I remember the first time I sat down with my kindle and tried to read a self-published book. I can’t remember the title or the name of the author because I never followed through and bought it, but I recall it being bad … as in, really bad. It was a polarizing experience along with being a waste of time. I started to believe, from one book, that all independent books were of equal quality. And, I was wrong. Very wrong.
The truth, some Indie choose to be Indie. Some are forced into it by the closed-door policy of Legacy publishers. Some are simply hobbyists by nature, writing in their free time and publishing on a whim when they can.
As my time with THE MILESTONE TAPES winds down, I’m in a place mentally where I can look back on the journey and see everything — all the good and bad for what it is and was and will always be. I’m about to step off the cliff, I’m about to publish the book after 365 days of worry, stress, joy, sweat, tears. This moment, right now, is everything I wanted and everything I worked for … to see it click together is, in a word, boggling.
I don’t know if I’ll always be an Independent. I don’t know if I’ll sign up for this for my whole life or if someday I’ll decide to do things a different way. But I do know, despite my original aspirations, I’m happy things worked out just as they did. I can say with all honesty I have no regrets about how things turned out me and THE MILESTONE TAPES… there is a certain first-time charm that my mistakes, they were my own, and that the learning curve, though it has been steep and fraught with challenges, is the sum of my own accomplishments … and of all that, and it’s terrifying and beautiful.
I’ve said books aren’t babies … but I’m wrong. They are every bit the child of the writer. They are labors of love and patience, and you raise them … and then you send them out into the world. I don’t know, knowing what I know now, if I could have done this any other way … with this book, I’m glad I held on to it, I think I needed to learn a lot before I could take myself seriously. I don’t know if I could have given up control entirely … from the cover to the content and still felt tied in. I don’t know if I was ready for that.
I find now that I can’t sleep. I lay awake at night mentally preparing myself for pushing the “approve” button beside my title and letting it go on and do what it’s going to do. I have fears … I scared I’m going to fail, scared that I wrong about this whole thing and that I made mistakes and my book sucks and I’m not ready for this at all. What if no one likes it? Horrified that this is the end of my time with THE MILESTONE TAPES … that’ll I never be able to go back and change this or add that or refine or rephrase. I’m exhausted from the loop of self-doubt, and it’s holding me … which I absolutely hate.
But, at the same time, I’m oddly at peace. Happy that I did it, that I told the story of the Chamberlands. It was a dream … a total fluke inspired by a vacation. I wasn’t destined to do this … but I did anyway.
So … I am going bravely into this new reality having fought my way through this publishing web. THE MILESTONE TAPES will be published March 13th, 2012.