I remember the first time I saw one of those bumper stickers that proclaimed: Happiness is a journey, not a destination. I thought it was kind of hippy trippy, but then again, at my core, so was I.
Though I tried to dismiss the thought, it kept coming back to me. The more it did, the more it made sense. I’d spent so much time being disappointed with things in my life, never taking the time to celebrate the things I had achieved.
Adopting this philosophy, that happiness is to be found in everything we do, every day of our lives, rather than some absolute point of complete and utter bliss, turned around my way of thinking. I felt freer, more joyful and I was willing to take on new projects. Even the ones that scared me to death, like getting published.
When I realized that this month’s topic was the road to publication, I drew a blank slate. Sure, there’s the basic story of how I discovered the digital-first market through a successful pitch contest on RomanceUniversity.org. I didn’t accept that particular publisher’s offer (thankfully), but the success prompted me to pitch three other digital-first publishers, Carina Press being one of them. I still remember how thrilled I was to receive The Call from Angela James.
But that doesn’t feel like the complete story. As if getting that call, or even seeing my first and then second novels published, was the end of the story. In many ways I feel like I’ve only begun to scratch the surface. Like a mountain climber who has only just arrived at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro. Sure, maybe I look the part and have all the gear. But, there’s still a long way to go, baby.
Before I became a published author, I had the same misconception about publication I once held about happiness. I thought publication was a be-all, end-all destination.
Publishing is a journey, baby. And it ain’t for the weak of heart.
I’m thrilled to be published with Carina Press and I plan to pitch two or three additional stories to my current publisher. Late last month I was excited to hold a print copy of my debut novel in my hot little hands. It’s not in English, mind you. It’s in Italian. Still, I’m doing cartwheels and hording gelato in celebration of the recent release of Una stagione eccitante, my first foreign language edition, which marks another milestone in my journey of publication.
Next, I’m eager to jump into the arena of indie publishing. Okay, perhaps jump isn’t the right word. I’m carefully wading into the waters, soaking up the wisdom of all of the fabulous authors who are blazing a trail and graciously leaving a road map for the rest of us.
Does that mean I’m against traditional publishing?
Not at all.
In fact, I have a story I believe would work well as part of a series for a traditional, Big 5 publisher. At some point that means I’ll be pitching it to agents via email or at a conference.
Like many authors, I embrace the hybrid author publication trek. The tumultuous changes in the publication industry no longer seem scary. They’re freeing. Authors can approach publication in whatever manner best suits them. The only thing that truly matters is that we produce the very best stories we can for our readers. The method by which that story comes to birth has taken a quiet back seat to the depth and quality of the story itself.
Just like a mountain, the publishing journey has peaks and valleys. Moments of great pride and joy followed by moments in which we must regroup and lick our wounds. The key is to celebrate each success along that journey while wearing our scars like a badge of honor.
Publication isn’t a destination, baby. It’s a journey. And I’m celebrating every moment of it.
Happiness is a journey courtesy of Alexis Gordon. Some rights reserved.
Mount Kilimanjaro courtesy of Pius Mahimbi. Some rights reserved.