My New Normal
I’m fully submerged! Immersed! Gasping for air and going under for the third time! I’ve missed ‘chatting’ with you – my loyal readers – via my blog, but I’m back! Drenched and exhausted, I’m finding my new normal.
Welcome, my New Friends
Welcome to my newest subscribers! It was great to meet you in the last few weeks, and I thank you for subscribing. Just so you know, I try (key word right now) to blog at least weekly, share “Wit & Wisdom” on Wednesdays and a quarterly e-newsletter called CELEBRATE. As a subscriber, all of these will be delivered directly to you by email. Enjoy! And, remember – your feedback is vitally important to me, so feel free to comment, or suggest topics for future posts. That’s exactly what prompted THIS post.
So many of you – my family, friends, and fellow writers – have asked me to share about my journey to becoming a published author, so here’s a flashback.
My book, Celebrate Grandparenting, was released less than three months ago, and life has been a whirlwind ever since. While I’m most definitely praising God for opening so many doors, I miss those peaceful moments when I’d leisurely contemplate the nuggets of truth, humor, nonsense, and wisdom I would share in my next blog post. My moments are now filled with OTHER joys (sarcasm flowing) – the joys of marketing, interviews, accounting, speaking, book signings and more – when all I wanted to do was WRITE!
Today’s authors are inundated with such tasks after releasing a book. I’ve learned that’s the norm in the publishing world. And, it’s okay, but learning the balance is where I find myself now. I have less time to write because of the time I spend doing marketing.
I have always loved the power of words, and the art of crafting them together to influence, inspire, entertain, or equip the reader. During my career – mostly as an administrative assistant or office administrator – I was often tasked with conveying whatever it was my superiors wanted to say, in print. My early ghostwriting experiences, actually! I guess they had confidence in my ability to do so and I took that responsibility seriously. I also did some freelance work but always in the back of my mind was a desire to publish a book, but that’d wait for my retirement.
An Unintentional Journey
I’ve not had much ‘official’ training, nor did I have a clue about the publishing world until I started attending writers’ conferences. The learning curve is huge with tendrils of knowledge reaching far beyond what I imagined. I’m no overnight success. Celebrate Grandparenting was a seven-year, somewhat unintentional, journey to publication.
I’d become a grandparent a few years earlier and was thoroughly enjoying that new role. Constantly on the lookout for crafts, recipes, traditions, and activities, I took advantage of everything I could to be the best grandparent possible. I loved spending time with my grands, and gained a few more during that time. Friends and co-workers constantly asked how I came up with such great ideas and I thought to myself, somewhat incredulously, how do you NOT? I thought it was what all grandparents did, but have found good intentions don’t always lead to memory-making moments by even the best of grandparents.
One of my friends nominated me for an online contest for the best grandparenting idea, which I won by a vote of followers of that website. That resulted in an invitation to share my award-winning ideas with the women at my church. I compiled a 56-page booklet of ideas and resources which our women’s ministry sold for $5 simply to reimburse the church for copy costs. Seventy-five copies were sold that night. Never did I expect that would evolve into a published book. I had a totally different idea of what my first book would be, but God led me to expand that 56-page booklet first – so I did.
Book Proposals, Contracts, and Agents
My first step was to write a stellar book proposal for Celebrate Grandparenting. It is said that your very best writing should be reserved for your book proposal. It’s that single, though detailed,document which makes the first impression any editor, agent, or publisher, and it MUST impress. I polished mine, then pitched it to an agent at the next conference I attended, resulting in a contract with a literary agent. I was later pursued by a publishing house in New York City for that same book. There’s so much more to this part of my journey, but suffice it to say that after much research, strategy sessions, and prayer, I chose to self-publish. It’s a decision I’ve never regretted. On June 26, 2019 my book was released and it’s selling VERY WELL.
The publishing process – one step at a time – resulted in even more education for me. Formatting. Layout. Design. ISBN numbers. Library of Congress numbers. Copyright registrations. Sales tax exemption workshops and certifications. Partnerships with retail stores. Partnering with ministry organizations. Discounts. Inventory management.
And, remember? All I wanted to do was WRITE!
I am still writing, but just having to squeeze it in as I can. I just finished ghostwriting a fascinating book for a Chandler, Arizona woman. God undeniably orchestrated our paths to cross (though I’ve not yet met her in person). Along with gaining a new friend, I’ve written her amazing story of God’s faithfulness through tragedy – a much-loved project and an enjoyable distraction for me when the woes of marketing and selling my own books was overwhelming! Her book should be out by early 2020.
My Next Book
I just requested a printing quote for my second book – The Road to Explode – which will be published before the end of the year. It’s a children’s book about tools for self-control to help strong-willed little ones with their explosive tendencies. It’s a great little book and has been well-received by ‘test’ audiences of children, adults, and teachers. On its heels will be a similar book – not yet titled – about tools for focus to help kids who struggle with ADD and ADHD. I’m finishing up the research and development stage of that project. And, remember the book I THOUGHT would be my first one? It’s still on my radar, but it’s not even written yet. There are more to come, that’s for sure!
God is Good!
I’ve gained several speaking opportunities – somewhat of a side-benefit of being a published author! Again, all I wanted to do was WRITE, but I’m learning to enjoy sharing with audiences and have done so for church groups, senior citizens, women’s ministries, writers, and even children. God has truly opened doors for me that were totally unexpected. I’m thrilled and grateful, and continue to walk through those doors. I can hardly wait to see where the next one will lead.
There truly are some crazy amazing things coming and I can’t wait to be able to share more with you. Stay tuned!
Have a BLESSED week!