Recently someone said to me, "No growth happens inside your comfort zone." Okay, so she said it to about 200 people, but she may as well be talking right to me.
Lately I've had all sorts of crazy ideas about my writing career. Most of them have to do with getting more books out to readers. How is anyone going to know they love my writing if they don't know it's out there? The simple answer is: They WON'T.
When I started down this path a few years ago (5, 6--but who's counting) in earnest, I abandoned all those things I used to love. Hiding from people. Doing my level best not to draw attention to myself. Coming in under everyone's radar as much as humanly possible. I knew I'd have to step out of that shell in order to sell books.
But it was hard. Sometimes I'd creep back in. Being "out" all the time was like standing on the sun without any SPF 3000.
Writing is what I love. It's that part of my soul that was missing. It's what makes this wife and mom a complete being. For a while I let my job and having to home school my daughter and my husband's two jobs serve as my excuses for not spending as much time out of my comfort zone as I should.
I paid for that, in a way. The Peasant Queen didn't sell enough copies to justify the publisher picking up the sequel. That was in large part due to my choices, and in small part due to the economy. Publishing is a business. They are there to make money. I understand that, and I'm at peace with it. My past choices have put me on a different path for The Tyrant King, and I own my responsibility for that.
Self publishing means an utter destruction of my comfort zone. Nobody is helping me sell books (aside from loving, caring friends and family) to strangers. I have to do that. It's up to me. There is no such thing as an overnight success. What people don't see are the years of crushing disappointments that came before. Just because you never heard of someone before they're "breakout debut" doesn't mean they weren't working toward that goal all along.
This is me. Writing is my life. Publishing/marketing is my job.
Yesterday I spoke to the local librarian about a book signing in May. I came away with a tentative offer to teach a creative writing class to kids in the summer.
Not a bad first step out of that comfort zone, I think.