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.
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 approximately 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!