I was 17 years old when my first notions of writing a book surfaced. It was a feeling in my bones—no deeper than my bones—that it was simply part of my life journey. I didn’t know why, how or when, but I knew it would manifest someday. Throughout my twenties and early thirties, I continued plugging away on my manuscript but was still unsure of my story’s significance out in the world, so I just wrote and saved, wrote and saved.
At age 35, after my daughter was born, my determination to publish my book blossomed as well. The urgency to get my story out into the world became like a force of nature. Soon, it didn’t matter if it was “good enough.” It just mattered that it was my story, authentically told, for the power in that was undeniable.
When I set out to enter a Hay House Publishing Contest later that same year, in which the winning author would receive a $10,000 book advance and a publishing contract, I gave myself permission to graduate from amateur to “professional.” I made regular writing appointments with myself in the midst of my teaching job and taking care of my family, and attended a large Hay House Writer’s Workshop. The excitement of publishing my story was tempered by the intimidation I felt, as there were literally thousands of capable writers with the very same goal.
The Hay House contest deadline allowed me four months to complete my contest entry. Soon I had a met my goal of a 35,000-word manuscript, completed proposal and book trailer. Of course, there were some detours along the way (kids getting ill, paper grading, cooking dinner, etc.) but nothing my laser focus and supportive hubby couldn’t surmount. On entry day, I sent off my email and attachments for judgment. The winner was announced on the Hay House website a few weeks later, and while I could see how fantastic the winner was, I was quietly devastated for about a week. I told myself perhaps I was not meant to publish my story after all, but my intuition said to be patient and trust.
Months passed, and I surrendered to my other life responsibilities. Suddenly, the writing wave rose again. I had just given birth to my son, and all at once, there was an entire section to add. I rode that wave, adding another chapter here and another there, which seemed to validate that this too, was a step in my writing journey. Trust.
As for the publishing dilemma, the answer came to me in a lucid thought that suggested I simply publish it myself as an e-book. Why hadn’t I thought of that before? My eyeballs were soon glued to my phone, reading Publishing eBooks for Dummies by Ali Luke, late a night while my family slept. After only a few pages, that familiar “zing” of confirmation radiated through me, and I knew this was another step in the right direction. That book served as my map for the next six months and literally took me through each stage of my self-publishing journey.
When it came time for the Moonflower book cover, I knew only an experienced artist would be right for the job. Regina Wamba of MaeIDesign was extremely intuitive and beautifully captured the essence of my story on the first draft with only a few minor edits. Once it was done, I felt like a bona fide author. The excitement filled my heart, as my dream began to materialize before my eyes.
Formatting my manuscript was like writing in a foreign language I didn’t speak. I did the best I could with Microsoft Word, but instead of pulling out my hair and wasting valuable time, I sought the pros at E-book Launch. I emailed my manuscript on a Wednesday, and it was ready for uploading at any e-book retailer in just two days! Success! In the meantime, I submitted my online copyright registration and drafted my book summaries.
The journey of self-publishing has been both arduous and fulfilling with its setbacks and small victories along the way. However, the responsibilities and hard work were definitely outshined by the sweet satisfaction of freedom. One nugget of advice I can give to any indie author when faced with issues like cover design and e-book formatting is to outsource whenever possible. Writing is your domain, so focus on what you do best. The other stuff, which I lovingly refer to as “the details,” can be worked out with minimal stress and expense with a little research. In the end, sharing the load will help to create a more enjoyable self-publishing journey. After all, we write because we love it. Let’s keep it that way!
Tara is an incest, rape and sexual assault survivor, a teacher, a wife, a mother, a Reiki master, and an author.
As a rape and sexual assault survivor, who struggled for many years, yet came out on the bright side, one of Tara’s goals is to help fellow survivors feel less alone, less crazy, and more inspired.
Tara spent much of her life feeling “wrong” and being quiet due to some very tough circumstances that shook her to the core. After a spiritual awakening on one of her darkest nights, Tara began to embrace her own power to transform past trials into dreams come true.
Writing her story has helped Tara retrieve her voice and find additional creative outlets. Publishing her book has simply made her story available to those who may benefit from it.
These days, Tara puts most of her energy into raising her two children, enhancing her creative life, and living her best life ever. But because she is a Survivor, Tara will always walk a healing path—healing for herself and for others.
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