Thankful

It’s the day after Thanksgiving when I post this, and I have a lot to be thankful for. I’ve been spending the weekend with my family, especially my three daughters. We ate a lot, we went to my high school’s football game, we had a couple of movie nights, we went bowling, we saw the tree lighting in the center of town, and we ate more. I love my girls with all my heart, and I don’t get to see them every day, so it’s such a pleasure to spend a good stretch of uninterrupted time with them.

This year, I have something else to be thankful for. My first published novel, Flipping the Scales, has been available for about two weeks now. I’ve sold a decent amount of copies, albeit fewer than I hoped I would have in the first two weeks. Some friends have bought copies for their children and have already told me those children enjoyed it. (Yay! Now please write and post a review!) Some of my students and coworkers have bought copies. And some copies have been bought by people I don’t know—the very first sale, which occurred about an hour after the book was live on Amazon and an entire thirty hours before I publicized it on Facebook, was to someone in Canada. I’ve even gotten a message from someone I don’t know who told me she enjoyed the book.

It’s absolutely thrilling, and the experience has been unbelievably educational. Let me share some things that I’ve learned.

 

Writing a novel is a long, lonely, rewarding process.

I started and finished the first draft during the summer of 2013. It took me about a month and a half to complete it. Then I had a handful of trusted beta readers give me feedback. They helped me improve the story considerably, but I had to do it myself. Even though the first draft didn’t take a long time to write, getting it to the point where I believed it was publishable was a journey. But I finished it, and I’m proud of my accomplishment.

 

Self-publishing a book is an easy process.

I really didn’t expect it to be so easy. There are style guides and templates readily available, and I’m quite versed in Microsoft Word. I’m even more so now, having followed the style guides. Even formatting a paperback book—with page numbers in the footer and my name and story title in the header of almost every page—was simple though tedious. I found a wonderful graphic designer to work with, and she designed a beautiful cover. And then I uploaded the book. Not even twenty-four hours later, it was available for purchase.

 

Marketing a self-published book is a challenging, time-consuming process.

I’ve spent many hours posting samples of the book—the first few chapters—at a variety of places online. I’ve joined various Facebook groups. I ran an ad on Facebook. I now have both a website dedicated to the book and a book trailer on YouTube. I have felt like I needed at least a part-time assistant to do all this for me, but I’m just me. I’m still putting it out there, and I just have to have faith that it will be found. Slow and steady wins the race, they say. I didn’t know about the Harry Potter series until the fourth book was out. I didn’t know about The Hunger Games series until after the final book was out. I need to get moving on the sequel; maybe people will know about the first book by then!

 

But in the end, I’m extremely thankful for the creativity I possess that allows me to write stories. I’m extremely thankful for the people—both people I know and people I don’t—who have bought a copy and have enjoyed it. And I’m extremely thankful for everyone who has supported me along the way.

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