This has been on my mind for two days now. I kept hoping it would go away, but alas, it refuses to leave me alone. That means it is something that must be said. I don’t pretend to know why. There is no clear reason why I’m even writing it, other than I feel that I must. Perhaps it’s only to get the thoughts off of my own mind. If by some chance it helps someone, then thank you Lord for my mistakes that led me to this place and time and for the words in my heart and on my mind.
Now, where was I? Oh, yes, I messed up. There is a chance I might have already given this information before, but on the chance you haven’t read it yet, or I have not disclosed it yet, here it is. I am a self-published author. My first book was released six months ago. Two months after its release, I realized that apparently, commas give me hives. The entire book was missing commas, not just one or two, try a few hundred, maybe even a thousand. This egregious error happened because I was afraid. I was afraid to let anyone else see my work and truthfully, we don’t have the money for me to pay a professional editor. Anyway, I’m not here to roll in that dirt. Onward and upward.
By the time I realized my error, nearly 50 copies had already been sold. There was nothing for me to do but to shut down production on the book until I could fix the problem. I still don’t have a professional editor, but my sister has filled the role for me. She’s a grammar wizard and I would be lost without her. But first, I had to overcome my fear. I was willing to release my work upon the world before I was willing to let my family see the words that had been stamped on my heart. Now, nothing hits the press until it’s been approved through them. Bonus, my use of commas has drastically improved!
Then, I messed up again…
My second book released in paperback two weeks ago. The moment my first shipment of copies arrived, I realized I didn’t like the cover. I make all my own covers too. I wanted to be exclusive to my own pictures, but the result was less than I wanted it to be. I knew that it would hinder sales. Let’s be honest. I do not write in order to become rich and famous. But, in order for my books to reach people, they have to want to buy it. They’re not going to want to buy it if the cover picture doesn’t draw them in. Publishing is a nightmarish labyrinth of finding the perfect balance between what you want and what the readers want. Notice I said publishing, writing is something entirely different. I don’t write to please people. My stories, the words I can’t get away from, they don’t belong to me, they’re given to me so that I can share them with the world.
A new shipment – with new covers – is arriving soon, and I hope that I love them as much as I think I will. I hope you love them too. I asked for feedback and received a myriad of responses. Most of them were positive, and I was happy with the final result. If I might make a suggestion for any other self-publishers, find someone to proofread for you. No joke, it is almost impossible to proofread for yourself. If nothing else, find a free grammar program. I use Grammarly to check everything before it leaves my sight and is handed over to my sister. Don’t let my mistakes be your mistakes.
From the heart of a brand new author, from the gripping anxiety that I feel every time I mess up, I find these words coming to mind over and over again…don’t give up. Never quit. God never promised His way would be easy, He only said it would be worth it. My words are not perfect and I will never perfect my craft of writing. I will never stop learning, but I pray that my mistakes do not hinder anyone from the benefit of my words.
Lastly, I was turned down by two literary agents this month. Does that mean I’m doing something wrong? Absolutely not. Does that mean I should stop writing? That’s a resounding NO! All it means is I’m trying. I’m stretching my wings and attempting something new. Traditional publishing might not be the right avenue for me but it’s one I can’t stick my head in the sand and avoid. I’m sure I’m not through making mistakes. Another book will be released in six months. At the moment, I’m confident everything is on point for its release. If you take nothing else away from this tonight, take this, no matter what happens, if you are doing God’s work, don’t stop. Things are going to get in your way. You’ll climb mountains, you’ll swim vast oceans, and you’ll feel as though everything is for nothing. DO NOT QUIT! There is a purpose, YOU have a purpose. God gave you a gift…use it.
If you are interested in checking out Grammarly, you can visit their page by clicking on their name. I use Grammarly for everything from school work to emails and, of course, the all-important books.