Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Throwback Post: How Badly Do You Want It?

A while ago, I did a guest post on a blog called "At The Cool Table". That blog isn't around anymore, but I was going through old files and I found that guest post. A lot has happened since then but I think my sentiments on the matter are still the same. So, I wanted to share that with you all today.

How Badly Do You Want It?

The way that my first book came about was really sort of an “accident”. A happy accident.  See, I’ve wanted to be an author since I was eight. I write in a few different genres. At age fourteen I said that I would have some type of book published by age twenty. When this opportunity came along I was still twenty. My mom had sent a friend of hers, T. L. Bethel (author of Ramblings and Reflections of a Bahamian-American Poet). She asked him for advice on how to go about publishing something. He replied saying that he would help through the process. That was completely unexpected. The next day my mom was asking me “Do you want to publish a book of poetry?” I think that I was so taken aback that my answer was “Um, sure.” So T. L. Bethel and Lois Josephs (author of Prefaces and Deflections - as well as the now Mrs. T. L. Bethel) said that they would come over to help.

Then I realized that I would be publishing a book! I’d be doing what I had wanted to do since I was eight years old! Self-publishing. Hmm. I knew nothing about self-publishing. I decided to worry about that part later – the loading it and formatting it et cetera – when Tommy and Lois came over to guide us through the process. Now what I had in front of me was going through over two hundred poems to pick which ones would be in my debut poetry collection. A pretty daunting task. Daunting, but manageable.

However, there were times when I didn’t feel like working on it at all. I think that all writers get like this at least once in a while. And it can be extremely difficult to remind yourself what the end goal that you’re working toward is sometimes.  For me, the most difficult part was working through the chronic fatigue and all of the symptoms that come with my condition (the way it manifests in me), Nephropathic Cystinosis. And sometimes I would not work on it. I think that it’s okay to do that sometimes. Sometimes you just need to. Other times though, I would remind myself about the end goal and get back to work. I also showed prospective poems to my mom and asked for her opinion on which poems should go in the collection.

I picked out a photograph to go with each poem in the book (save for one) and then it was to the stages of uploading. Formatting and reformatting and uploading again until it looked right. That was frustrating and I am not too technologically savvy; so that I had a lot of help with from Tommy, Lois and my mom. I feel like this part took the longest.  (Also, if all of this is difficult now with all of our modern technology, can you imagine what it was like to self-publish before all of this?)

When I got the proof of my book in the mail though, all of that hard work was really worth it! I was holding a physical book by ME! Sure, it was only the proof and there were still changes to be made, but still. After all of that was done and I could share the link with everyone it was absolutely all worth it! Then comes marketing and building platforms et cetera. It is a lot of work, but if you really want it – and especially if you plan to keep doing this – it is all worth it at the end of each process! (Because there will be many). You just ask yourself: How badly do you want it?

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