It’s been just over one year since I first self-published Dreams of Beautiful Whisper as an eBook. It’s been a pretty wonderful year as a few hundred copies of my book has made it’s way into the hands of readers. Certainly not off the charts, but a number I’ve been pleased with as it’s allowed me to kind of dip my toe to test the waters.
Generally speaking, I’m not a timid person. I’m not arrogant, but I don’t have low self-esteem either. I love me, I love my life and I’m proud of my accomplishments. So imagine my surprise when I realized just how incredibly nervous I was about putting my first book out to the public for strangers to love or hate.
This is why I found that the toe dipping approach worked well for me. While I love my friends and family, having them tell me that they loved or enjoyed my book felt biased and at times even challenging to fully believe – well of course they love it, they love me. I feel lucky to have a very wonderful and supportive network of people around me who truly believe in me.
But what made my heart soar even more, was when complete strangers, who don’t know a thing about me, started to give me feedback. The lowest rating I’ve received is 3-stars and even those still talk about how they enjoyed the book and look forward to reading the next one.
As a newbie to writing fiction, I’ve spent a ton of time researching the ins and outs of writing and publishing. One thing that has surprised me is the number of authors who say “just get it written and move on to the next one”. The theory is that a writer can get paralyzed by perfectionism. By needing to do just one more read through; one more re-write. From that angle, I get it and it does make sense. However, I’m not a dump and run kind of gal. Even after making my book available publicly, I still kept taking another look and pondering parts of what I’d written and what I hadn’t written. In my heart I knew there were more improvements that could be made.
So I kept reviewing and pondering and working with other people to get more feedback and suggestions. In the end, I’ve decided to go ahead with a pretty substantial re-write. Don’t panic if you’ve read the book! The actual “story” isn’t changing, but I do think that you’ll like the revisions when they’re all done. Plus I am still working hard on Book 2, which I hope to even better from the growth I’ve gone through and the way the Book 1 re-write will spill over into it.
Throughout this journey, I’ve learned that for the moment, I’m not in a position to be pumping out new books every 3-6 months. Perhaps when I’m able to write full-time that can happen, but not right now. And my grandfather always used to tell me that if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.
I’ve read books that have been published and reached incredible heights of success, only to find that I didn’t really find the writing to be anything spectacular. I don’t claim to be any sort of literary genius, not even close. I’m writing to entertain and hopefully to offer a little bit of light of positive influence to a few people. However, I still want to make sure that I put my absolute best foot forward.
So, for now, the current version of Dreams of Beautiful Whisper will be unpublished and I will also do my best to keep you updated more consistently on the progress.
Thank you for the part you have played so far in this journey – you’re the reason I want to offer my absolute best.
Well June was expected to be busy – it’s proving to be insane. I find I haven’t had as much time to sit and write as I would like, but I am definitely still plugging away at it. But even with not much actual writing time happening, my mind is constantly drawn to my characters and the story they want to share and they’re being pretty vocal. Can’t wait for the summer break when I’ll have more writing time available.
As people have been asking me what my books are about, I usually give the standard “Oh you know, it’s a young adult fantasy, with elves and magic.” But this weekend I spent some time pondering this a bit deeper. When I first wrote book one, Dreams of Beautiful Whisper, I had no deeper meaning or message that I was trying to convey. I decided I wanted to write a book, so I wrote it. It really was intended for entertainment purposes, not a life lesson. However, the more I analyze my own work (which by the way is kinda weird to do), I’ve come to realize that though it wasn’t intentional, there is in fact a deeper meaning and message within my book.
In most of my business life I have focused on how I can help the little guy, the small businesses that don’t qualify for any special grants or special treatment and struggle the good ‘ol fashion way to make ends meet. Surprisingly, these average, normal businesses are very large in numbers – in fact, I’d venture an educated-guess to say that they make up a majority of private sector businesses.
Without ever having thought much about it, I’ve come to realize that I’m actually a big fan and supporter of the “average” and the “normal” – our majority. I find that most people, if they’re inclined, look to fight for a cause that they can support and most often that ends up being a cause in support of a minority of some sort. Something that a relatively small percentage of our society is actually affected by directly.
Then you see a lot of comments go around regarding the apathy of Canadians, how so many don’t take up a cause and just keep to themselves. I’ve often considered myself to be in this apathetic group. I’m not an activist and I’m not a fan of anything taken to “extremes”. I’m a Libra, I like balance and I’m pro-choice on pretty much any topic you want to throw at me. Live and let live.
It was in pondering all of this that I had an ‘aha’ moment and it was during that moment that I realized that my philosophy and belief system has most definitely woven its way into my books.
I’ll likely get deeper into this topic over time, but for now, let’s suffice it to say this – my books are about normal, average teens who come from good, loving families, who are overall healthy and well adjusted. They’re comfortable with their lives for the most part and they are learning the skills of coping, managing and problem solving – they represent the majority and in essence pretty much all teens as they have been, are or will be at some point. The books are fiction, they are meant for entertainment, however, my characters are still dealing with issues regarding self-identity, family, relationships… and my characters deal with all of this in their own way – ways that are built on from a place of love, respect, compassion and empathy. There are no religious undertones in my books; there is no focus on minority issues; my books don’t revolve around sexuality, substance abuse, disorders etc. Yes those are all important issues and there are plenty of advocates for them. My books focus on the mainstream average teens, jazzed up via elves and magic, and reflect that teens do not need to be labelled or have some major issue in their lives in order to have real-life, day-to-day issues and problems that they need to cope with and problem solve around. But at the end of the day it’s really not “what” the issue is, it’s “how” the issue is dealt with and reacted to. Will our own teens be faced with learning that they are in fact an eighty-four year old elf with incredible powers? (That would be kinda cool in my opinion lol) No, they won’t, but they could very well be faced with learning that they were adopted or that their parents are getting a divorce or that their best friend is moving half way across the world. While we may not be able to pick and choose our “issues” we most certainly can pick and choose our reactions – it makes no difference at all how big or small the issue is.
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