And yet, here we are. Last night I did an interview with a lovely college student I’ve come to adore and she was asking me all about self-publishing. She stopped herself at one point and said, “You know, I haven’t asked the most important question, what has been the coolest part of being a self-published author?”
I sat there, in my writing room, surrounded by giant sticky notes filled with the third book’s plot points, with boxes of books and bubble mailers lining the walls, staring at the Bound by Duty poster everyone at my first launch party signed in metallic silver and bronze Sharpie, and a dozen thoughts flitted through my head.
I could tell her it was being on USA Today’s website.
Or that I’ve sold books to 10,000 complete strangers.
Or that I get all of these amazing tweets, Facebook messages, emails and gorgeous Instagram photos.
And then I realized I should probably tell her the truth.
What I said, as I spoke the words in one hurried breath, worried about the connotation of what I was going to say even as I said it, was, “There are so many amazing things that have happened to me over the course of the last nine months, but to be honest, I get about 17 seconds to enjoy any one of them before I have to move on to the next thing on my list, or go back to my full-time job, or do my grad school homework, or turn off my phone notifications so that I can be present with my husband.”
Those words make me feel like a jerk. They make me feel like you might think that I don’t grin like a loon every time you tell me you loved my stories, that you laughed out loud at Bethany’s antics or cried as I broke both of our hearts because the Muse made me. But I do. I giggle at all of your exclamation marks and your demands for more of my story and more of this world Amelia lives in. I spin in my chair with my fists in the air when I read your reviews and I gush over the photos you’ve posted. I do not take a single one of these for granted.
But, I want to be real with you guys, because a lot of you talk to me about wanting to self-publish. You want to know how I did it and what it takes and how you can do it, too. And, to be really, really, real…it takes a hell of a lot of work. It takes a lot of coffee, some tears, saying no when you want to say yes and days that never end. It’s emailing yourself to-do lists because if you don’t do it now you won’t remember to do it later. It’s realizing you’ve emailed a blog for a review opportunity only to realize one of their bloggers is an amazing woman who’s already written you two reviews and you just didn’t connect the dots. It’s being part of a dozen Facebook groups trying to sort out the next marketing trend, or genre buzz, or way to make yourself relevant amidst the glut of content on Amazon. It’s checking your KDP rankings constantly and stalking GoodReads reviews even though you tell yourself people there can be mean and forget you’re a human with a heart who put it on a page.
This job is not for the faint of heart, but it is worth it. Because of all of you. I would write these stories even if no one read them, but having you be part of this world is what keeps me going. Your interactions with me drive my dedication, my passion and my will to be better and be more. For you.
So, I hope you take this for what it was, which was an admission that I am human and some days this is hard. But, if chasing dreams was easy, everyone would do it and I’ve never wanted to be like everyone else.