This July will mark the official one-year anniversary of my release of Proud Souls under my own publishing company: Ozuna Publications. And if I had to summarize the experience I would it has it been interesting to say the least.
I managed in this one year to take a story concept and build it into a good first-book for myself. It was a project that began with fourteen pages of rambling text in the summer of 2003 and flourished into a completed manuscript at the end of 2005. One year later the story I birthed from my own imagination took on a life of its own and with the help of some very special friends, the story became what many have come to call a favorite new book by a favorite new author.
I am proud of my accomplishments, no matter how minute they are in the grand scheme of publishing. No, Proud Souls won’t ever win a Pulitzer, National Book Award—and the way things are going thus far—not even an independently published book award. And yes, I have to be honest when I say it isn’t easy to swallow. That is part of learning to switch between businessman (or woman) and creative writer. I noticed in reviewing many of my earlier blog postings [that] I was often reluctant to be completely honest in my posts, worried of what people might have thought of me for sharing how I truly felt about the self-publishing process. No, I wouldn’t recommend it to just anyone, but I wouldn’t mislead anyone either. Self-publishing is a very trying process and equally as enjoyable. By releasing my first book this way, I have gained worlds of experiences and knowledge that (should my next book be published traditionally), I won’t have to worry about getting caught off guard or mislead myself.
Self-publishing is hard. That’s the truth, no matter what people say. And for every ounce of hard, there is an equal portion of accomplishment. But the journey isn’t easy; I have made many mistakes—though less than many others. I was fortunate in my ability to research and think outside the box and because of that, my publishing experience went relatively smooth and easily. I produced a worthwhile finished product, one that has received many compliments and praises. I have met more people because of my debut novel and acquired more (potential) fans of my follow-up book: The Other Side of Glory. And the closer I get to the July (2007) anniversary, the closer I am to backing away from the story that started it all for me. It’s almost time to step away from Proud Souls in lieu of other works—short stories, my weekly columns for CultureFeast.com and yes, my follow-up novel, The Other Side of Glory.
My intent was to partake on at least one (to three) Virtual Book Tours this year, but to be completely honest, the money hasn’t been there lately. The sales of Proud Souls haven’t been what I hoped (are they ever?) and more than that—I am tired and getting burnt out of talking about it. I started this whole journey three years ago and now I am on the cusp of letting loose a bit and stepping away, knowing I won’t begin or complete any other significant works unless I stop talking about what I did yesterday and start focusing on tomorrow.
I wish I knew the magic formula that would stir an interest in the masses to take a chance on an unknown writer, a father who lives his life like a kid at heart and a romantic dreamer who once believed Proud Souls would be enough to make people want more. In reality, once the dust settles, I am no different than the next person. I am a man with a gift, who isn’t afraid to utilize it and take chance on it, who can’t say he has accomplished anything more than lots of time spent delving into a dream, a dream that has to end. I won’t give up on the story entirely, but to be realistic, there is only so much more than can come of it.
Soon I will begin sharing the first drafts of my second novel. I will allow reader participation to help guide and mold the mood of the story. I will share all the dirty details that encompass the process of creating a novel, from start to finish.
Until then, I thank those of you who have taken a chance on me, invested money from your pocket and moments from your lives on the characters that have grown so close to my heart.
I hope I have inspired you enough to believe in my future endeavors.