Well, it’s been made official. My book is finally published. It’s taken four years; a lot of time, a lot of laboring and waiting and patience and tears and excitement and panic. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions and thoughts. I certainly could not have done it without my husband. He put as much time into the technical as I did on the creative. Self-publishing has its benefits but be ready to put in a good amount of time and effort, do your research, look at others who’ve done it and learn from their mistakes.
Being self-published it’s not a perfect work. As a matter of fact I found a misprint in the published copy after I ordered 50 books but, hey, I’ve found typos and mistakes in professionally published books so it is bound to happen. This is where I have to bind and gag that task-mastering perfectionist and not allow her to freak out about it.
It’s a little unnerving to put yourself out there creatively, open to the criticisms of the public, even with a fiction novel. When I was younger, poetry was my creative outlet. Poetry to me was intensely personal; it was my inner self poured out into words on paper, my deepest thoughts and fears and emotions manifested into logos. And I was extremely cautious as to whom I let into those places. Not just ANYONE could read those poems. Not just ANYONE would understand. Not just ANYONE was allowed to look past the curtain and into the great beyond. I was always very discerning as to who was allowed to have access to those truths.
And here it is, a book that I’ve written now published, available to anyone who so chooses to pick it up and read it. Yes, it may be fictional, but it is still hugely personal for me on many levels. I wrote it. I spent 4 years of my life pouring myself into this story and these characters, and yes, as a fiction writer you DO put pieces of yourself into it somehow, someway. Maybe some piece of your personality becomes part of a character, you make your own personal experiences one of theirs, some part of your heart and mind and life does wind up in there, so in a sense it is still poetic, it is still you in there somewhere.
There’s also the story itself. It’s not a typical story. My husband asked me when I first started writing this book, “So, how would you categorize it?” I said, “Babe, I don’t think a book like this has been written.” (No, I haven’t read every book in existence, but this was how I felt about the story.) After he read it, he agreed with me. The entire time I wrote that book, I was thrilled about the story and couldn’t wait for it to be published. That being said, when it came time to put it out there, I would wake up in the middle of the night in panic about the story and the plot to the point where the thoughts came to just cancel the whole thing and not publish it (the enemy loves to come in like a thief in the night to steal your sleep and peace).
I got worked up into an anxious lather about all the ways people would pick it apart and hate it, that people who supported me would be disappointed once they read it. I started to believe that I was going to let people down. Thank You Jesus for the people in my life who reminded me that this was all inspired by God and it has a purpose and that these were just lies of the enemy because he knows that this story is going to touch SOMEONE, somewhere, sometime.
Is it a perfect work? Nope. Is it purposeful? Yes. And the only person that I have to be accountable to is God. I know that not everyone will love it, some may even hate it, and that’s okay. God will take it where it needs to go and His purpose will play out for a greater good. It’s not about me. Yes, I am ecstatic and grateful that He made my lifelong dream of being a published author come true and I will enjoy all that goes with that. I have my first book signing this Saturday and while I am a little nervous, I am excited and I have so many people around me who are excited for me. But it’s more than that. It’s an opportunity to share the love and truths of God in another way. And THAT’S what matters.
All for His glory, not mine.