Just Do It.
I got all the feels last night - when Ken Albala shared that a session moderator mentioned me, and Roti at IACP: The International Association of Culinary Professionals, at the annual conference, during a session - when I was not even there!
The moderator of the panel on self-publishing, Celia Sack of Omnivore Books apparently spoke about Roti: that I made it responding to the need for the book, encouraging others to consider the process as an alternative to waiting for a book deal and hand holding, and likely rejections.
Which is true. I may have an obscure idea and give it loads of thought. But when I'm ready, I am not waiting.
Do you know what goes behind my self-published books?
Over the last 6 years, I've self-published all my titles (5 or 7 depending on how you count). From writing, designing, photography, marketing, distribution, and post-sales customer care. And buckets of research.
You may have seen how hard my journey is - or not.
It has brought me tears when no one was watching. It is not financially rewarding. It is physically taxing. It is emotionally draining. My home feels like a warehouse when I'm in the middle of the distribution. The local post office begins to hate me for having to deliver postal supplies or giving them so many packages to deal with.
All sorts of hurdles have come about during the making of each book: from my computer dying the night before the book goes to the printer & losing your work or starting from scratch (Dozen Ways, NFY & Roti), burglary/debilitating health issues/being bedridden/family stresses/PTSD/depression (NFY/Ten Thousand Tongues & Roti), all the way to haggling with the printer to correct botched copies worth a thousand dollars a few days before they are to be shipped out (Dozen Ways, NFY & Ten Thousand Tongues) and paying out of pocket to ensure that packages reach their international destinations safely (Dozen Ways, & Roti).
Through it all, I've written each of my own PR covers, media kits, food essays, personal essays, and opinion pieces, many unpaid hours, and also given away hundreds of free books ... and received umpteen silences for most of them. Not even reviews. I've heard all the reasons why someone would not share/cover/write/promote/celebrate my work.
I've spent hundreds of dollars on book awards, and countless hours applying for grants/scholarships and received rejections for all of them - and worse: silence.
I have waited patiently for interviews to air that don't - for months. And worse: discovered my interview was plagiarized.
I find that myself being routinely and systematically let down by people I trust and take into confidence, ... and I have to pick up right where I left off before that moment of absolutely **hating** the circumstance.
BUT I have to pick myself up (the floor is hard on my back in more ways than one).
Just as unique as these problems are - I see all of this as my sweat equity, my investment in creating something that is so singularly unique that may be mimicked, never duplicated. The wealth of experience cannot be bought.
The process, the end result... the entire experience is so creatively exhilarating - it gives me something that neither a publisher, a critic or a reviewer ever can: the confidence to know exactly WHAT I want, HOW I'm going to get it, and most importantly, WHO to take with me along for the celebrations that happen in my quiet time.
I'm never in the running because I run alone.
I come in last.
I also come in first - every time.
And it isn't lonely at the top. It is peaceful. You will have earned every moment of it.
So, for all those who may be sitting on an idea:
>>No one else knows how to reach your goal better than you.
>>No one else will work harder for you, than you.
>>Your idea is not an itch in the middle of your back that you need someone else for. It is in the palm of your hands. You have all the tools you need. Just do it.
>>And if you need unadulterated tough love during your publishing journey - you know where to find me. Thanks to #nike for capturing a mantra for success - to achieve greatness, we all must run alone.