It continues to surprise me when people tell me they see me as a strong person. Many days I feel so far from brave, that if I was a recipe, I’d be one part courage and four parts wimp.
The past year brought many changes—my 60th birthday, “temporary” early retirement, a new job/benefits/coworkers/work schedule/commute. And go ahead and laugh at the next list if you must—a new i Pad, Android phone, cell phone number, and i Pod!
Each of these changes presented its own myriad set of choices and decisions—some simply exciting, others mind-boggling. In the end, they all required me to either adjust my view of my world or—ugh! — change behaviors. And, all of them gave me (the sometimes unwelcome) opportunity to learn new things.
Why do I bring this up now?
Because after years of writing, rewriting, editing, and querying agents, after two derailed offers of representation for my novels, and getting close enough another half-dozen times to have my hopes dashed, I have accepted the reality of today’s topsy-turvy publishing world. If a debut novelist wants to get published, 99.99999% of the time, you have to do-it-yourself.
If you aren’t an aspiring novelist, you may not grasp the fear that strikes in my heart. Learning the inner workings of the publishing business—things like, print fonts, e-pub formatting, front and back matter, interior and book cover design, ISBNs, book marketing and distribution, and some freakin’ thing called metadata! Seriously? What could a 60-year-old non-nerd possibly know about that?
When I started writing creatively 15+ years ago, I thought, “If you write it they will come.” Jeez, was I naïve!
If you are familiar with 12 step programs, you know the 4th step is, “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” The first time I tried to work step 4, the word fearless made me think I wasn’t ready. Then I heard someone share, “Fearless doesn’t mean without fear, it means with courage.”
So baby step by baby step, I muster the courage to face my fear and embark on the self-publishing process.
What wisdom can you offer to keep my fears from turning me back?