It was at that moment when I realized being a published author was more than being a writer.
Eight years ago today, my debut novel hit the shelves.
To say I was elated would be an understatement. I’d spent eight years writing and rewriting and writing my novel. And another five years waiting and waiting and waiting to see my book on the shelves.
Well, on June 11, 2013, that day came to be!
As my soul swelled with joy in seeing my dream become reality, another dose of reality hit: Writing is just the beginning.
Writing turned from a passion to a business that I hadn’t signed up for. It was as if I went into retail. I was a salesperson, a marketing professional. Granted, I knew having a book published was more than that. But, the idea of talking about my book for the purpose of seeing numbers rise didn’t sit well with me. If someone purchased my book or wanted me to be on their platform out of genuine interest, then so be it.
Now don’t get me wrong, I loved talking about my work. Loved talking about the craft of writing. I could do both all day every day. What I didn’t want to do was lead with that. If in conversation it came up that I had a book, great. If not, great.
People told me all the time (and still do): “If you don’t talk about it, how will people know?” “You need to post about your book as much as people post their baby’s pictures.” “Who cares what anyone thinks. It’s your page/feed, post whatever you want.”
The comments kept coming, and I kept retreating.
Being a salesperson wasn’t at all who I was. I was a writer.
As the days, weeks, and months passed, my pen moved less and less and less across the page. I told less stories. I talked less with characters, and visited their worlds less. My pen moved across the page to sign books, but I wasn’t writing new stories to later sign.
How did something I loved doing turn into something I could no longer find the motivation to do?
Though my publisher didn’t apply pressure to sell, I knew it was expected. I knew there were goals to meet, expectations to exceed. No one had to say anything for that pressure to exist in my own mind. It was such a burden that it stagnated me.
(Books given away to promote interest and sales.)
The second novel for my two-book deal had already been written by the time my first book hit the shelves, so there was no pressure in that regard. However, it would take years before I’d write another novel. Years of releasing self-doubt and second-guessing my decisions. Years of learning how to separate my love of writing from what came after. Years of choosing everything else except the stories begging to be told. Years of deciding not to let defeat and frustration deter me. Years of saying no because I was afraid of saying yes.
Yes to the pen.
Yes to the stories.
Yes to the characters.
Yes to that burning desire in my soul.
Yes to me.
I’m happy to say, that I am writing again. My third novel is completed and will be on submissions starting next week. And as of today, I have began talking about my work again on my social feeds. It’s a way of owning my journey–my experience–and celebrating how far I’ve come. Becoming published was a dream that became reality. I have to honor that.
I am now focusing only on telling the stories while not letting fear of what comes after steal my joy.
In celebration of my debut bookversary, enjoy these pics of me and my books around town.