There was so much to this journey and so much to tell that i thought to make it easier for myself and more reader friendly for you i would cut it down into the 10 major events that brought me to this point. (not the end by any means because let's be honest... i'm just at the beginning of this journey.)
1. Microsoft Word - Blank Document: it sounds simple. its something we've all pulled up on our computer a million times but this first step was extremely challenging. to pull up that document telling myself, "i'm going to write a book" and then to acutally stick with it has been a huge accomplishment in my life as i'm sure many of you can relate to. its easy to have ideas, dreams and hopes for writing a book. but to actually type those first words, and then the hundredth word, and then the five thousandth word... it's huge, its life chaning, its officially a journey.
2. Seen by a Second Set of Eyes: okay, this sounds weird but i absolutely would not let another soul read my manuscript for the longest time. this included the most important person in my life (not to mention the kindest and least judgemental person in my life) my husband. i have to give him credit though, he was very patient with me through the year and a half that i was off writing this mystery book without letting him have so much as a peek. why was i so nervous to let anyone else read it? maybe because having someone else read your work is like giving them a magnifying glass into your soul. it's like laying your diary open on the cafeteria table at school and letting the boy you like have a good read before fourth period. its like showing someone a mole on your back and asking them to give you their "honest" opinion. and if they hesitate or pause for even nano-second you know that they truthfully think its the absolutely most horrible mole they've ever seen in their whole life but they just don't know how to tell you it. anything you write is personal. anything you write is a part of you. and when you share that with others you have to let go of your dignity, your pride and lay it all out there to be scrutinized.
the first person that i ever let read a portion of my book was my sister. she let me read something she was writing so i had to let her read mine - which at the time was a whopping 7 pages. she was perfect at praising me. whether or not it was a true assessment i'll never know, but her high apraisal left me leaping into the next two hundred and fifty pages. i'd like to say that if she would have hated it, torn it apart, marked it all up with a fine point red pen that i still would have finished it. but i honestly don't know. her reaction was vital to my journey. i later came to hate those first seven pages so much that i deleted them altogether. so i thank my sister today for faking it well.
3. Submitting My Soul to a Publisher: one day i woke up and thought, i've worked on this book for a long time, its not quite finished but its close, and i just have to see what can come of it. so what did i do? i pulled up google. i typed some words into the search field - probably something as simple as "publishers" and picked two at random. okay, thats not completely accurate. there was one that i was quite a bit more impressed with. it was called tate publishing and when i clicked on the link a video of a past miss america came up endorsing their company. i was impressd by that. if miss america says they're good, then they got to be good... right? maybe. maybe not. but i was willing to find out. so i sent them my info and a sample chapter and i then i hit the submit button.
|signing my contract with tate publishing|
5. The Editing Process: i have to take in a deep sigh when i think of that time. it was grueling and time consuming and oh! so invigorating! to have an actual professional editor (who i LOVED by the way) read my book and give it some good solid criticism was the most energizing experience... it made me come alive. and it made me realize that it is okay to be critizised. more than that... it is vital. the book i wrote before my editor read it and the final product that you can purchase today are two different books. her suggestions, questions and down right deletions made the book SO much better than what it was before. and i thank her for that.
6. The Final Product: after my editor gave her suggestions i had about a month to mold it into the final product. the product that was going to be released to the masses, to whoever wanted to read it. and that was a scary realization. of course i wanted it to be perfect. but that is impossible. a novel is much to abstract to ever be made perfect. so i worked and worked and worked (and worked) up until the very last possible minute and then i emailed the last and final copy to my editor. talk about the hardest and most liberating point of the journey all wrapped into one!
7. Waiting: after all that work and pushing deadlines what did i have to do next? wait. i had to wait for the cover to be made (i had a say but i didn't design it so no work was required on my part), i had to wait for the layout ( i had to approve it but again, no work just waiting), then i had to wait for the final product to be put together, then i had to wait for it to be available to purchase and at that point i realized that waiting wasn't all that bad.
8. Availabe For Purchase: i wasn't prepared for this moment at all. i was under the impression that i still had a good three months before it would be released (which was true) but i didn't know that it would be availabe to purchase from my publisher much earlier and it was my responsibility to get the word out to my family and friends (what, no billboard on the side of the freeway? darn.) i know i've said this with every step so far but THIS was (and still is) by far the most difficult part of the process. to actually reach my neck out and ask people to please buy my book. to spend their hard earned cash on words that matriculated from my imagination and then to know that those words actually were being read! by high school friends, cousins, strangers, best friends, old friends, new friends, old boyfriends, my husband, my mom... it was scary. what would they think? what would they say? how would they react? and then about three weeks in i realized, it doesn't matter. every book that was ever written in the history of mankind has been loved by some and hated by others. my book is no different. it will be loved and hated. finished by some and put down after the third page by others. i'll have good reviews and i'll have bad reviews. and the fact of the matter is, that's just fine. i wrote a book. the book is finished, is published, is being read... by strangers. i have accomplished something. and that is what matters.
9. Keeping Up the Writing: just because my book was getting published didn't mean i was done writing. but there were a lot of challenges. finding time was one challenge but an even bigger challenge was dealing with discouragement. the hardest brain freeze to break through was the will to keep writing after getting a negative review on my book. to keep using my time to work toward a goal after having days where i think "i'm not a writer... this isn't going to work." but i keep plowing through, if for no the reason than to indulge in some personal entertainment. i love to write and no matter how many wonderful or negative reviews i get i have to keep typing one word after another.
10. The Official Release Date: well, that's today. and today is when all the "real" marketing takes place by my publishing company. which means more waiting and more wondering where this journey will take me. i'll let you know how it goes...