I still haven't done everything on my list, since I published my book. Partly because I haven't felt motivated to, as my Dad died the same week.
Last night I cleared out a few things from my wardrobe. I came across some notebooks with amusing anecdotes from when my son was little. This anecdote keeps playing through my head.
Caught a bus to town. LZ (son) was free.
Mum (me): "You're free on the bus."
LZ: "No, I'm not. I'm 4. But I want to be 16."
I was shortlisted in the top 10 for a parenting magazine, over ten years ago, for a piece I wrote about some of the amusing things my son said. He's a young adult now (he laughed and said 'I want to be four again,' when I told him). I've even got a sample of his childhood 'handwriting', making scribbles from left to right, with fullstops, as he'd watched me write in the notebooks.
I knew I'd put some of the bus anecdote in my memoir, Bipolar Courage: Are You Sure You're Not Autistic? I checked, and unfortunately, I'd left off the part about wanting to be 16. To update my self-published books is some extra fluffing around (plus I've also made the legal copyright deposit), so I decided just to put it into a blog post.
I've ordered some print books of the memoir for some of my local friends. I rarely meet up with friends, so it's been a nice catch-up (some of my friends I've known for 30 to 40 years).
I asked for a discounted price of NZ $20 to help with the cost of shipping etc. (They are shipped from Amazon in the USA). Even though a typical price to purchase a book in New Zealand is way more than that.
I friend gifted me extra, as she said, 'I want to pay you what I think your book is worth. I know you put your blood, sweat and tears into it. Keep being creative.'
I wanted to decline the offer but she insisted, so I accepted. It felt very emotional as I know she really meant it. I appreciate my friends are genuine. She understands I am compelled to create, to have a voice. I do it 'in disguise' as others try to quash my voice (worried about their reputations). I need to express my voice (creative art, writing etc), otherwise, I feel suffocated.
Another friend did the same with my first book, Pet Purpose: Your Unspoken Voice. Gave me more than the minimal costs for the print book. He said he wanted to recognise and acknowledge how much he valued the effort I'd put into it. I cried.
Now it's just a fact that most self-published authors, including myself, don't make much money (mainly because I don't really have the means to seriously market them). In fact, if I take out my expenses, I haven't made a profit. Hundreds of copies of my books were downloaded during free promotions.
Making any money is a bonus (one would likely have more luck with a lottery ticket). Although, it's been valuable for me to create, to process, to do something meaningful. It's also been therapeutic, plus a chance for me to share my insights.
My books are different from my blog in that they have a story and I've spent ages editing and rewriting. It gets to a point though, like a painting, where enough is enough. Perfectionism can mean it's never finished. Although I'm a bit annoyed I left off the little bit about '16.'
The memoir is a celebration of the end of my 15-year advocacy journey (most recently as Bipolar Courage).
After I've addressed some things on my 'to do' list, I intend to write a short guide about how to write and self-publish your story on a shoe-string budget (partly because I would forget each time with the publishing part). Some tips etc, as I've written memoir and semi-autobiographical fiction.
I want to explore more fiction territory when I get back to Soar Purpose (sequel to Pet Purpose). It will take as long as it takes. I'm not sure I will have any more books inspired from my personal experiences left in me after that, so who knows what I will do next?
Although, I have some ideas, as I have applied to trademark Soar Purpose to include publishing books and art tuition. It's a meaningful, passionate hobby, although I have also set it up as a potential business and a legacy. My self-published books and blogs have copyright for at least 70 years after my death (inherited by my heirs, if they wish to try make money from them).
A tip when writing is to only have entrust a few people to update your raw progress (so not too many opinions). Those who can look past any spelling or grammar issues, as those can be fixed up later. Encouragement from friends goes a long way.
Also, I record anything of interest that I might use later in my journals (locked up). I can go back later and pick out anything I want to use. This is one way I get around my mind temporarily 'forgetting' things (even though I never really forget).
My need to have a voice has helped to keep me alive when battling severe mental illness and trauma. My friends listening to me and encouraging me, has helped me to keep persevering.
My books are currently on Amazon as print and ebook formats. Pet Purpose is also currently listed with other ebook distributors.
Disclaimer: the author of this blog is not an expert by profession and her opinions should not be taken as expert advice.