*Vulnerability Alert: Why I put a book out with no fanfare.

Some of you remember last years book launch. It was a fun and grand affair- including a blog tour, reviews set up in advance, giveaways, social media promotion, and an awesome release party. Everything you are supposed to have for a book release.

And don’t get me wrong . . . it was incredible, a dream come true.

BUT, I learned some hard truths about myself over the past year. After struggling for months with sickness and anxiety, I turned inward and went to therapy. It was there I learned my tendency for perfectionism, my need to “over achieve.” My dependence on the rules and “being my best self.” But I finally understood the root of it.

I was terrified of giving off the perception of half-assing something.

Here’s where I get uncomfortably honest. I wanted you and everyone around me to be impressed with my ability to go above and beyond. And please don’t misunderstand. I adored cooking all of the Italian food for the party, hand-making the bath-bombs, bookmarks, and postcards for the gift bags. My problem was that I was over achieving and doing that kind of thing in everything in my life- not just a one time book launch or party.

Brene Brown

I think it took making myself sick with anxiety for months before I began to understand that life is not healthy, or sustainable.

But how was I supposed to turn my life around after 36 years of living this way? I decided to take one step, in one area of my life, and give it a test run.

My next book.

What would it look like to write a book and publish it, simply for the sake of creating and loving it? What would it look like if I published The Lost Door without all the hoopla and promotion and stuff you are supposed to do as an author. What if I just put it out there for the world, and not do it perfectly? What would other authors think? What if it didn’t impress anyone? What if it didn’t sell? Would the world end?

Guess what, it didn’t.

In fact, it was incredibly freeing to let go of the expectations of a book launch. So much pressure is put on the first 24 hours on Amazon, preorders, reviews, etc. It was lovely to not care. Y’all, the book has sold 15 copies. 15. Three or four months ago, that may have depressed me, or worse, it may have crushed my desire to write. But I made the decision I didn’t write this book to sell 1,000 in the first month. I wrote this book because I LOVE to write, it brings me real joy, plus I’m a bit obsessed with this story.

So, the question is, what does life look like going forward? What did this test prove? Will I completely let go of my perfectionism? Probably not. BUT, I will choose where to unleash it more carefully. I will be selective, and over-achieve on the things in life that truly bring me joy. Because truthfully,Β  I love digging in and throwing everything I have into something, and the satisfaction of a job perfectly done. That is just part of who I am. However, I will no longer strive for perfection in all areas for the sake of the perception of others. And I will be more mindful to filter my motives in projects.

I learned a lot through this. We don’t need to do anything because others say we should. Or even because those who were successful before us told us to. Sometimes we just need permission to do it our own way, in a way that is healthy for us.

So if you’re out there, and you are feeling over-whelmed with life, I give you permission to stop take a breath, and relax. You don’t have to do it perfectly. No one will think less of you, and if they do, then they aren’t worth being in your tribe to begin with. I am honored to be surrounded with friends and family that support my new “half assed while smiling is better than being full assed while curled up in a ball crying” motto.

My guess is that your loved ones will too.

Thank you to everyone who has been supportive of me over the last few months. So many bloggers, authors, reviewers, and friends have given me grace and patience through this process. And thank you guys for listening. I seriously love you all.

Steen

 

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Sequel Update.

Hey everyone! Sorry, it’s been a while since my last blog. I had mono for a couple of months and tried my best to rest, allowing my mind and body to heal. But now I’m back at it and ready to continue working on the sequel.

So, here is the update. My manuscript is finished and currently with my new editor! Once she gets her edits back to me, I’ll do some re-writing and send it back to her for a final look over.

My cover art is also with my new graphic designer and she is working on digitizing the cover. So that is also out of my hands for now.

So what am I doing???

I’m working on putting together my marketing plan and promo materials. I’m compiling lists of potential ideas, blog tour options, blogging schedule, etc. So if you are interested in being a part of the blog tour, or promo in any way, please let me know! I will keep you updated on opportunities to help, giveaways, and discounts here, so keep a look out.

As far as a time frame goes, I would LOVE to put the sequel out in December, but I’m still unsure if we can make these dates work. It just depends on editing timing, etc. But, this is the goal!

Tentative dates:

November 1st: Cover Reveal

November 14th: Presale

December 5th: Sequel goes on sale!

December 5th – December 12th: Blog Tour

Thank you guys for all of your support and encouragement! I can’t wait for you to see what is in store for Eden and Gabby.

 

I have made a decision!

I’m so fortunate to have people in my life who are willing to answer questions and have conversations with me that loop around and around in circles. I am so grateful the people around me are so patient.

I spoke with several author friends this past week, some of which are self published and still working hard to find their groove, and some who are a published through traditional publishers ,and still working hard to keep their groove.

I think the important thing to notice is no matter what avenue you take, you have to work hard. The good news, is that I am willing and ready to do that.

So that being said, I have decided to self publish The Door Keeper so I don’t lose momentum.

The good news is there will be no lapse of time the book isn’t for sale on Amazon. I’ve already uploaded it to Kindle and Kindle Unlimited and this week will transfer the paperback to Createspace. (Who was already printing the book.) If anything, the only difference you should see is the price decreasing a bit. (With no middle man, you save money!)

For the sequel, I will most likely attempt to sign with an agent and try to sell it to a traditional publisher once it’s completed. But I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

Thank you all SO much for your support and kind words about The Door Keeper. I hope you continue to buy it, read it, and recommend it to your friends. πŸ™‚ Thank you specifically to Bonnie Clark, Melanie Dale, Jennifer Blaske, and Jennifer Schuchmann for listening to my rambling and speaking wisdom and truth into my situation.

You can continue to buy the book HERE, and it is now available on Kindle Unlimited. Thanks again, and if you’ve read the book and haven’t left a review yet, don’t forget to do that.

I’m so excited to move forward in this direction! Cheers to the many possibilities. *clinking coffee mugs

If at first you don’t succeed…

I’ve been dreading writing this post. A week has passed since I woke up to some upsetting news. My publisher, Royal James Publishing, closed it’s doors last Tuesday.

After being available for purchase for 2 months, The Door Keeper will be pulled from Amazon and Barnes and Noble effective immediately. The good news is that the publisher was very happy with TDK and how it was selling. Her decision to close had more to do with how the overall business was doing. But still, a big time bummer.

So, I’m back to square one. Well, not completely at square one at least. I have a beautiful cover, the writing went through a round of editing (although, I think it could use some more), I got some great reviews, the book is formatted for e-version, and all rights remain with me.

I don’t have any regrets. I knew signing with Royal James was a risk, and I have learned SO much since signing my contract. Lessons that I will absolutely use moving forward.Β It’s just difficult when you have been building momentum and suddenly have to halt everything. So the big question is, what am I going to do now? What’s my next step?

After seeking some counsel from author friends, I’ve decided to restart my search for an agent. An agent would be able to help me know where to go from here. An agent could answer the questions that I have: Do I self publish TDK and work on selling the sequel? Do I shelf it and attempt to sell the first and second together? Or do I just start over and re-sell the TDK before doing anything else with the sequel?

For friends of mine, I have about 30 copies left I can sell you from the trunk of my car. πŸ™‚ To those of you I’ve already talked to, thank you so much for your kind words and support. It means so much.

I’d love any input you guys may have for me. As in most of my short writing career, I’m in unchartered territories here…

What do y’all think? What would you do if you were in my position? How do I move forward from here?

Anxiety comes before Vulnerability.

I am normally a confident person. But something about the process of writing, editing, and publishing has brought out some interesting insecurities in me. I couldn’t nail it down, or where it was coming from, until I finally realized it. I’ve been reaching out to reviewers and trying to prepare myself for my first negative review, (because let’s be honest, it’s gonna happen,) when I figured out why I was feeling this anxiety.

Vulnerability.

Even though this is a fictitious story that takes place in some fictitious places, I put so much of myself in this story. In some weird way, I feel like I’m laid bare on these pages. And the idea that someone might not like it… or like me… makes me feel a bit anxious. But that is what happens when we create art of any kind, right? We put little pieces of our soul in our work, that is what makes it good. At least that is what I hope makes it good. πŸ™‚

I know this is a part of the process, but it’s new territory for me. Thankfully, I came across a quote on an Instagram feed.

elberthubbardtoavoidcriticism

It’s so true, and it’s a great reminder. Because we were not made to do nothing, say nothing, or be nothing. We were made to create, so we must be able to handle criticism.

I would love to hear how you guys are feeling about the things you are working on. What are you creating or doing that makes you feel vulnerable?Β Is this something that you struggle with from time to time as well?

Writing: A snapshot of my life.

One of my most favoritest things about writing, besides making up words, is re-living the moments I wrote certain scenes.

When I reread and edit my work, I don’t just read, I remember when and where I was, and how I felt when I originally wrote it.

Once The Door Keeper comes out and is out for a bit, I want to do a fun blog series telling you the stories behind writing certain scenes. Because in all honesty, writing this story was as much fun as reading it. Stephen King says that the writer should be the story’s first reader, and that is how I felt on most days. It’s interesting, sometimes I would sit down to write and would end up writing something completely different than I’d intended. The story took a direction or a turn of it’s own will, without my direction. I know it sounds weird, but it’s true. Sometimes I would be furious with myself for something I wrote…How could I do that to my character? Why would I write that?

WHY???

One time, I slammed my laptop closed because I left a chapter with a ridiculous cliff hanger and had to stop writing for the day. That’s what I do with my books when I have to stop reading. πŸ™‚

The truth is, I like being reminded of the process. No matter what happens with this book, wether it sells or not, I will always be grateful for the snapshot of my life during the time I wrote it.

Last week was intense.

Last week, I locked myself in my house, was completely anti-social, and wrote. Then I wrote some more. I spent the week creating a new world. All of the worlds that I have built/wrote up until this point have grown organically, over the course of weeks or even months. A small detail here and there, jotted down in the notes section of my phone. This one I attempted to crunch out in a couple of days to move my writing schedule along.

And man, it made my brain hurt!

The world’s history, inhabitants, science, creatures, legends & mythology, landscape & geography, and even weather patterns.

Yikes.

How does magic work in this realm? I better figure that out.

Why is it so cold? There has to be a reason.

Why does that deer have giant oak trees for antlers?

Yeah…try explaining that.

All of that being said, I love world building so much. It was a fulfilling and satisfying week of writing. The opportunity to allow my imagination to run wild and just accept whatever cockadoo thing it creates as fact, is a fantastic game.

A game I hope to keep playing for years to come.

Just a teaser…some inspiration I used for my world…

Salus