Lately, one of my recurring fantasies involves being called into my boss’s office after she receives my letter of resignation.
“I understand that you’re leaving us,” she says, as I sit in front of her desk.
“Yes, ma’am,” I say. “I’ve been working really hard on my writing business for the past year or so, and the last few months, it has gone through the roof. I’m going to be a full-time author.”
She congratulates me, says how much I will be missed – blah, blah, blah – and I walk out, barely able to feel my feet touching the ground. People in surrounding offices watch me leave, wondering what the big, beaming smile on my face is all about.
Ah, yes, I dream of that day.
It has been more than 10 years ago now, I guess, since I wrote and self-published my first book, Finding God in Texas, without having a clue about what I was doing. I did a little research, found CreateSpace, and painstakingly went through the process of formatting my manuscript, proofing, reformatting, proofing some more, reformatting again, and designing what I know now was a terrible cover, and finally submitting everything for publication.
When my book finally went live on amazon, I was so excited. I couldn’t believe I actually had a book for sale on the Internet. Nevermind that it sold something like 30 or 40 copies over the next five or six years or whatever, mostly to myself, friends and family members. It was really cool, and I was pretty proud.
Time went on, and then one day about two years ago, I happened to see something on Facebook about a brand-new publishing company that was looking for editors, proofreaders, audiobook narrators and such. Anyone interested was asked to send an e-mail explaining what type of work they were interested in and why they were qualified to do it.
I was looking to make some extra money, so I responded; one thing led to another, and I was hired to proofread books as the final step in the publication process. I mentioned that I had published my own book, and asked the guys who owned the company if they’d like to take a look at it. They said, sure; and to my surprise, they liked it, and wanted to redesign and reissue the thing, which now has a beautiful cover, a much better title: Finding God: An Exploration of Spiritual Diversity in America’s Heartland; and has sold a lot more than three dozen copies.
That encouraged me to finish another manuscript I had started and let these guys take a look at it. A short time later, an incredible cover proof showed up in my e-mail inbox for me to approve, and Camino: Laughter and Tears along Spain’s 500-mile Camino de Santiago was released.
Since then, I’ve added six more titles to my inventory, and my sales consistently are up and down, putting a little extra cash in my bank account each month, but nowhere near enough for me to “retire” and make a living as a full-time author.
However, one of the guys who started the publishing company that got me started is now helping me through the process of launching my own writing and consulting business that one day soon will make that dream of walking into my boss’s office and floating back out a reality.
It is A LOT of work, and something that still seems a little out-of-reach sometimes. But my publishing friend and others believe in me, and so I must also believe in myself.
There are those negative voices in my head fighting to elbow their way up front, but I keep pushing them back with positive thoughts and hard work.
I believe it will happen, and I am going to give it my best shot.
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