All my life I have been told I should write. My English teacher in High School, Ms. McDonald, actually had a published author come in and work with me rather than taking regular English courses. Unfortunately, at the time I did not see the gift this was in all areas as the teenager in me saw that I had two teachers to give assignments to for English rather than one like everyone else.
However, these private lessons stuck with me as I continued on in life. Yet, no matter how well I did in some individual work for an employer, a boss or even in writing; I could not quite bring myself to face the dreaded rejection letter. I know those are a part of writing but I was so scared of them that I just didn't do it. So over time, many stories were written and left by the wayside.
Finally, I had a chance to have my mother's story illustrated and published through Createspace. While it is a cute story, How the Dragons Got Their Colors, I really wanted it published to give to the grand kids an have a piece of my mother saved. She is getting older and I wanted a memory of her that lasted through time. But the benefit of this is I realized I could submit the novel I had almost completed without a rejection letter. If no one liked it, it could fade back into obscurity and while it would hurt, no one would be the wiser.
So imagine my shock when it didn't fail. Outcast has been getting four and five star reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads. The comments back launched me to get the next part of the series out as people asked me when it was coming out. I learned how to publicize and tripled my sales in the second month. My free time is now spent in publicity and writing.
With that has come new friends and mentor; my editor, Alex Hunt, is relentless but has honed my skills and continues to do so as I pick up knowledge that had become rusty by not creatively writing. Most of my work the last two years has been for employers or non-fiction. I met this dragon on Twitter named, Farloft. Turns out his best friend Theresa and I are very much alike.
So yesterday, I faced my last big fear. The first being to put my work out for judgement had been successfully mastered and now if I get a bad review, I know to take it in stride. However, taking a bad review and facing a real person and asking them to sell your work was way different. I dressed up and stood quivering outside the bookstore. Finally I gained the courage and went in with the children's book and Outcast. She took them. It will be on commission so she is not out the expense but I am good with that. Then... she asked me to do a book signing. I have heard of these, of course, what writer has not. I just never considered I would do one. Now I am scheduled to do a book signing in March. If this continues, I am not sure how to keep up my forty four hour a week counseling job and keep up with all the things I am being asked for as a new writer. Today, I did my first author interview. It was a good thing for me, they asked questions I had not considered before today.
If you had asked me a year ago if I would be doing a book signing, thinking of cutting back work hours and enjoying reader feedback. I would have laughed. Wow, what a difference a year can make!