A year ago I saw one of my life long dreams realized. I published my first children’s book. You have to understand that for a girl who lived her life in books this was a significant moment for me. The day when I saw the first pages of my story on a computer screen – I almost jumped out of my skin. The day when I opened up the big brown envelope and held my first test print copy in my hand – pretty amazing. The day when I had to drive to the airport and pick up my first shipment of boxes – pretty incredible. The day opening those boxes in my living room and smelling the new smell of books and realizing that it was my book – nothing was more exciting to me at that moment. All those days combined were pretty much awesome.
I self-published my book. I borrowed some money and I hired the most talented guy I know and I just went for it. It’s hard to break into the market, I’ve been trying for many years. I’ve had a few articles published but when it came to my book the rejection letters were flowing. (And they still do as I look for a publisher for my 2nd) But I didn’t want to wait anymore, I was afraid my dream would die if I didn’t do anything about it. I have no desire to live a life of unfulfilled wishes. So in my usual fashion of spontaneous living without much planning, I decided I needed to do something about it myself.
I’m not sure where I thought I would be a year later. In the early days, I sent out ALOT of books to some high profile people and publishing companies. It was actually pretty embarrassing to go to the post office with an envelope addressed to Oprah Winfrey. (I’m seriously embarrassed just writing that!) I’ve secretly convinced myself it likely takes her a year to get through her mail. I got a few nice cards and responses that really encouraged me and kept me going. But I also got a few people that sent the book back and made my heart pain a little.
But, I’m older now. Rejection doesn’t paralyze me like it would have a few years ago. Just because you don’t like my book, doesn’t mean you hate my guts. I can take it. (Usually. Most of the time.)
I have learned so much in this process. I am smarter and wiser than I was a year ago.
I didn’t know a year ago that…
- SELF-PROMOTION is hard. I feel like likely most people are sick about hearing about Tini and her Tangles. I mean really, do you care about Rickety Rackety hair drama any more? I hate being a promoter of myself. It is not comfortable for me. But I’m all I’ve got right now. I’m my own publicist, agent and promoter. I even asked my friends to change their names and review my book online (especially the ones that share my last name!) But if I don’t do it, who will? I know I have been un-friended and un-followed, for sure un-subscribed. But I can’t let that get to me. Those who truly love me give me the support I need, they know my heart.
- SUCCESS doesn’t happen overnight. My end game isn’t even success. (based on my own definition) I felt success that first time I sat in a classroom and got to read my story to some children. But regardless of your definition of success, it comes after a lot of hard work. That is what I have learned, this is all hard work. I’m not afraid of it or being whiny, but it’s still hard. Sometimes you don’t want to drive 2 hours on your own expense to sit in a bookstore where you might just sell 3 books. But you have to get our there. No one knows about you if you sit in your basement all day watching British TV. (Not that I ever do that. Much. Someone call the midwife.)
- LIVING an unwritten adventure is the best thing in the world. I love sending big envelopes out in the mail and wondering if I will get a response. I love going into a school with my giant easel and book cover and pulling out my sparkly hair brush. I love that the days ahead are still full of promise and possibility and that you just never know what will happen. You never know when that one giant amazing door will open. But you have to love walking through all the smaller doors on your way. Because that means you are going somewhere. You need to value and appreciate ALL the doors on the journey.
- NAMING your blog something and exciting means more people will read it. That’s not really a huge life lesson, but something I picked up this year. My blog about an inspiring royalty cheque was my biggest because people thought I made a million dollars, and likely felt fooled as they read about my less than a dollar payday. You might call that sneaky, I call that satisfying reader stats. I might name this blog, OPRAH just called my house. Hmmm….
One year in.
Just as excited for the year ahead.
Chapters get better, the more you live.