Part One: The End of Perfecting
Finally, I’d been wanting to do this for such a long time. It sounds strange but I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I only have a limited memory of my childhood so maybe that’s why, but it’s always been a pass time of mine. I’ve always read and wrote in cycles, reading half of a book I’d found then beginning to write my own, or continuing a previous work. At the time I reached High School I had completed two full manuscripts. I never published them of course and they are gone now, but that’s a thought for another time. Right now, I need to put the finishing touches on my latest manuscript. While I adjusted the words on the cover to the placement, I wanted I thought about how I’d gotten here. Like I said, my previous manuscripts are gone now but, this manuscript contains some poetry that survived that loss hidden in a notebook from way back in middle school. I did the math in my head, that was eight years ago. I’ve of course broken down, edited, and re-written them so many times saying they are the same poem as they were way back when is a bit of a white lie; none the less I’ve finally done it. I’ve completed a book of sorts and I’m going to publish.
The words on the cover were arranged in the way I wanted, and I logged onto the Amazonian page to self-publish. Unfortunately, I discovered quite quickly that they take too much of the royalties for my liking. So instead? I decided to make my own website and sell my book myself there. It would be a challenge, but it would encourage me to continue my hobbies. I am also an artist which allows me to create the cover art and any other art I desire for my writing, which can make it an engaging hobby. Anyway, that’s just what I did, I created multiple social media sites for my art and some of the poems left out of my book, a way to engage potential readers, or draw people to my reading through the art drawn for it. After they were set up and the website was purchase and designed, I created the shopping cart and started sharing the book on all the social media platforms I had created.
Within a few days I had gained a following on these platforms, still no sales but I watched my numbers go up from less than a handful of people to a dozen. Then two dozen. Then three dozen. My excitement kept building.
Then it happened.
“Hello! I am interested in your book! Could you send me the links?” This is it, holy shit. That’s the only thought that goes through my mind as I reply with the excitement of a child at Christmas. “Yes of course!” I proceed to send them the links. Then the waiting happens. Oh god the waiting, it’s dreadful. Minutes move by like hours then I hear the tell-tale ding of my email notification.
It’s my account “You’ve received funds” is what it said. I squealed in excitement, as much of a child as I was in my true childhood. I log in and accept the payment and send them the watermarked PDF that is my book.
That’s it. I’ve made my first sale! I rush down the stairs, I’ve got to tell my roommates!
“Guys!! Guys!! I got my first book sale! You know what’s crazy? They are from Australia!” All of this comes out of my mouth at highway speeds as I skid across the kitchen floor it my socks. This is what it feels like to accomplish a goal this large. Maybe we are all children at heart still, just blinded by the part we are told to play as adults because this is the happiness, we all are so desperate to feel. I’ve found it!
“Australia? How’d that happen?” I understand their confusion, we live in Maryland. For my first customer to be Australian it is a little weird.
“I made a bunch of social medias and linked them to my website where I’m selling my book at art. Someone messaged me on Ribbit about it!” I got to admit I wasn’t expecting Ribbit to be the platform that would bring me my first customer. Just goes to show nothing in life is predictable.
In the pause that follows my roommates and I hear a beautiful sound. Well okay, not beautiful, the sound itself is as obnoxious as it is distinctive. The ice cream truck. My roommate and I lock eyes signaling what to do and then we sprang into motion. She was outside and I was rushing upstairs to grab a few dollars. I grabbed a few extra, this time. The ice cream man is a local and its his private truck, he’s nice but he used to rush down this street. In his defense this is a street filled with empty nesters and ice cream off the truck is one of those childish things adults just don’t do. Well unless they have kids or its at the pool. My opinion, personally? I don’t care about what is considered childish. To many adults spend their lives avoiding play. I used to. Then a favorite professor of mine retired one year, in the final days of class he gifted each of us in the class the most important certificate I’ve ever received.
I purchased my ice cream cone, same order every time. Chocolate and vanilla swirl, with sprinkles of course. Right after I placed my order, I had a thought, “Wait! Can you make it a double?” I ask with a big smile. He happily obliged. Oh right, the certificate. I take my ice cream and pay, as I’m walking back to the house I smiled at the memory. The class had laughed but the message was important.
“Adults don’t play enough anymore,” he had said, my professor was an elderly man with a kind heart and a mind full of stories. His body just wasn’t as sharp anymore. “That is why I have a gift for all of you.” With that he stood up and while his progress was slow, he handed each of us this simple certificate he had likely printed in his office. When I received mine I read it with it a smile, Official Permission to Play, This License permits The Bearer to play at will, at any length, at any speed, in any case, for any reason in any place, for better or worse, alone or with playmates Forever. He announced his retirement a few days later at the wise age of 81 to tend to his Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary for the rest of his days. The certificate is hung on my wall to remind me to never give up on playing or enjoying life, even if the pursuit seems childish.
I thought of that and many other factors as I finished my ice cream and continued working on things for my website.
Part Two: The High Zone
There is a beautiful time, within the first week of your book sales where you ride the biggest natural high possible. The views on different platforms go up, sales continue. All of this brings forward a sense of pure joy unlike any other.
My second sale was also from Ribbit and that surprised me quite a bit. The person wasn’t from as far way though, only a few states over. Everything was amazing for a while.
Part Three: The come down and rise
Eventually as all artists do you hit a moment of silence. A time where the sales pause, the like counters seem to sleep, and the high fades. This discourages many artists; it begins to feel as if your fifteen minutes of fame has ended. I decided to continue, my friend and I began working on a comic book which we hope to publish in the same way.
After a week of silence, a co-worker asked me about my book. To my absolute surprise she chose to purchase it and there it was the silence had been broken. My creativity was awakened once more by this break in the silence and I hurried home to work on the next piece for the comic.
The moral of the story if you need one is that as a writer never give up, if you have a dream do not allow any obstacle to stand in your way. It is your right and destiny to create and share as you please and while silence may be discouraging it is never permanent.
Time to work on my next masterpiece, I mean manuscript.