s website was giving customers an error. My first customers (finally, someone was going to buy my book) were rejected due to a website error.
My wife and I thought on our feet and came up with a quick fix. We setup a Squarespace site, allowing people to purchase books directly from me. This gave me a chance to autograph copies and ship them to customers throughout the country. It wasn’t the original plan—but it worked and netted more sales than I expected.
Next, I contacted newspapers, magazines, podcast hosts, and anyone else I could think of to try to get the word out about my book. So far, my book has been featured in six newspapers and magazines, and I’ve been interviewed on more than a dozen podcasts. I’ve enjoyed every interview and have been amazed at how each one dissects and reveals another aspect of my story. No two interviews are alike.
Launching the book from my home was also not in the original plan, but it worked out. It meant that I could speak with groups across the country via Zoom about my book. I have met amazing people by talking with rotary clubs, faith groups, burn survivors, students, and business leaders. I have been encouraged and inspired by hearing the stories of others along the way.
My experience over the last year has only confirmed what I learned through the accident—that we all have scars, both visible and invisible, and that we can use our scars to change the world, one story at a time.
People often ask me what I’ve learned about book publishing. Knowing what I know now, I would have done some things differently. I would have self-published my memoir, rather than securing a publisher. I would have invested less money in this project up front, so that I didn’t feel as much pressure to make back my initial investment through book sales. I’d also have invested more time in building a platform and collecting more followers in advance of my book’s publication.
In the end, I’m grateful for how everything has turned out, and for all the support I have received. This project was never about earning money or building a “name” for myself—it is about making a difference. It is about redeeming my story and transforming it from an accident that never should have happened, into a tool for others as they face adversity in their own lives. I feel that I’ve done that, at least on a small scale. In large part, this is due to a supportive readership like you, and people who are willing to take a chance on reading my book. For that, I thank you.
To any one of you who may be thinking about taking a chance, I hope my story encourages you. Whether it’s launching a book, changing careers, or just making a change, you don’t have to have everything figured out.
Much of life is experimentation to find out what does and doesn’t work. Success requires adjusting course when necessary, and learning hard but important lessons through failure. Success is never assured, but neither is failure. Sometimes it’s worth taking a risk, even if the stars aren’t completely aligned.