The Writer Who Finally Made Zero Dollars

Well, October is officially over. And as everyone packs away their Halloween decorations and hangs up this year’s costumes, I’m closing a big chapter of my life as well. This fall has been a crazy whirlwind of my daughter starting kindergarten, my son starting pre-school, and me marketing my first published book. It’s been stressful to say the least….and so much fun!

Now that the early fall/Halloween season is over I have a moment to take it all in. Because the minute my book was published in August I had to kick my butt into gear to market, market, market. With self-published works there are no agents, editors, or big publishing companies promoting your work. It’s just you. Or in this case, just me.

I spent so much time on my phone (calling local places I thought might be interested in my book, scheduling visits to schools, ordering special neon-orange Sharpies for book signings, making lists of things I still had to get done around the house, and planning all the next steps for what I wanted to do with my book and my writing) that I’ve become one of those people that feels naked without it. My phone has been my link to my email, my calendar, my bill pay. It’s been the greatest co-worker ever, and while I hate that I was on it so much… I also kind of loved it. Not the actual screen-time, of course, but the reasons for it. It has been such a busy couple months, but a fun busy. A busy that was all for me and my book. A type of busy I have dreamed about my whole life. Even as a young kid I imagined myself planning out book tours, responding to letters from fans, being brave enough to meet with new people… and while I have a while to go before I’m actually doing “real” book tours or having real “fans,” these past months have been a real taste of what it would be like. And if I ever make it big, I’ll be smiling and ready for it all. Because now I really feel like I can say I’m a writer without people questioning it. Because now I am a published author.

My only regret about it all is the timing of it. Since ‘Twas Halloween Night is a seasonal story, my window for marketing and author visits was very limited. So I had to put a lot of time in all at once, during a very short window. An already very busy window.  Starting school is hard for kids, and at a time when I would have normally tried to put in more face-time with them, they were actually getting less.

My kids are used to me being home with them. (It’s been almost three years since I had a job that took me out of the house). They’re used to me leaving my phone on the counter all day and only using it for “mommy-work” (paying bills, checking emails, etc.) when they’re having rest time. But these past couple months I’ve had to check it a lot more. Doing my “writing-work” took more time out of the day than just responding to a bunch of texts all in a row during bath time. It took more of my attention than a quick phone call to the school nurse about an illegible vaccine record right after lunch. And I feel a tad bit guilty that it had to all happen right at the beginning of a pivotal school year.

Don’t get me wrong, my kids took this whole book-whirlwind in stride. They seem no worse for wear, to be honest, and both of my school-aged children asked me to share my book with their classes (which is the best sign of acceptance I can really think of from a 6 and 3 year old). But I do still have that touch of mom-guilt about it all, so I know it’s probably going to get them a couple extra trips to the park before winter hits.

But anyway, back to it being a crazy couple of months… my kids were on board as much as they could be, which was awesome, but what’s more awesome is that by publishing this book, I got to see how awesome ALL the people in my life are. I have had so much support and have felt so much love from family and friends, I don’t even know how to express my gratitude…But I’m going to try.

So.

To every person who bought or read my book, thank you.

To every person who liked or shared a post about my book, thank you.

If you were someone who mentioned my book to someone else, thank you.

If you came to a book party, or even just supported an event where I read my book, thank you.

If you watched my kids, or even just offered to watch my kids, thank you.

If you ever told me what I was doing was cool, whether or not you even read my book, thank you.

If you’ve asked me about my book, how I wrote it how things were going, thank you.

If you’ve shown interest in my future writing plans, thank you.

I have been so unbelievably touched by all of the people who have supported me and given me words of encouragement these past couple months. I am in awe by how lucky I am to have all of you in my life. And I am humbled and honored that I can call such wonderful people my family and friends. This book would not even be a blip in my imagination without you. And I am proud to say, that because of you, and maybe because it’s a good book, I have officially made back all of the money I invested into this dream of mine. All the costs- Paying an illustrator, all the proof copies I ordered, the blazer I bought to look professional, the Sharpies I bought to sign books, the ink for my printer, the postage I spent promoting my book, the time I put in (and the work time my husband lost)- all of those things went into a spreadsheet to ensure I wasn’t spending too much to make this dream happen. And there were a couple times where I looked at that giant negative number and doubted myself. But because of each and every one of you…fans, I had everything I needed to keep putting myself out there….and I did it! We did it. I finally made it to $0 of profits, and last I checked, that number was still climbing.

So, thank you.  I can now say I’m a paid writer!

And now Halloween is over and I can breathe. I can put down my phone and not worry about that unread text till after dinner. And, if I want, I can start to focus on the next book. After all, I have a lot of time to kill until October rolls around next year….

Thanks again, with all my love,

Rachael

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