My novel came in the mail today. I finally get to hold it, to know it’s real, and to reflect. This book was published one week ago, and it still has not hit me. I’m a published author...of a book.
This has been a lifelong dream. When I was a child, I would lie in bed and to block out the screaming and darkness that a toxic, abusive home often carries, and I would create stories to escape. I would lie in bed and dream of a different world. Different caretakers that loved me. That kept me safe.
That blossomed into writing any chance I got. As a teenager, I wrote four books in one year. But this was my healing process. This was personal. I never even considered sending anything out to be published. I mean, I dreamed of being published. Every day. But I certainly could not fathom taking that chance.
The years passed, and I was an adult with the sweet taste of freedom. I escaped that chaotic home life and created a different type of world. I married, and we started a family, a stable home full of love and nurturing. No toxicity. My writing transformed from being a needed escape to simply becoming a happy place. It was not as personal, not a link to some type of safety. But still, that fear of rejection held me back.
Fast forward to April of 2019. I was turning 43 years old, and while I had the great home life and a career I had worked hard at, I needed something to break out of the comfort zone I’d padded my life with. I needed an adventure.
I decided to send out a short story. Just for fun. I wanted to see what happened. That first submission was returned rejected. As was the second one. And I learned something. It was not the worst thing to ever happen to me. I survived it. So I kept submitting until one day, I got an email saying they loved the story and wanted to publish it.
The following year is quite a blur. I sold fifty short stories. I won several awards. I learned the ins and outs of getting published. I learned to research the publications. Otherwise, it is like throwing darts down a pitch black hallway hoping to hit the target. I learned to read the submission guidelines carefully. And I learned not to get discouraged by rejections. If I was fortunate enough to get a personal rejection with criticism, I read it carefully and applied the changes.
Most of all, I learned to believe in my talent, my skill. I was doing it. And there was one more step to get me out of that comfort zone completely. There had been a manuscript I was working on. I polished it. And then I polished it some more.
It took a lot of courage for me to take that leap. But I sent out the first few chapters. It was an amazing day when I received the email asking to submit the entire manuscript.
But nothing beats the day I got the email that they wanted to publish the book. I was on cloud nine.
And a week ago, my romance novel Beyond the Surface was published. You would think the fairy tale ending stopped there. But that was when the work really started. I learned that the promotion that goes into getting your book seen and purchased is probably the hardest thing for us writers.
It has only been a week, but I’ve learned that you have to sidestep that fear of touting your own work, your accomplishments. This is a business, and your book is your product. I have learned that it is okay to ask friends and family to spread the word.
I’m still learning along with the rest of you. But I will continue to write what I love, send without fear, learn from the setbacks, and promote the work I created.
My first novel can be found on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Surface-Trisha-Ridinger-McKee-ebook/dp/B088PBFY4G/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=beyond+the+surface&qid=1590207370&sr=8-2
My website is www.trishamckee.com
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