I’m sitting on my couch on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, battling the cold that has been making me feel lethargic for the past few days. Fortunately, I had enough “indoor time” to finish up my second novel this morning. I did a little happy dance after finishing my first draft, and then I decided to celebrate…by plopping down on my couch and guzzling two cups of tea (I’m not really in a party mood because of my seemingly endless cold).
My “couch time” has given me an opportunity to think about what I’ll do with my second zombie book. Naturally, I’ll have to wait until after I’ve completed several rounds of self-editing, enlisting beta readers, and hiring a professional editor or two. But what’s a writer to do with his or her completed manuscript? I happily self-published my first book without even considering putting it in a drawer to let it collect dust. I’m sure it was because I needed validation. I had just celebrated my thirtieth birthday, and I wanted to publish my book as a way of saying, “Hey, look! I did something with my life.” My experience with self-publishing was great, but I’ve spent the last few hours of my “couch time” weighing the pros and cons of publishing my work. To be honest, all I could think about were the positive experiences I’ve had since publishing Jordan’s Brains six months ago.
The friendships that I’ve formed with readers and other authors are so special to me, and I’m immensely grateful to have such a close group of writer friends. I know it sounds silly, but I feel like when you read someone’s book, you get to know a part of them that they wouldn’t necessarily show the world in their everyday life. In books, authors get to say things they wouldn’t normally say, and make their characters do things they might not have the courage to do in real life.
Publishing a book can make authors feel vulnerable because they really are baring their soul to anyone willing to pay a small fee for their book. But there’s something freeing about writing down your innermost thoughts and feelings, and being able to share it with others. Writing a novel is a fulfilling experience, but there’s something special about going the extra step and publishing your work.
After you publish a book, it’s inevitable that readers will review your work. It’s an intense feeling when someone reviews your book, your baby that you’ve poured your heart and soul into. Whether the review is negative or positive, it’s an incredible feeling when your work makes an impact on a stranger. Even the negative reviews are welcome because they can offer helpful advice on how to improve the author’s writing. If writers never let their manuscripts see the light of day, then they won’t know what it feels like to read a review by someone who has enjoyed their work.
Writing a novel is a rewarding experience on its own, but going the extra step and publishing your book allows you to share your work with the world. Sure, not everyone will enjoy it, and that’s fine. But if only one person reads your book and finds joy and meaning in your writing, then all the time and money you spent working on publishing your book will be worth it. Knowing that your work can touch someone’s life is an indescribable feeling, and that is the best part of publishing!