I had a childhood dream. It was to become an author and illustrator of picture books. I loved stories and I loved art and it felt like the perfect fit for me.
As a teenager I was discouraged to pursue this because of the competitive nature of the book industry. Quiet frankly, I am grateful for that because looking back I don’t think I had the personal resilience required to follow my dream.
Fifteen years past and after having children of my own I started to think about it again. Yes, it was something I always wanted to do and if I didn’t have a crack at it, it was never going to happen. Needless to say the following 18 months were a lot of hard work but finally I was in a position to submit my manuscript to publishing houses.
What a high! Of course after all my efforts and sacrifices surely it was going to pay off!
Well, suddenly I realized why writers have a reputation for drinking tequila for breakfast. Rejection after rejection came (and some publishing houses I still haven’t, and don’t expect to ever hear from). I could have very nearly curled up into a ball and chalked the whole exercise up to experience, moving on to something easier. Something safer. I very nearly could have, but my pig-headedness just wouldn’t let me.
I borrowed the money to independently publish and here I am. It hasn’t come easily, but then again nothing worthwhile ever does? I am extremely pleased with the end result. Independent publishing allowed me design and manufacturing decisions which would have been denied me otherwise. I have sold more than 1000 copies in six months – and I thought writing/illustrating the book was the hard part!
Have I made a lot of mistakes? Yes - too many to count. Would I do it all again? Yes - in a heart beat.
And the story continues. I am so out of my depth in this industry and am daily chasing leads for marketing, working on the next book and juggling family life in there somewhere as well. I strongly believe I am at the beginning of my journey and there is so much more I will have to enjoy and endure. The reason for my conviction is simple. I know I am doing what I was born to do and I believe in my book, my product.
My advice to anyone thinking of following their dreams. There will be disappointments, so accept them and move on. There will be successes, to help you keep on, keeping on. There will be friends who support you, so hold them close. There will be friends who don’t. Your big dreams might be too confronting, so forgive them and accept it. Listen carefully to any advice anyone is kind enough to share with you and consider it. Believe deep down to your very core that not only can you do this, you can do it extremely well. I can guarantee that once you start the journey of dream chasing it won’t be anything like what you’d expected it to be, but boy, what a way to live!
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!