It’s the day of the book, y’all!

My debut novel officially launches today, and I am equal parts excited and scared (any Into the Woods fans out there?)! I’ve learned so much in this endeavor about writing, publishing, and marketing, but I’d be lying if I said I really know anything about any of it yet.

One unfortunate setback is that I will not have hardcovers for this novel—at least not right away. I had initially planned on using Barnes & Noble for hardcovers (and as a second option for paperbacks), but I haven’t had great luck with their platform. As publishing day approached, I received glitchy error messages from the website, and I didn’t want to take a chance on having print issues. So, unfortunately, my book will only be in paperback and eBook for the time being.

 Although it wasn’t my ideal publishing scenario, I’m not terribly disappointed by it. This simply allows me to learn more about Amazon’s print platform before moving on to the next.

Being an indie author means wearing a lot of hats. It can be overwhelming, especially for a recovering perfectionist. I know I’m not perfect, obviously, but I put far too much pressure on myself to try to be. This process has taught me I’m going to have to let go of that. I can do my best and learn from my worst.

And that’s what every book should be for its author—a learning experience and a chance to grow in the craft. I’m learning more about writing so that I’ll improve every time I write. I’m learning about marketing plans that I can implement for my next book. I’ve learned how to create a website. Boy, that was difficult for me.

I’ve recently started watching YouTuber Sarra Cannon of Heart Breathings, and she had some comforting words to say on the subject of writing and publishing. To paraphrase, she said she had no following and very little knowledge about marketing or publishing when she put her first novel out there, but she kept going. She learned along the way and improved, and now this is her career.

Everyone’s journey is different, and I am proud of what I have accomplished. I wrote a novel (with a second one in the works), put it out there, and put myself out there (the hardest part of all).

So, to summarize: My novel is available for purchase today. I have mixed emotions about it. But I did it, and that’s pretty cool!

Be It Ever So Humble

I’ve been working on my first YA novel since 2016. I know… I know… Four years is a long time to work on one single novel, but I didn’t really start focusing on it until 2018. You see, this novel began as a class assignment for a YA Writing class I was taking back when I was going for my MFA in Writing. Spoiler alert: I didn’t finish because my husband and I moved, and the program wasn’t going to be free anymore. We’ve got enough student loan debt at this point, and I didn’t want to tack more onto it. I’m sure many of you can relate!

The story idea for Be It Ever So Humble came to me even earlier than 2016. In fact, it came to me when I was a teenager (I won’t say how long ago that was) vacationing at a family cabin at the Lake of the Ozarks. It was a long drive to and from our cabin without many sights along the way, so I often made up little stories in my head to pass the time. I remember seeing a house once on the drive and coming up with what would be the basic storyline of Be It Ever So Humble—a celebrity teenager forced to live on a farm, forgoing the luxurious lifestyle she was accustomed to.

At first, it seemed like a fun project for my class; then, I enjoyed writing in the main character’s voice so much that I just kept going. Of course, I stopped and started quite a few times along the way, and I edited and revised obsessively.

If there’s one good thing (for me) to come out of 2020’s new normal/stay-at-home lifestyle, it’s that I have had more time to focus on this. So after four years of stop and go, I finally have something that I’m proud of, and I’m ready to share it with whoever would like to read it.

I’ll get into more specifics soon about some of my challenges (and successes!) in formatting and prepping to launch a book with absolutely no experience and only YouTube videos and internet articles as my guide. But that’s all for future posts. In the meantime, I’m so proud of the amazing cover my husband, Wes, designed for the book and wanted to share that with you.

I mean… He’s the best. I’m so pleased with it!

Have you self-published or thought about self-publishing a novel? Have you written a novel? What are some things you wish others knew about the process, or what are some things you wish YOU knew about the process? Let’s chat in the comments!