Archive for January 14th, 2013

January 14, 2013

My contest, The Night Ones Legacy and a fire that burns from the inside out

Purple Flowers

These are my ‘serenity flowers.’ They remind me that writing should be a calm experience, not a fiery burn-yourself-out one.

The whole idea of hosting a contest has made me think back to when I first wrote The Night Ones Legacy. Like many writers, I secretly harbored a dream that it would be BIG, but I’m also pretty grounded in the idea that book sales from an unknown author takes a lot of work.

If I remember right, I sent one query off for The Night Ones Legacy, just about the time my son was born. Most of the books and articles I’ve read on the subject say one try simply isn’t enough. When you’re looking for an agent or a publisher, you have to try over and over and over again to find the right fit.

I didn’t know why at the time, but I was reluctant to send more queries out. I read about self-publishing somewhere, and the idea clicked with me immediately. I felt an urgency to move on the idea. Two weeks later, I published The Night Ones Legacy for Kindle and on CreateSpace.

I shyly gave a few copies of the book to friends in North Dakota. I was pleased (and still shy) with the enthusiastic response I got. Someone told me a local book club read it and discussed it, and I was elated (and shy).

Soon after, we found out we were moving to Utah. I didn’t know where we’d be living or how long we’d be between homes. I had a local e-mail carrier that was canceled when we moved, and my phone number changed three times over the course of about five months.

Looking back, I realize I didn’t know what a rough move it was going to be. I only knew I needed to do SOMETHING with my book RIGHT AWAY. You know that feeling. It’s the fire that burns from the inside out, the warmth and heat that gives you courage to do things you wouldn’t normally do.

In any other circumstance, self-publishing wouldn’t have been my first choice. This time, it turned out to be perfect for me. It got the book out of my heart and mind and into the wide world, leaving me free to focus on keeping my family together through our difficult year. While I didn’t do much to market it, knowing it was available gave me the confidence I needed to introduce myself to new friends.

I found myself straightening a little every time someone asked what I like to do. “I’m a writer,” I said. “I mostly write for regional newspapers and magazines, but I’ve also got a book out now.”

My family and I were in a jumble between May and November, when we finally purchased another home. It’s taken another year to stabilize our lives (and my writing schedule).

Now that we’re finally somewhat settled, the fire inside is blazing again. This time, it has to do with the contest I’m throwing. I deeply hope to give away at least five gift cards, but I can’t see the future any more now than I could in 2011. I just know this is something I have to do.

No matter how shy I feel.

No matter what the results are.

I tell myself that those are the things that don’t really matter. The fire inside DOES matter, and I’m always a better person if I pay attention to it.

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