It's been over a year since I made an entry here. I could offer myriad reasons as to why or why not but the truth is a bit less glamorous. Motivation. Yep. Being motivated takes, well, motivation. And, what with putting two books together in a year's span and then the endless road to sell said books, it's hard to just sit and write.
I'm not sure why today was that day. I suppose because I wasn't doing anything else at this moment. Not exactly inspiring words but honest. So allow me to bring y'all up to speed. My first book, Forgotten Alabama, was released in early March of 2016. March was not my intended date. That was three months prior. Suffice to say, doing a book is not a journey for the weak hearted. Everything I did on this road to published existence was the first time I had done it. To say it's a steep learning curve is an understatement. I managed to find a publisher to take a chance on me in the summer of 2015. That began the process. First the ideas about what I wanted to do. Then how I wanted to lay it out. Then working on the preface. Then came the cover design followed by the dust jacket design. Then, months later, ultimately laying it out. My publisher had started with the first ten pages and had done it in Microsoft Word. Since time was of the essence, and Christmas was no longer months but mere weeks away, I finished the layout on my own. For 27 straight hours, I dragged and dropped. Wrote cut-lines for each and every photo. And crashed and crashed and crashed. Not me. The software of satan...Microsoft Word. Turns out it's not an ideal platform for what I was wanting to do. I figured by the time it was done, Word had crashed around 200 times. But it was finally ready. Convert to PDF and send it off to the printer. However, by this time, having a book for Christmas was not to be. It's not liking taking it to Staples and make some copies. Nope, this is a months-long journey as well. All told, seven months had elapsed from inception to an actual book.
And the funny thing? That was the easy part. As I said earlier, everything I did on this journey was the first time I did it. Who knew that selling the book would be the worst yet to come. Yep, just because you think you have an awesome book does not exactly sway others. It's endless promotion. It's promotion that borders on shameless because, well, I'd like to recoup my investment. Or at least break even. It's finding small bookstores that would be willing to carry it. Festivals. Arts & Craft shows. I even did City Fest in Alabaster (not my niche as it turns out) and Liberty Day in Columbiana (better choice but then the rain came. Not just rain. More like a deluge) and 1st Friday in Helena (super nice people to deal with by the way). But, experience being the cruel mistress she can be, I learned. Then I finally found something that worked. I didn't find it actually. I was asked to come do a presentation at the Albert Scott Library in Alabaster by a lovely lady named Carol Smith. I had never done anything like this before. I needed to learn Powerpoint. I needed choose the best photos and talk about them. I needed people to see what I saw and feel what I felt. I managed to put something together and see what happened. I was nervous. So nervous that I was there over an hour before I was scheduled. In fact, the library wasn't even open yet.
Many of y'all may not know this but I used to operate satellite trucks for sports and TV news. I even freelanced in it. I was doing live shots for NBC news and the Weather Channel. There ain't no room for error and a deadline is not flexible. Talk about high stress. At first, I was terrified. But eventually, I got comfortable with it and did my job with little effort. But this was a whole new frontier.
The time came. I welcomed everyone and began my story. As it turns out, I did ok.
And sold a few books. Carol, I am forever in your debt. Thank you.
Just a passing thought really. From time to time, someone will approach me and talk about the book they always wanted to publish. I just smile. I don't have the heart to ask them, "Are you sure?"