If I had to sum up how it feels, to be now only 62 days from releasing my first novel, in a word it would be: tired.
The whole process of self-publication has been a roller-coaster ride, one that I would honestly do again, even if I had to cut in line. It still amazes me though, when I find time to slow down long enough to recap the series of events as they have transpired in my life these past few months (much less the past two years spent finalizing this project). I am amazed at all that has come from the idea of a simple short-story and the many great people I have met along the way and the amount of doors which have begun to open, all in the name of a story. I can say that if I were to be asked some two years ago, if I ever envisioned half the things which have come to pass with the near release of this book, I would have said it was impossible. I would have said it couldn’t happen and I would have asked (as I did) how could I ever do it?
Now I am on the last lap, as one good friend recently reiterated, the final stretch and with each passing day, I am dotting more I’s and crossing more T’s to ensure I produce the best book—the best product I can—within my abilities. I would lie if I said I didn’t want “Proud Souls” to be successful, but I would be just as honest to say, the simple fact that the story has come this far is amazing in itself. AND, it hasn’t been released yet. The number of people who have actually read the entire manuscript can be counted on one hand. But, let me be quick to say—for those of you truly wishing to embark on such an adventure, now or in the future—the entire process has not been an easy one. It has been trying, a testament to my willingness to believe and see my dream become a reality, and it has been a struggle to learn countless amounts of information in a very short period. These past four months alone I have had to learn more web code than I care to know, more about the publishing industry in general than the overall writing process and more about marketing and salesmanship that I would dare to discuss at parties. I can go into more detail, and I will under the title, “Project PS” on my website, but for now, let’s keep it brief.
I would encourage anyone willing to set out on such a course, to give the self-publication route a fair and honest review. I would research, research, research the industry and markets and the entire process in general and then when you think you are ready, I would do it again. I have been fortunate to have a series of very close and personal friends endure this misery with me. They have been excited, oftentimes more so than myself and they have become just as frustrated and burnt out as I, and they didn’t write the book! I hope to complete the “Project PS” portion of my website (http://www.bobbyozunaonline.com/projectps.php) before the release of my novel, and in doing so, allow others more options and ideas for self-publication because the feeling is bliss—the control, the direction and the schedule, all there in the palm of your hand—not to mention the conversation piece alone.
It has been great, wonderful, exhausting and down-right mentally draining. I have written half the draft to a new short-story, all in the midst of finalizing this novel, and it has killed me mentally to not find the time to just write and complete that draft (for a writer I am); instead I am busy, working on cover art, corresponding with the ISBN and barcode agencies and busy selecting costs, cover types, radio interview schedules and other online and physical venues for the novel. I am preparing to meet with students in the Ft. Worth ISD to encourage them to chase their dreams, embark on crazy and less likely to achieve goals, all in the name of aspirations and I am doing it, with little or no time to lay down long enough to dream myself. But I press on and I hope that someone reads this blog (or my series of blogs) and finds the encouragement to chase their goals and fulfill their dreams of writing and seeing their work in print, whether they sale one copy or one-million (okay, that is me dreaming). Because, in the end, we are writers and writers write, whether we become famous or not; we do what we do, because that is what manifests from within our souls.
I am tired people and I am so consumed, when I am not spending time with my children, with the book that I have nothing new to bring to a table for conversation. I have become a bore and a walking encyclopedia of information on writing, editing, publishing, marketing and sales and I don’t even have the finished product in my possession to sleep with under my pillow at night. I just want the book to be the best it can, not so much for myself, but for those who believe in me…those who will give my novel a chance…and those who find themselves saying, I can’t, when in their hearts they want to.
And I am here to help…but first I must sleep…and dream…and draw stories…with words…