I was a dramatic teenager. I can admit that now (and hear my mom cackling at me for admitting the truth). This is evidenced by my poems in an old journal that I wrote during my high school years. Let me clarify: this was not a “journaling” journal. This green notebook, with my mom’s name scratched off of the front, was strictly for poems of my own creation and song lyrics that struck a proverbial chord in my oft melancholy heart.
As proof of my melodramatic angst, I present to you a
smattering of poem titles. Be forewarned, you may work up a tear or two.
Then I Smiled
To Meet You
All The Time
Forget Me Not
And the epically titled: Lonesome Tears (I know, I know…it’s amazing.)
Looking back through these poems, some of them are painful to read because of the cliché rhymes and lack of originality. That said, this was a pivotal time in my life that I felt like I was a wallflower, destined to be ignored by the male species in the public high school I attended. As an adult, I understand that I was somewhat of a pariah because I was known as a…
I did, in fact, have a couple of short term
boyfriends. However, I had a truckload of crushes. That left fertilized ground
for the green journal of longing. In turn, I wrote and poured my feelings onto
paper. Now I hope that none of these poems will ever see the light of day
(EVER), but they fulfilled a need in me to seek paper to pen.
Every artist starts with a spark: finger-color painting masterpieces, lop-sided clay bowls, fledgling stories that ripped off a Cinderella plotline. Did you know that Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting during his lifetime and more than 900 paintings were not sold or made famous until after his death? Or that J.K. Rowling was rejected by the first twelve publishers she submitted to? Often, there is failure before the goal is reached.
I felt the need to share this with my readers (all twelve of you) to encourage you, no matter where you are at in your life. If you are facing a job change, writing a book or faced with personal change, the task can seem monumental. I get this…I’ve been rejected a bunch of times. Yeah, it stings, but I also know that God inspired my stories and that makes me keep plugging away.
Some Christians like to downplay her role in the Bible. After all, there’s no easy way of talking about the prostitute in Jesus’ lineage.
Then there’s me: “Hey. I’ll write a book about it.”
This is my book baby, the first one. And I indie published, even though I have an agent.
You can order it now for Kindle or buy the paperback, which is less than six bucks!
I’ll also post a few blogs with inside information about the book, like the how’s and why’s. Also, I’m planning on a “My Journey” post, because everyone wants the path to rich and famous. But, my post won’t be about that.
For now, every time I look at that cover, I think:
My little novella, True, launched on March 14, 2019. Funny thing is that it almost was a colossal face palm. Here’s what I recorded on my drive home on March 13th:
I stressed out so bad over the launch that I gave myself a headache for over 48 hours. Even when I woke up in the middle of the night, I’d think about if I had the right graphics designed or what time to post a meme or all sorts of things like that. Because when it comes down to marketing, everything lands squarely on the author’s shoulders now. This was my first time. And I wasn’t going to mess it up.
So I woke up, first thing in the morning and I grabbed my phone and thought to myself, “Tomorrow. Tomorrow. My book is gonna be out tomorrow.” What did I think of when I thought of the word “tomorrow?” Little Orphan Annie, with her cute red curly hair, Sandy the dog, and I thought, “A-ha, new meme.” And I sang it in my head while I looked up the meme generator. And I made myself a cute lil meme.
Then I did what anyone would do, I headed over to Instagram to stick up the memes I’d prepared for prelaunch day. Who cared that the color scheme wouldn’t match my IG board? My book was coming out…and it was coming out tomorrow.
However. IG had other plans. I logged on, well tried to log on, and it wouldn’t post. Anything. I posted once. It loaded and loaded. Okay, so, I did what anyone would’ve done when it didn’t work, close the app. Then I opened it again and it still showed loading. So then in the back of my mind, I did what any IT person would’ve told me to do and charge me $90 for: I turned off my phone and turned it on again. I knew I’d get IG this way. So I opened my IG app. And there was my picture…
I thought to myself, “Maybe it’s just stuck in load. I’ll go ahead and load it again. I can just delete one post, or be funny and put a whole row of Lil Orphan Annie’s.” I tried to post it again. Status bar got halfway. And it stayed there. Now I had two posts in stuck land. Stuck between here and posting and going nowhere. Fine. I switched gears.
I opened up FB. And what do you know? The meme loaded beautifully. Okay Lil Orphan Annie. Show the world of FB that “Tomorrow. Tomorrow is only a day away.” And lo and behold, I was Zuckerberged as it tried to reload and then “had problems.” So I tried a different browser. I tried opening FB on a PC. It wouldn’t open. Then it did open! And for half a moment, I was excited!
But then it wouldn’t post a picture. And then I tried four different browsers, each telling me the same thing: the picture wouldn’t upload. Nothing is quite as depressing as the day before your book launch when you have all of these beautiful, perfect memes and graphics designed to remind people that, “Hey, you should buy my book tomorrow. It’s my debut book! It’s a little book that doesn’t cost very much because I didn’t price it high. Hey people! This is me, trying to go down the path that God has plopped in front of me, where I may not be successful, but I’m going to try it anyways. Because as Frank Sinatra said, ‘I did it my way.’”
FB and IG apparently had it in for me the day before
my launch as neither of them would load up any of my pictures or memes or
graphics or posts. In funny frustration, about the twentieth time I tried to
post, I think I posted something ironic. Sometime later, as I was repeatedly
clicking Lil Orphan Annie, not even trying to add a caption at that point, just
clicking and clicking and clicking. And clicking and clicking. My finger got a
cramp in it. And then one click, there she went: Lil Orphan Annie, no caption,
but people knew that my book was coming tomorrow.
I gotta be honest with you, when the morning first started and IG wouldn’t open and then FB no workey, I resorted to anger texts. I sent people texts about how (air quote) frustrated I was. But let’s not lie: I was mad that my plan, my cute, little perfect plan for the prelaunch day was not going according to my plans. So, as the day wore on, my frustration grew into aggravation. Aggravation morphed into acceptance, eventually.
I had woke up thinking was, that I hoped I had a good day remembering to post the prelaunch graphics. And God answered me with “Nope. #shenanigans.”
All in all, I ain’t mad. It’s not like I can change
anything now. Whoever is going to look at my graphics the day before launch,
will look at them the day IG and FB start working again. And I hope that’s
soon, because they were my marketing plan. And there’s that stupid saying that
you’ll back and laugh at this one day. Maybe I will.
Pretty sure I won’t. I will look back and have a
massive eyeroll and tell people, “Hey. You should have a plan B.”
Although I’m not sure with social media that there can be a Plan B and standing in a parking lot and handing out flyers is frowned upon. Sometimes, it’s illegal.
So, here’s to hoping that tomorrow, my book launch actually goes as planned. Here’s hoping that people actually remember that Pi Day is the day that my lil book gets its wings. If people don’t remember to buy it, that’s okay. My dad told me a few days ago that he finished the book and he likes it. And I’m guessing that’s gonna probably be my favorite review.
**And now you have the behind the scenes for my nearly prelaunch fail.**
I’m thirteen days away from my debut release. And this isn’t the dream I’ve clutched since I wrote halting poems about the robins outside or the nativity set my parents painted long before I was born.
I went to Mount Hermon a handful of years ago with my good friend Hannah Prewett.
And we both knew how our writing careers would go…
Hannah and I attend a local Christian writer’s group in Northern California. And we accidentally knew each other before I’d even stepped foot into the church where our monthly meetings are held. Our paths seemed destined to be! Before I knew it, we’d planned on going to Mount Hermon and, of course, we’d be roommates.
Boy, did we prepare! Business cards? Check.
One-sheets? Check. Practice and practice and practice the elevator pitches?
Check, the entire three-hour drive (with the exception of stopping for
Chick-fil-A). And our mentors warned us not to get too excited, that this was
only to learn and make connections with other writers.
But, again, we both knew our careers would launch into the atmosphere—a couple of those authors who just happened to make it straight out of the gate. She’d be a world-famous writer of fairytales with an allegorical twist. I’d churn out clean, sarcastic Young Adult books with pre-order dates months in advance. (See lots o’ pics and read Hannah’s telling here)
You see where this is headed?
My “career” started off like a car wreck. Hannah hugged me as I wept that very first night because I wasn’t a good writer, according to a note written on my submitted manuscript. There were no redeeming qualities in my story. I cried like a kindergartener dropped off at school for the first time: I wanted to go home, I wanted my blankie, and I wanted a snack.
This wasn’t how My Amazing Writing Career was supposed to start!
That evening, Robin Jones Gunn’s message righted my sails. And I let go of my writing career…for the night. Because I just knew it’d all turn around in the morning!
Let me save you some backstory: the answer to that was NOPE. And it would continue to go sideways, slantways, longways, and squareways for quite some time.
In the meantime, I’ve learned and practiced. Hannah and I still go to conferences together. (Like Realm Makers!) I’ve met amazing people and keep studying the craft. I read mind-blowing books and others that make me squint. I push and grow, putting myself out there after countless rejections.
My fat contract from one of “The Big Five” CBA houses has never materialized, but I have an incredible agent! There are friends who’ve mailed me a card or sent a text when I’ve had a no-good, rotten day. A couple of kindred spirits made of sarcasm and tacos now grace my life.
I’m thirteen days away from my debut release, as a self-published author. And this isn’t the dream I had, but I’m happy God’s got this dream in His hands.
Had an interesting conversation with a friend recently. She commented about the header on my blog (A sarcastic Christian author taking the the publishing world by storm…one rejection at a time). She mentioned that “…it kinda sounds like you don’t think much of yourself.”
So I admitted to her: I don’t. At all.
Let me clarify, before the Bible thumping begins. Yes, I know I am fearfully and wonderfully made. And that I’m God’s workmanship. Also, that the Lord has a plan for my life. People…I’m a pastor’s kid.
I fully expect to facepalm in this writing journey stuff. I’ve already collected lots of rejections for stories I thought were spectacular. But here’s the truth about me:
I believe I will fail.
This is my secret. A dose of self-deprecating keeps it real for me, so that when I do fail, the fall is not so far. This is why rejections only hurt me a little. It’s like a bee sting–hurts at first and eventually goes away.
I’m guessing that there is someone horror-stricken by my confession. “She doesn’t think God is in control!”
God’s given me this self-defense mechanism. I write because He’s given me stories. Sure, it’d be fanfreakingtastic to have a traditional publisher be all, “Here’s a fat contract.” But from where I stand, I don’t suffer any broken bones when I’m told no…even if it’s in a polite email.
There are approximately a million quotes on failure, but this one will show you my heart’s point of view (and writer’s know POV):
My first official post for this website will be something that I “ought” to write. Every inspiring author can tell you there are mountains of to-do lists and tips about becoming a real writer.
Have a website!
Get business cards!
Make sure to post to Facebook and Instagram, Twitter and Goodreads. EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.
All of this while writing a new book and still living life (working full-time and being a wife and mom, for me).
My secret? I don’t do everything that is correct. And if I do, it’s not necessarily in order. Just ask my eternally patient agent.
So, while this first post is in the correct order, don’t hold me to any expectations. I will probably mess up the color scheme or forget to post on the right date. I just ate tacos and French fries for lunch. I forget to thank people. I forget names.
Hang in here with me and we’ll see if we can make a real author of me yet.