*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,  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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The Cover Reveal!

book-cover

I am beyond excited to finally reveal The Door Keeper‘s cover!

This beautiful work of art was hand drawn and graphically perfected by my talented friend, Meg Brim. She has worked with me in the past, designing the logo and art for my business, and there was no one I trusted more with this daunting task than her. I am simply blown away by her ability to take my crazy imagination/ideas and transform them into something so beautiful.

We wanted to take a vintage take on the cover to make the readers feel nostalgic, perhaps reminiscent of the stories you loved growing up. Meg incorporated some of the magical imagery of the story in order to convey a sense of wonder and curiosity.

I couldn’t ask for a more perfect debut novel cover.

Thank you to everyone who helped me through this process, who gave their input every time I threw another drawing in front of you. Thank you especially to Meg, for lending me and all the readers of The Door Keeper, your amazing talent.

I can’t wait to hold this in my hands!

Pre-sale date: December 23, 2016

Release date: January 23, 2017

About The Door Keeper:

Eden Saunders is a 30 year old, single mother, who has learned to accept tragedy in her life. Her mother died during childbirth and her husband was killed just a few years after their daughter was born. Eden’s existence currently revolves around raising her 10 year old daughter, Gabby. But when she is forced to open the door into her unknown lineage, Eden finds herself desiring things she has suppressed most of her adult life; adventure, love, and destiny.

In discovering where she truly came from, Eden inherits a key that opens doors to worlds beyond her imagination. The only thing stopping her from using the key is the fear of leaving her daughter behind. The Door Keeper explores the circle of mother/daughter legacies, and the bond that unites them; a bond that even death can not break.