As a kid, my dream always was to be a writer. Anytime it came time to write down my hopes, my dreams, or something I’ve always wanted to do, writing would be the answer. Like most writers, still to this day, I have dreams of best seller lists, movie deals, TV Show contracts, and everything in between. Part of me always put off that final step, which has always been publishing. I have a book that is 100,000+ words, finished, and Damn near ready to publish, book cover and all. But why haven’t I done it yet? Had I published my book when I it was finished, I could have been published by the age of 16. By my senior year, I wrote a 54,000 word novel in 28 days. Over the summer I picked up the same novel, edited it, and finished it. That could have easily been another book under my belt and out for the world to enjoy. So why haven’t I done it?
Maybe it was something to do with time. In high school, at one point in time I was driving 40 minutes for dance every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. My free time was probably spent sleeping or doing something else. Then I went to college and started having tests that I actually needed to study for and homework that needed to be done on time. My spring semester of my sophomore year, I had classes at 8,9,10,11,12 and 1. There definitely wasn’t any room for writing, editing, or working on a book. Not when my finals schedule forced me to have 3 final exams in a row on Wednesday and Friday.
These past few months, though, I’ve taken a break from life to do what I really enjoy which is writing. I revisited an old group of characters I had wrote up in high school and chose them. I chose to write about them. I chose to expand their story. Before I knew it, I was sending my manuscript out to people. People who actually wanted to read and give responses to me. I reached out to a graphic designer and got a beautiful cover done. I’ve done most of the work myself and my book comes out tomorrow.
I am putting it into the world damn well knowing there are mistakes. Some of my margins may be messed up. Some of the fonts may be wonky. As of Friday, my indentations were completely wrong, resulting in another edit, another review process, only to be told my spine text was the wrong dimensions. again.
Despite all of this, I am putting myself out there. This book isn’t a young adult, fluffy, dystopian novel like my novel Selection Day. It is a dark and gritty novel following a dangerous gang in New York.
I am putting it into the world knowing that my baby isn’t perfect. I am putting it out there knowing not everyone will like it. I am putting it out there knowing it’s too violent for some people. But that’s okay. I am fulfilling the thing I’ve always wanted to do. I’m doing it. And the best part? Besides spelling/ content issues and my cover, I’ve done it all myself. Picking the genres, my pen name, the title, the characters, the story, the pricing, the layout, the dedications and epigraphs, putting it online… it was all done by me (and a few moments of googling for answers).
The process wasn’t easy, and whoever says it is, they’re a damn liar. I couldn’t tell you how many times my cover was wrong. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve read my book and found new errors each time. I couldn’t tell you how many moments of doubt I’ve had. I couldn’t tell you how many stress headaches I’ve gotten and how sick this process has made me. The past week, my days have been consumed with editing, reworking, fixing, waiting for Amazon to approve my edits, asking around, to just do it all over again and again. As I write this, my book is still in the review process. I’m not sure if it’ll show up in the store tomorrow, but it’s all part of the process.
By this time tomorrow people will be able to buy my book. They will be able to own it, to review it, to add it to their bookshelves, to love it, or to hate it. I can add to my profiles that I’m a published author. I can finally have a book in my amazon page. It’s all finally coming together.
It brings me a lot of comfort in knowing that this will be easier the next time. My book release date was set for 4.20.2020 and I’m glad I decided to start the process on the 14th as opposed to waiting until today or tomorrow. I’m glad I set up my amazon account weeks ago. After today, I will know that my spine text needs to be smaller. I will know that I need to indent properly. I know that Amazon can spend 7 hours reviewing your book, just to tell you it’s wrong. I know and identify the relief of getting that email saying my book passed its review process. After today I will have learned so much and I will be able to say I did it. I will be able to say I did it myself and that every stress headache and neck pain was worth it. I will be able to tell my favorite artists that they inspired the entire world I’ve created from my mind. I’ll be able to build a fan base and I’ll be able to hear feedback from people other than friends and family.
This time tomorrow I’ll officially be a published author. 7 year old Nikki’s dreams will come true, along with 21 year old Nikki’s dreams. For most, this quarantine has been a bad thing. For me, it’s been the push to get this damn book published. It forced me to realize I have no excuses. It forced me to realize I couldn’t blame it on having class to go to or homework to do. Not when I have so much time off due to online classes and less driving.
No part of this journey was easy. Some parts were better than others. There were lots of tears of both frustration and happiness. There was a lot of headaches and stress, and there was a lot of times I couldn’t sleep I was so excited.
I did it.
((If you’re still reading this you may as well go follow my blog, @Noirhayeswrites, and follow me on Instagram@noir_hayes, and twitter @Noirhayes)) this book I just talked about for the entirety of this blog? You can read two chapters on my writers page before the book comes out officially ;).