These Obstacles Are My Life

For a long time it seemed to me that real life was about to begin, but there was always some obstacle in the way. Something had to be got through first, some unfinished business; time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.
~Bette Howland

This quote holds so much meaning for me. My dream – my novel Strangely, Incredibly Good, was published June 5th, 2014. I’ve never felt more like I’m on the right path. But guess what? Never have I faced more obstacles in trying to get my work discovered and read! Yes, after publication! And I have an actual publisher! (It’s not their fault – they are awesome – it’s the nutty book industry right now).

I admit, some days, when it’s been too many obstacles in a row, I just want to sit on the couch, watch Ellen, and eat mint chocolate chip ice cream. Then I realize how blessed I am to have that couch, TV and ice cream, and a published novel. And I stop sulking and get back to trying to get my book discovered by more readers.

It’s not like Strangely Incredibly Good hasn’t been a success. How do you define success anyway? Great reviews? Check. Several readers who demand a sequel? Check. A big fat cheque? Yeah, not quite a checkmark there. But that’s okay. I’m in this with all my heart, to share my writing and hopefully lift a lot of people up; to give them an escape, touch their hearts, make them laugh out loud. So in that respect, I feel that I’m successful.

My greatest obstacle with this novel has been trying to get it into more readers’ hands. Indie bookstores are more than willing to take a few copies of my book on consignment (so if you want to see it in your local small bookstore let me know!) However, getting space on a major bookstore bookshelf is a real challenge, even if you have a publisher. I wrote the CEO of Chapters-Indigo a few times. Could my book be distributed in a few of her stores. Or if not, could I leave my bathtub of books in one of her stores for just a week? She was kind enough to respond to me that she’s inundated with 100s of messages like mine from authors on a weekly basis, and that sorry, but they don’t ‘do installations.’ She did put a happy face after that, but, darn. I was thinking outside the box (and inside the bathtub!) I will never stop doing that.

Alright, so I’ll just read at a library. Gain some readers that way. ANNNG. Wrong answer. Apparently, most Canadian libraries insist your book be in multiple branches of their library before they can even consider you coming to speak. I was disappointed about that, but I am just considering it one more delay. I’ll get there. This is definitely not a career for anyone lacking patience!

All of these obstacles are part of the journey. They make it aggravating, yes. But they also make it interesting. They make victory sweeter. And they challenge me to try a new way, not just every year, but pretty much every day.

My latest new way is Wattpad. Yes, I am giving Strangely, Incredibly Good away for free, chapter by chapter. The theory is, I’ll gain new readers, and perhaps one day they will actually pay for my sequel. Perhaps not. You know what? I care about getting paid for my work, but above all else, I write for myself, and for others to hopefully get a lift and an escape. Wattpad is a new way to distribute the words I spent approximatelyย 17531.6 hours getting just right. It’s getting my novel out there.

I hope you’ll check out my profile at Wattpad, and let your book-loving friends know about it! If you want to help me out, you can also remind them that Strangely, Incredibly Good and all my other books are on Kindle and Kobo for under $5. Thanks!

And remember, obstacles are not there to ruin your life. They are your life. Puts a whole new spin on it doesn’t it?

Have a great week!



9 responses to “These Obstacles Are My Life”

  1. Your steadfast belief in yourself and your art, as well as your courage to make your dreams happen, have always been a beacon for me, Heath. They’ve helped define you in my eyes and heart. You’ve inspired me to finish my story collection (as well as a new poetry collection) and finally dive headfirst into a novel. Your honesty and openness in sharing your journey always gives me hope and great joy that I can call you, as you once put it, “my friend I never met.” Best always ~ J

    1. Aw Joe, I never knew. I really appreciate you telling me. I do love the part where I write, and where I encourage other writers. The marketing stuff is exhausting but I am learning lots as I go along. Be sure to read “writers write and market their butts off” the latest post about this journey. I’ve been making a profit! And getting read! And reviews! I feel if I blink I may miss it! ๐Ÿ˜‚Can’t wait for your novel. Consider Kindle U and their paperbacks, okay? Email anytime. Hugs ๐Ÿค—

  2. Hi Heather!
    Well, we are in this together-hope that makes you feel better. Want to know something? I get jealous when I see you at a bookstore or library and I’m not a jealous type gal. You have great nerve. I hope someday I can sell mine in a real store. I love the writing, too.
    I’m trying to make my product the best from me and yes, that is living. But, heck we all dream. Oh, and your bathtub cover, now that’s sexy.
    I’ve just begun to portray others on my blog … gardenlilie. I’d love to have you come and do a post. I’m booked for November; how about December or January?
    Maybe we could have bubbles floating by. :))

    1. Kim. Jealousy is so normal in this industry..well, in any industry, but I think because so many authors struggle, it’s common to wonder “What’s she got that I don’t? ” I once read –I think it was Wayne Dyer? – that jealousy is just your brain (and heart) telling you that YOU have those same skills and to get up off your butt and go get ’em! (okay I sort of made that quote my own now ๐Ÿ˜‰ So whenever I feel jealous of some author/screenwriter I remind myself I”m on my own path and the jealousy is just a sign to challenge myself more, to be my very best. As for visiting your blog – I am touched you’d want me there and YES let’s do this! email me ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for reading Kim.

  3. Heather your book was fantastic and so is your poetry which I also have on my kindle. You are a wonderful writer and like others that have read your book i can not wait for the sequel. Keep up your amazing work because you do bring joy and happiness to whom ever reads your work.

    1. Hi Andrew, I did not know you’d also read my novel, along with my poetry books. Thank you! I will try to keep at it. Comments like this help ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Great article Heath and if it’s any consolation it’s exactly the same story over here. I have had a book in Waterstones but I don’t know how the publisher (Bewrite) managed this, apart from comments made to me by a friend who worked at Waterstones in Bristol that they had the right distributor. These trade secrets in the publishing industry are like some kind of freemasonry, u know? In the end the Bewrite experience put me off traditional publishers, because you can be v sure that whoever made money out of my book with Bewrite, it wasn’t me. I now publish entirely with Amazon Kindle Web, to whom I was introduced by the Americymru Group out of Portland Oregon, they pay Royalties on a monthly basis, and while the work may not physically be in Bookstores, Amazon are big enough to be out there Worldwide, and their site is a virtual shopfront in itself. I could have published with Todd Swift’s Eyewear Books at one point, but in total honesty I could not have gone thru what I went thru with Bewrite again, albeit that the book ‘Any Time’ has apparently sold over 5000 copies.

  5. I love this, it’s so genuinely executed. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thank you. I was going to write, “I try to be genuine,” but of course you don’t try to do that, you just are. lol. Thanks for commenting.

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