Writing is not only something I love, it’s who I am: The Storyteller.
Although I’ve been writing most of my life, my passion for writing kicked into high gear after the birth of my first child. These characters started carrying on conversations in my head whenever I tried to catch a nap while the baby was sleeping. Before long, I gave into their demands, and Embrace the Storm was born. You could say that my first novel was also my second child.
Although Embrace the Storm came to me not long after my first child, it would be many years later, after many transformations, that I felt it was ready to be published. At the time, traditional publishing was still “the” way to go. It also seemed as though the world saw self-publishing as a route people only took if they weren’t “good enough” to be selected by a big publishing house.
As I prepared my manuscript to send off to publishers, I found myself worrying about the quality of the story. Obsessively worrying. Over-editing. I changed things simply because I thought that’s what someone else would want to see. I started to lose what I originally valued in my story. I lost the heart of the tale. And my passion began to fizzle as doubt in my talent clouded my mind.
It was during this time I also noticed a shift in the world of writing. The more research I did, the more articles I read, the more evident it became that self-publishing was no longer considered taboo. Authors were finding success in taking charge of their stories. And they were finding freedom as well.
Still, it took several years for me to get past the voice in my head screaming, “The only way to truly be an author is to be traditionally published!” This thought had been burned into my brain for so long, I believed my value could only be measured by my ability to convince a random stranger I was good enough for them to take a chance on me. I felt as though I was reduced to begging someone to tell me I was worthy to be labeled “Author”.
The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized how ridiculous it sounded. I have no control over what kind of mood an editor at a publishing house is going to be in the day they randomly pick up my manuscript for consideration. If by chance they were in the mood for my story, and I was lucky enough to be selected, I then faced the possibility of my story being picked apart for the sake of “excellence”.
Don’t get me wrong, I want my story to be wonderful! I want the characters to be well developed, the plot strong, and the twists to be astonishing…
But I also want my story to be, well, my story…
I’ve heard of authors having to fight to keep parts of their story intact because they believed them important to the story line. Self-publishing my story has allowed me the freedom to stay true to the story I want to tell. It’s helped me to focus on the message I want to share through my characters, instead of worrying about writing what someone else might want to hear. It’s also challenged me to learn things I never thought to learn. I’ve been pushed beyond my normal comfort zone and found this is not a bad thing!
Overall, I’m thankful I decided to let go of the idea that I could only call myself an author if traditionally published. Self-publishing opened up an entire new world for me, and I’m thrilled to be able to explore it.