After over five years, five drafts, four (+) proofs, three speaking engagements, four months past due, my book, "Raising Hell or Raise Them Well" is finally being printed. It hasn't arrived on my doorstep just yet, but I'm hoping the midnight prayers, encouraging vibes from customers, friends and family and the mere fact that I'm writing this post will deliver a perfect specimen of a book worthy of human cerebral consumption. It better. For me, taking this surprise trip through self-publishing hell scorched my butt, but not my determination.
There was some mighty hell raising between me and the publishing company who will remain nameless ( I want my books to show up). My parenting book is not your typical 120 page general market garden variety. It's a faith-inspired self-help guide for parents and parent figures who are under-served and under siege.
First I had to get the manuscript edited. I went through a reputable editing company. That cost a pretty penny. I did a lot of research which needed to be cited correctly. I am a writer, copywriter, and poet. But a research writer... eh...not so much. I learned from the pros how to document my findings in a specific style. I had editors who actually LOVED my book! They were my cheering squad (Lynn Levy Murray, thank you).
All together have nearly 100 citations, close to 300 pages, with photographs and multiple formatting styles. It turned out to be a custom interactive book. I suspect it was a little more overwhelming for the publishing company. I thought a one-stop-print-on-demand-shop was the wise direction to go given that I was a first time self publisher. In theory it did make sense. In hindsight, I should have gone with a local publisher instead of an online one. I would have had more control.
I learned something about myself. That I am a writer burdened and blessed with the double edged sword of perfectionism. It's a bad thing because I second guess myself, find stuff the second and third time around; And when I catch it, I am compelled to fix it. That goes for the publisher's mistakes and mine. The good thing is that I do catch them, and I don't settle for mediocre. In fact, if it wasn't for my pickiness and hunches, I wouldn't have found a HUGE formatting mistake by the publisher. I was teased for being picky and so adamant in being precise. But for the most part it paid off.
I wish I had more support and council from the publisher's project managers. As a first timer, I had so many questions. I realized some of the people I interacted with weren't as thorough about production. Advising me wasn't part of their job description. Having a marketing/project management background, I would have done things differently at that company.
I learned that I can let go of some things. It's okay to be imperfect. I learned to better discern when it's okay to let it go. (My disclaimer).
I learned to swallow my pride, tuck in my embarrassment and be transparent with my supporters who pre-ordered my book. That meant giving them updates and the promise of something extra.
One friend told me my book must be a game changer because the devil is trying hard to delay it. No doubt, I am doing God's work. He gave me the strength to do this thing.
I learned patience. I found out it is likely one may not make that deadline, so pad that schedule like it is a leaky faucet. I missed my target dates so many times I feared Satan was going to win.
I learned what it meant to have a dream, commit to it and follow it into infinity and beyond. "Raising Hell or Raise Them Well" WILL become a successful series like "Chicken Soup for the Soul".
One monkey (or publisher) don't stop no show. I carried on with my speaking engagements with no books, and I continued to make contacts.
I learned who I am during all of this. I felt my marketing side fade into the background and author/advocate take center stage. I feel more of the latter than the former, which I'm still reconciling with because the marketer in me is who I identified with for many years. I miss the money, but I don't miss the hustle. There's a side that tells me, I may not travel down that road anymore so make this new life and identity awesome. It is beyond your profession, it's your passion, so lean in.
There are more life lessons. But I will let this suffice for now. My new goal is to post more often, strengthen my online presence on Instagram and LinkedIn. and continue to build my followers on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. I very much want to connect with my audience who are moms, dads, baby mamas, baby daddies, grandparents, stepmom, stepdads, aunts, uncles, guardians, caretakers - basically any under-served parent or parent figure who want to raise their kids well. But before anything else, one thing has to happen: I need to receive my books!
Learn more or pre-order your copy of "Raising Hell or Raise Them Well" HERE!
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