Thursday, December 27, 2018

Straddling the Middle is Available!

         I mentioned it the other day in my Random Updates post, but wanted to write a little more about it here today. Something I honestly didn’t think would ever happen has finally happened – I got off my butt and self-published Straddling the Middle (StM). It has been a journey for me, one that started in November 2016 and finished in December 2018.
         I started writing StM as part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), an annual event where anyone can sign up to challenge themselves to write 50,000 words or more in 31 days. It happens every November, and it’s a lot of fun. It’s challenging, you can keep track of your writing with your goal tracker, there’s prompts available for if you get stuck, and there’s lots of support from your peers via chat boards. I finished the 50,000 words for StM early, before Thanksgiving, but the book itself wasn’t done. The story arc didn’t quite end. So I kept going and finally finished in December. 
         Then I read it through and found some holes in the story that I wanted to fill in. So I started working through that last. Then the binder it was in got buried on my kitchen table next to the laptop. I would see it every time I sat down at the computer and think, “Errgghh I need to get on that.” And I did. For a few days. Then I’d drop off again. Finally in November 2018 I gave myself a talk. “You’ve finished this thing for the most part. Fill the rest of the holes, have some people read it, get some feedback, make micro edits, and self publish it with Kindle Direct. Get it gone.”
         So I did. I finished it (or so I thought), then I sent out some early reader copies to friends and family. I bought some bound paper copies from an office supply store and Mike was the first one to open that box and take off to read with a highlighter. He finished reading StM in a day and had some great feedback. Others came back with some more feedback. Finally I was on Christmas break from the college and sat down to finish mini-edits and upload it to Kindle. I had planned on doing that in stages. Suddenly it was done and I had all of my files ready to upload. So I clicked the button. And waited for approval. The emails that my Kindle was ready and my paperback were ready came pretty quickly. It kind of made me want to vomit a little.
         I am definitely excited that this goal I had, to publish a book, is checked off. I have more writing to do, more things I’m working on, but I learned a few things.
  • I am always going to keep working on my writing as a skill. That’s just how I am, always trying to get better. Right now I’m reading about three-dimensional characters and it’s pretty interesting. I’ll write more about it later and how it relates to what I’ve learned as a psychologist.
  • I am not creative when it comes to cover design. The cover design programs and I, we just don’t get along. So my next book will have a cover made by someone else, and I am totally 100% OK with that. I know my limits. I’m not a fan of the StM covers, I’ll say that flat out. Someone else will do the formatting for the next book too because I’m pretty sure I screwed it up a bit. If you’re reading StM and see some weirdo formatting, that was all me. I own that.
  • Finally, I have had so many people say to me, “I’d love to write a book but…” Get that big old butt out of here y’all! Seriously! You can do this. You can write. The best advice (which I’ll address another time) is to sit down and write. You don’t need to start at the beginning (where a lot of people get tripped up). Just write. Patch what you’re writing together when you can or need to.

I hope everyone’s enjoying their holiday season! Mike, Silas, Sage, and I are still alive - all of this family togetherness hasn’t burned us out yet. But I have definitely taken refuge in my room with a book more than a few times. With my noise cancelling headphones. If you haven't checked out Straddling the Middle yet, check it out here. I'd love to read your feedback and thoughts!


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