Just a few months ago I made the “novel” decision to self-publish. I had little knowledge but plenty of enthusiasm to seek and understand my path to sharing my first narrative tale with the reading world. Early on, the trail was fraught with oil slicks, avalanches, and a maze of bat-infested caves that went nowhere. I researched and documented my detailed findings like an archaeologist searching for remnants of a lost society. I sifted through every fistful of dry dirt hoping to find a nugget that would provide insight and lead me to the next clue or piece of information. I was building a mountain of data, mining it with relentless vigor and laser focus.
The hard work has paid off on in two very important ways. At a grass-roots level, I get the whole “indie author” movement, the seismic shifts in the publishing industry, and what has spawned a new wave of writers to take the reins of their creation and usher it through each stage of the writing/editing/publishing/promotion process. I’ve developed a part of my brain that thinks like a literary marketer. It wasn’t my goal when I wrote the first chapter of Book One, but I’ve always been open to learning new things, especially if they connect to my objective – sharing my story with readers.
Yes, sharing my story with readers. I say and write it again to try to simulate a normal reaction, like breathing. The aforementioned “hard work” has allowed me to focus on marketing strategy, target audience, creating and tracking a detailed project plan, perusing mounds of research to develop said plans, and countless other tasks I never dreamed of. In other words, I’ve kept myself so busy I’ve been able to mostly avoid thinking about coming out of the closet – taking off every stitch of clothing and baring it all to the reading world. Actually, as the release date has drawn closer, a plethora of “what-if” scenarios have darted through my skull, especially when I attempt to sleep. Some run-away thoughts have morphed into bizarre dreams (think paranormal experience in a real world kind of way).
Now, the release date is here. Almost. I’m still feverishly pounding the keyboard writing guest blog posts, completing questions for interviews, and building a contingent of loyal friends and followers. But, the silent stage awaits. I stand off to the side, staring at a two-story curtain gently swaying. I take steps towards the center of the stage, the heels of my shoes echoing off the hollow wood floor. My mind wonders what might be on the other side. Should I have made this change to the book, or edited out this part? It’s done. I did my best. I put my heart and soul into it. I’ve prepared for the worst, now I hope for and envision the best. People reading my book, experiencing a range of emotions, then writing a review. Hopefully a good one. No, a great one.
I clear out my lungs with a final deep, calming breath and look forward. Not down. Ahead. Upward. And I recall what it was like to create my first novel. Writing is like oxygen for my soul.
Or something like that.