Book Two Doubts

I did not have high expectations for my first book. I wrote it because I had to; it was the only way to move forward. I received a lot of support from family and my mom’s work friends that I did not expect, but it was very much welcomed. Even before I published Discovering My Outside Voice, I had a list of additional books I wanted to write (including a novel I started years ago that I want to finish) and I planned to get started right away with book number two. However, after several weeks of sitting in front of my computer with semi-drafted thoughts for these essays, I couldn’t get myself to actually work on them.

I keep going back and forth between finishing the novel and completing the next book of essays (life, religion, and relationships). I have a couple of dilemmas that are weighing on me, however.

With the novel: I have about half of it written, but it needs a good edit—there are some details I want to change about particular characters, and I also need to clean up the storyline since I’d changed it a few times before I got it to where it is now. The problem is, editing a 50,000-word story isn’t as simple as editing one of my short stories or essays. It’s easy to go back to page 3 of 5 and fix some details but trying to remember all the details to go back and change things in this much larger story is giving me a headache. How do y’all do it?

I have a plan, though. A somewhat tedious, but hopefully helpful, plan. I intend to print out the entire document and highlight each character’s story/details in a different color and then edit by color until I fix the entire thing. 😀 It doesn’t sound as simple when I write it out like this, but that’s the only thing I can think of that will organize my editing process with this story (and the multiple storylines within this story).

With the essays: I’m not sure which direction I should go or how thoroughly I should get into things. My first book was incredibly personal and vulnerable, especially regarding childhood traumas and my mental health over the past two years. Thing is, letting people into my head is a lot less invasive than letting them into my body. I didn’t have any hesitation about exposing myself to strangers in my writing, but the reality of people who’ve known me for a long time reading my first book makes me really uncomfortable about exposing the more intimate thoughts and experiences required of this next book of essays. Part of me says not to make the essays too detailed so people aren’t privy to such intimate knowledge of me, but the other part says to be real or don’t write it at all. My brother suggested I talk to my therapist about this one lol.

I thought I was stuck because I didn’t know what to write next, but I’m realizing some things. The first is that I’m tired. The content of book one, as well as the writing and self-publishing process itself, took a lot out of me. Second, I’m not sure how to write the next book. I don’t even know which book should be the next book—the novel or the essays. My idea to work on them simultaneously was not a good one.

I’m not writing these books to be famous, and Outside Voice hasn’t made any bestseller lists or anything, but I love writing and I want to see my name on more books. It’s really that simple. Thing is, I don’t want to publish anything I feel is inauthentic to my experiences or who I am. I may just have to tell a couple people they can’t read the essays (though that will probably make them even more curious to read it). I feel like I should talk to somebody about this!

There are very few people who even know about some of these experiences, so I can’t just call up one of my friends and ask for advice without pre-exposing my business. It really boils down to my mom, two of my cousins, and my therapist, and I already know my cousins are probably going to acknowledge why it would be uncomfortable and then encourage me to tell my truth and not care about other people’s opinions/thoughts/feelings. But it’s also like… do I want people to know this about me?

Maybe my brother is right—this is work for therapy.

While I work through that mess, I have to find the cheapest place to print the first half of my novel so I can edit. My dad’s printer hates my laptop and will either not connect to print, or it’ll print one page and stop, so printing at home isn’t an option. Where do people print things (inexpensively) when they don’t have a printer? Do I have to buy a printer now? Ugh, I hate the very thought. I used to have one but then didn’t and I don’t remember the conversation I had with myself that led to me getting rid of it.

Anyway, you know I will update you as I come to clarity about the next book. In the meantime…

Happy reading!

My First Book Signing

It’s funny how we have ideas in our heads about what we want and what we will or won’t do and how we so often end up doing things we said we wouldn’t or not doing things we said we would. When I started seriously working on the publishing process for Discovering My Outside Voice, I had no intentions of promoting it, let alone getting it into a local store or having a book signing. This started as a passion project and still is for the most part, but I’m now a bit more excited about how exposure for the book can change my plans in great ways.

Over the weekend, I had my first book signing at the most adorable bookstore we’ve ever had in Clermont, FL. Our family moved to Clermont in 2001, and there have been a couple bookstores that have made their way into the downtown area, but none of them lasted more than a few years. As a person who likes cute local bookstores, it was always a bummer when the store would move out of the area or close down entirely. But now we have Sunshine Book Co. to enjoy, and I hope they stick around a while.

Sunshine’s owner, Beth, has been incredible since the first day I walked into the store. She was incredibly welcoming and made this whole process so simple. She has an entire shelf dedicated to local authors, and it was fun to look through and see if I recognized any of the names. There are a few books on local history, and I definitely recognized some of the names written about in those books.

For my signing, I arrived just as the store was opening Sunday as I had the 11am-1pm time slot. Beth had a little bag with a bottle of water, a mint, and the store’s bookmark sitting on the table, and then laid out a blanket as a table cover. I’d brought five copies of the book (in addition to the copies already in the store) and laid them out on the table along with the bookmarks I’d had made previously as advertising material.

I spent much of the day chatting with Katherine, a retired massage therapist and fellow author who recently moved to the area. I was visited by friends, family, my mom’s girl gang from work, and also met a few new faces—Lori and Jessica—who each purchased a copy of the book. I was incredibly excited to see my stack of books dwindle to nothing as people came in to purchase and have me sign their copies.

This was the first in-person event for Discovering My Outside Voice, and I’m actually excited about the possibility of doing more. I have saved a video to watch about doing a virtual book signing. I really enjoyed the in-person book signing (more than I thought I would), but I’m also curious about the virtual signing process, so we’ll see what that’s about.

I will make it known when I have other events on the calendar. I’m excited to see where this book takes me.

Happy Reading!

A Book Cover Reveal

New post on a Friday? Something must be happening!

Yup! My book cover has been finalized! YAY!! I’ve been impressed by the most complicated part of myself to reveal it slowly on Instagram over the next few weeks.

Now, you could check out our Instagram page every Friday and Tuesday for the next six weeks to see each piece revealed in what hopefully turns out to be a beautiful 12-post spread on our feed, or you could just visit our IG in 6 weeks to see the full image… whatever feels good in your spirit… but I hope you choose the first option.

We’ll still have a new post here every Tuesday, so don’t worry, but this seems like the loveliest way to do a cover reveal. The book itself will be released in November, so stay tuned for more info on that.

To release party or not to release party? That is the question. I’m thinking something a little personal, a little virtual, but definitely putting the book cover on a Publix sheet cake and taking more pictures of it than appropriate!

If you have any ideas on how you’d like to celebrate this book release with me, I’m open to suggestions!

The first little corner is on IG now… go check it out… or wait 6 weeks. Totally up to you (whispers: go check it out!).

Happy Reading!