Once upon a time I was a young teenage writer who dreamed of becoming a published author. I even began work on a vampire themed book that I called Vampiryss. Looking back on it, my whole concept was laughable. At the time though, I was so confident and happy with my choice of subject. Vampire fiction always fascinated me. I was always more into the vicious sort of vamps than the sparkly ones (no offense to anyone who likes those that glitter). So my story was going to be about this female vampire created by Lucifer who didn’t know the world outside of hell, but gets released to wreak havoc or what-not. There was much more to the story of my little vamp and where it was going, but I never completed even a draft of her. I had started several in a two or three year span during my teenage dreaming days. I think the day I opted to share some of Vampiryss with someone who laughed at it and said it was “cute” kind of crushed me on the idea. I lost my confidence for a while when it came to novel writing. It didn’t help that I was already in the throes of my battle with depression and anxiety that the response was a lot harder for my young self to take.
In the following years I put my dream of being an author on the back burner. I still had the dream of finding my way into a major publishing house, getting an awesome editor to work with, going on book tours, and of course seeing my book on the shelves of stores everywhere. It was an amazing dream and secretly I held it in my heart while I tried looking at other creative venues.
For a brief period I was in a mix of photography and music. I wanted to be a singer. I sang all the time in my bedroom, but lacked the true confidence of a stage performer to really follow through on all that. Although I did make it as far as getting myself a Yahoo! Group with a stage name and recording clips of me singing. I did get the opportunity to sing once for a producer over the phone. He had contacted me about a fan site I was running on someone he had worked with in the past. I was proud of myself for seizing the opportunity to bring up my own music, but my nerves helped me try to sound too much like the person whose song I sang for him. At the time I naturally had regrets in how that conversation with the producer went, but eventually I was able to let those regrets go. After all I never sent out demos or really pursued it beyond what I had done. Thus everything with me and the dream of a music career inevitably fizzled out.
Photography on the other hand was something I practiced off and on for years. When I was a teenager I always purchased disposable cameras every chance I could. I constantly took pictures of people, places, things, etc. During our teenage years and into our early twenties I can’t even tell you how many photo shoots my best friend since the age of four posed for. When I was eighteen I was given my first digital camera. It was an HP branded thing that I absolutely loved and hung onto for years. It took my picture taking level up as I was able to take more, unload onto a computer, and even upload online. I started a MySpace page for my photography and even joined a forum for photographers of various levels. For the life of me I cannot remember the name of the site, but I will never forget the constructive critiques I happily received. I’ll also never forgot that a photographer from the site reached out to me in a private message encouraging me to continue and offered me a free tripod. I still have that tripod to this day. It has come in handy quite a bit.
While photography was definitely more of a successful creative splash for me than music, it was not really that difficult for me to eventually realize that it’s more of a passionate hobby than a career path for me. I still enjoy photography to this day. I absolutely love taking photos, but I knew in my heart where I locked away that author dream it wasn’t the career I was destined to pursue.
Now to be clear during these phases of my life, I never stopped writing. I dabbled online even having at one point somehow got involved with a Britney Spears fan site that I wrote a few articles for. (I still have those printed somewhere…) Beyond that though I never stopped writing for myself, I just didn’t do it for the public. By the time I realized photography was not going to be a real career for me, I found that I could no longer deny to myself that I really wanted to be a writer. That was my dream. I never fully let go of it, but in my battles of self-doubt (which depression and anxiety were of no help), I continuously held myself back and didn’t really admit it out loud.
It was a blessing to me the day I was introduced into role playing (RP). Role playing – at least the kind I participated in, is a form of great fiction writing. It’s where a group of writers (of various levels) can get together create characters, storylines, plot extra things, writing scenes together, writing narratives, writing in first and third person. As someone who often felt almost shut in with my mental health issues off and on over the years, it was a huge help for me to get out of my bubble. I was constantly interacting with people both IC (in character) and OOC (out of character). It helped me push out of my comfort zone and take such pleasure in not only sharing things I wrote with others – but writing and co-creating things with other writers as well. I loved it. Sure there were special times when you felt like you found a fruit loop in the bunch that couldn’t separate their fiction from reality, but I really enjoyed it overall. I think my time spent in RP helped me push myself back into the driver’s seat of pursuing a writing career in the way I really wanted to.
In my RP days I did start my original blog back in late 2011. It was my first step in really pushing myself out there publicly as a writer. I loved it. I found myself involved in a couple of really interactive blog communities where I was connecting with other bloggers. Places that sadly no longer exist. I enjoyed writing that blog, but unfortunately it died out for me. I went through a lot in the personal life towards the end of that site. One of the changes that occurred was I stopped drinking coffee. My old tagline for that blog was “another coffee addicted writer on the loose”. It tripped me up. Who was I as a blogger if I was without my coffee? I tried to continue, but I lost myself. I think I got a little too swept up in other changes that took place in my life in that time frame and I had temporarily lost my blogging voice.
I still had RP in the time I stopped my old blog. It kept me writing and it became my happy place. Sadly, I did have a phase of my life where it became extremely difficult for me to leave my bedroom, let alone go out in the world with friends. I’ll save that whole anxiety ridden saga for another time though. RP was my escape in that time frame. I allowed myself to hide in RP as a writer. I couldn’t fathom the idea until November of 2016 was approaching that I really could do this. Though I never stopped creating ideas and taking mental notes on stories that would be awesome to write. I would occasionally post on social media pages hoping that something wouldn’t turn solid and I would convince myself I could do it. Unfortunately for me, it really didn’t take quite a long time for me to be able to push myself to do pursue this.
Vini’s Story as I recently mentioned in a previous post, was originally just going to be something I wrote for a faux-celeb character I had, as I approached National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the first time. I had heard of NaNoWriMo for several years prior and always wanted to try it, but never had the nerve. I’m not really sure what finally struck me to try it, but as soon as I started writing I realized Vini’s Story wasn’t going to be for RP. You can read my post “Where’s Vini’s Story?” for more on that though. I will share again here though that it was in that moment that I finished the first draft and won NaNoWriMo I knew I was going to publish. I had just proved to myself that I could actually finish a book.
Around that time is when I have to say I discovered the idea of self-publishing through watching “AuthorTube”. A term for the YouTube channels by published authors of both the traditional and indie variety. It was more specifically through the latter that I discovered a few different print-on-demand (POD) companies. These companies’ help authors publish their books and get them listed in major online book sellers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. So the author doesn’t have to stockpile copies of their books in one huge order and try to sell copies out of the trunk of their car.
Now here we get into the dream of being a published author again. I’ve known for a long time that I didn’t want to just write for adults. I want to eventually write for children too. Maybe even dabble in some YA writing. I love books, I love reading a variety of genres, and I don’t like the idea of limiting myself as a writer. I feel in my research I’ve found that pretty much most to all publishing houses are going to want you to stick to a certain niche, especially in the beginning. They also are in control of how often you publish; perhaps even for newbie authors the covers of your books, and just a plethora of other things I’m not so much okay with relinquishing control over.
So why am I choosing to self-publish? It’s a total control thing. I’m not afraid of receiving rejection letters or any of that, and I assure you I handle criticism in my writing way better as I’ve gotten older. Truly this was not easy decision to make. After all writing is my dream career and I am taking this all very seriously as I make progress into publishing my debut novel. I want to be able to publish what I want and when. I also want to have final say on book covers, formatting, and other aspects in publishing and promotion that again I’ll get into as I continue to share this journey of self-publication I’m on. Please note that I have nothing against traditional publishing, I just feel for me on my personal journey as an author that self-publishing will work best.
So I obviously got really long winded on this post. I just really felt the importance of sharing some of my backstory leading up to when I came into the idea of self-publishing and making that decision. I will try not to let future posts get so lengthy, but I really can’t make that a promise at this time. Ha! Seriously though if you just read this whole thing, please go to my contact page and e-mail me your address. I will send you a free bookmark (and maybe a bonus one from an upcoming semi-secret project). Thanks for your time, being on this journey with me, and I hope you enjoy my upcoming posts about self-publishing.
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