Is it Fall yet? Sorry, it’s just that we’ve had such a wet summer here in upstate New York with mild temps throughout and it is totally giving me fall vibes without technically being fall. Every weekend for the past couple weeks, my hubby stands outside and says, “What beautiful Fall weather,” so you know it’s not just hopeful thinking on my end.
With the weather being cooler here, I’ve jumped right back into my obsession with chai tea lattes again. For the time being I’ve just been drinking whatever leftovers I have in my drawer but I am on the hunt for a new yummy brand to try so let me know if there’s one you recommend.
This past month not only held the completion of my interconnected new adult Creekwood series with the release of Marc’s book, Blind Spot, but the 16th was also the one year anniversary of the official start to my self-publishing career. When I published Detour I had no idea what the future held. I can honestly say it’s been a bumpy ride full of twists and turns, highs and lows. My first book series was aptly named: Detour, Changing Lanes, and definitely a Blind Spot or two.
I said it in the acknowledgement section of my second novel, Changing Lanes, but self-publishing in romance feels eerily similar to showing up to the high school lunchroom as a freshman. Seats you thought would be open to you are suddenly filled as you walk past, overly animated chatter stops abruptly at some sections while there’s that awkward cricket-like silence in others. You don’t exactly know where you fit in, just that you do…somewhere. You know it in your heart but don’t know how to convey that to others without making a fool of yourself. While writing is a mostly solitary endeavor and i’m also extremely introverted as it is, i felt myself clam up even more this past year. Much like most of my childhood, i felt like an outcast. Which maybe wasn’t the worst thing. First, that’s a role i’m wholly familiar with. One i’ve acclimated to and feel i work well in. Second, it allowed me to watch. One of the best and most effective ways I learn personally is by watching. Also through experience and by making mistakes. Boy, did I make a lot of those along the way.
I’m not really talking this whole thing up here, am I? Like, why did I continue to release books after that first one? Because it wasn’t all bad. Not by a long shot. Just like that first lunchtime at high school, there are also surprising connections made, ones you never could’ve imagined. People you didn’t expect to open up a seat beside them, do and then you’re so overcome with relief and gratitude that you do it yourself for the next newbie that comes along. I’ve made some great connections—both personally and professionally—this past year while simultaneously letting go of others. I’ve self-published three beautiful books that I’m incredibly proud of. I have more stories asking to be written than I know what to do with. I showed my three children what hard work, a no-quit attitude, and an independent mindset looks like by actually exhibiting it in real time, not just preaching. I also earned some orange banners on Amazon for two of my three books. I got my debut book, Detour, into a real bookstore. I’m currently writing my fifth book with plans to self-publish my fourth soon.
I learned how to do…well, be a self-published author. There’s so, so much that goes into this gig than people realize, than I realized. Selling books is a business and even though i’d been running my own small business of making and selling bookmarks for two years before I decided to self-publish, it was an undertaking I had no idea how to tackle. But I learned. I learned and I’m still learning every single day. Out of one of the worst years (I’m looking at you 2020) came one of the best tools: webinars. Holy shit, I love me some webinars. Those and YouTube tutorials. Whoever thinks to film themselves doing things they probably find meaningless and easy then post it online…I love them. They are how I learned almost every step in this never-ending journey. There were times where i was tuning into webinars or tutorials almost daily, soaking up every detail of how to do things I had literally no clue how to do. Things like make a website from scratch. Or make teaser graphics. How to write and send a newsletter. My God, I didn’t know anything a year ago compared to now and the thing that gets me most excited about that fact, is thinking about how much more I’ll know next year, and the year after that, because in this business, you can’t get complacent. There’s always something else for you to learn, to improve on.
I also learned each book i put out is a commitment. One you can’t halfass. And that’s forced me to really put my all in to each release which has both pros and cons. For me being so introverted, it’s a huge change to be out there, pushing my product so publicly. It’s also difficult for me to ask for, *gulp*, help. But authors need it. Authors need a community, even if it’s tiny—like mine. It really helps to have someone willing to give you a hand when you need it most. Thankfully I found a few helpful friends and colleagues that have stepped up for me this past year. It also shows you what you’re capable of though.
In addition to all this, I’ve learned a lot about myself since last July, too. I surprised myself by not only taking on but also completing tasks that frankly used to scare the shit out of me. I’ve gone outside of my comfort zone over and over and over again to the point that I had to just move the whole damn thing. What used to terrify me just doesn’t anymore. Other, bigger things scare me now, but I have enough faith in myself that I actually think I have a chance now that maybe i didn’t use to. The confidence I carry for myself might just be the my favorite thing that’s come out of this so far. As a wife and stay at home mother for so long, i think i lost sight of that. I didn’t identify as myself anymore, and i’ve got that back. I’m me, a better, new, improved me, and I’m proud of me.
This post turned into something completely different than i planned on writing today but that’s kinda how I roll writing anyway. Part plotter, part panster through and through.
Anyway, if you are considering self publishing i have no idea if this blog post was helpful in any way, but i will tell you, you’re capable of more than you know. I promise. So if you want something, especially getting your book into readers’ hands that might need to read your words, go for it. Just be sure you’re ready to put in the work, because it’s an uphilll climb from here. Best of luck and let me know when you’ll be arriving to the cafeteria for lunch. I’ll be sure to save you a seat.
Happy November! Did the time change mess you up? This month’s blog is going to be a quick one because I’m knee deep in editing . . .
Happy Sunday but also, Happy October! Honestly, I don’t know where September went and I swear I was paying close attention too. One of the . . .