I am here to tell anyone who is thinking about publishing their own book that it is possible to do it all by yourself! If I can do it…anyone can do it!
Last year was the first time I heard about the National Novel Writing Month, or to many, NaNoWriMo. I entered and wrote 50,000 words in one month and, let me tell you, as a disabled veteran, it wasn’t easy. Everything imaginable went wrong; I got real sick twice that month, I went to the emergency room, and I was behind on all my doctor’s visits. I was in horrible pain. I had missed church for months because of my pain prior to November, so I was feeling depressed as well. But, through prayer and encouragement, I refused to quit. I remember one of the days when I was at my worst, I sat in front of the TV all day with the laptop on my lap and typed one word in those twenty-four hours. It wasn’t because I didn’t know what to write. It was because I was literally so sick, I couldn’t even type or focus or do anything but sleep and wake up and sleep again. But I forced myself to try. Instead of staying in bed for the ten days I was sick that month, I forced myself to sit up with my laptop. And because of that, I finished a Novel that I was thinking about writing for years!
A few days later, I found out that my sister had to have major back surgery. She had 88 degree scoliosis. A straight, normal, healthy spine is at zero degrees. Immediately, I dropped what I was working on and started working on something especially for her. I wanted to do something special, something meaningful. I had back surgery before and knew what she’d be going through. So, I got a bunch of poems, specific poems that I wrote while I was in my highest level of pain throughout the years, and started to put them together. I didn’t even realize that I was going to write another book! This was just something for my sister. But, through NanoWrimo, I learned about CreateSpace. I checked it out and it took me a few days to read all the fine print (once you’ve joined the Marine corps, you learn to read fine print for the rest of your life). I decided to roll with them and try it out.
I must say that it was an extremely easy process! The only thing that I can say gave me a headache working on the book was the formatting because it is a poetry book. But other than that, CreateSpace makes everything extremely easy to understand and they walk you through each step. You can make as many changes as you wish and you can proof your book online for free! So, long story short, I published my book!
I remember seeing the look on my family’s face when they saw the book. It was so touching, my eyes got watery because their eyes were watery and all of us were watery eyed…Lol. It was awesome. And to hear my little sister read it as soon as she opened the book, to hear her read the words I put together just for her…That meant everything in the world to me. I thought to myself, “My work here is done.”
Little did I know, It was nowhere near done! My mom started talking about getting copies to sell to her friends and how God is using me to touch the lives of others…boy, was I wrong! I thought this was a one time deal. But, I went forward with it. When I got back home, I started to work on this site. I also started to open up my channels as far as selling the book through amazon and third-party vendors. Then, I made the big step.
I was at the Washington, D.C. Veterans Hospital and decided to talk to someone about selling my book at the canteen store, which is just a store in the hospital that is like a convenience store. I asked the lady at the register this: “How would I go about selling my book here?” I felt so silly. She said to go to the back door and knock on it and someone will help me. I did and a nice lady asked me a few questions and referred me to the side door…Lol. I knocked there and talked to another nice lady that gave me the number to the person I had to speak to. he was busy at the moment, so I left him a copy of my book and my telephone number. I also took down his name and number. I called him the next day and he referred me to another party, which, when I called, ended up being a salon. Yep, story of my life. So, I had to call him back. This was a big decision-making moment. Do I call him or don’t I? Am I being silly about all this? Is it even possible?
So, I finally make the call and get bad news. He explained to me that ever since the VA hospitals allowed people from the library to come in and offer the Veterans free books to check out, book sales at the Canteen have been extremely low. He said it is so sad because the books that were being sold were from disabled veterans like myself. So, he gave me the option of calling back the guy I talked to earlier and asking him if I can do a book signing. It was my only option. I had to make another phone call.
I called the Canteen manager back and told him what happened. He agreed that it was very unfortunate and gave me more bad news. He said that they weren’t allowed to do book signings in the lobby at this time (I think because they are having construction done right now) and the atrium was booked up until next year. It was exactly what I expected to hear. So, I’m sure right now you are saying to yourself, “But your title says you got a book signing!” Why…yes, yes it does! Lol. So, he says the only thing he can offer me is a long table in the cafeteria for a book signing at this time. Of course, I, on the other line, almost jumped up and down, but my voice said, Okay, that’s fine…LOL.
He transferred me to one of the ladies I talked to earlier and she got everything set up. She said I can come as many times as I want to do this as long as I schedule it in advance. She also told me to call in July to set up an appointment to hold the atrium next year. She was very nice and made me feel very happy about the whole situation. So, I am now in the process of getting two small poster boards to put on the table just to bring some attention my way so people don’t think I’m having lunch…LOL.
If you would like to meet me during this time, I will be at the Washington, D.C., Veterans hospital on Friday, April 27, 2012, in the Cafeteria between the hours of 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM, depending on my back. I hope to see you there!
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