I’m thrilled to have released my very first fictional novel. This book was a surprise project to me. The idea came, I wrote it, had it evaluated by Beta readers, and indie-published it all within a span of seven months!
It amazes me that I was able to accomplish this when the first book I indie-published was originally written when I was thirteen years old (1987), rewrote it at age 26 (2000), then finally completed and put it out into the world in 2013. So basically my first book took me 26 years to complete! Seven months is a shocking amount of time to me to start and finish a book project, but it is also my first book published with no illustrations. I was able to focus fully on the writing of it, and when I got bored of writing, I would shift my focus to designing the cover, which went through many different versions.
I think the reason why this project went so quickly for me was a combination of a few things:
- CREATIVE EXPLOSION: Last year I didn’t work on ANY personal projects, when a few years ago I had decided to try putting out a book every year. I had quite a lot of built-up creative energy which had to push aside for almost two years while we prepared our house for sale in Lyndhurst, OH and then searched for our new home in Amherst, OH. When this book idea finally hit me this past Spring, I was ready to let the creative energy explode.
- SOME MUCH-NEEDED GRIEF THERAPY: My dad, Bob Carrick, passed away the year before, and per his wishes there was no funeral or memorial service, which left me with absolutely no sense of closure. I had written his obituary, but it wasn’t enough to heal my grieving heart. After a year, I finally decided to go to my friend, Kym McBride, who happens to be a gifted psychic medium and author. She gave me a reading and my dad came through as I had hoped (after my Nana and Soupy had a few words for me – he patiently waited for them to finish with me first). Clapping and rubbing his hands together eagerly, he approached me with an idea. He said he was worried about my depression and suggested working it out through a writing project of some kind. His words surprised me, because at that time I felt my depression was under control. A month and a half later, that was when the idea of my book came to mind in full understanding, and BOOM! As I came close to finishing the book in August, I found myself surprisingly falling into a VERY deep depression. I hesitate to share too much, but this book ended up saving my life at that point. To finish the book and get it out into the world became my reason for living. It might sound overly dramatic, but that’s the truth. This book is packed with ideas I’ve had for years, and gave me an outlet to express my thoughts about spiritual warfare, and how I believe it has affected me – within the guise of fiction. It became a mission to share these concepts with the world, and especially with young readers as they undergo the pains and depression of adolescence.
- MY CHEERLEADER KIDS: I have to thank my children a LOT for being my cheerleaders throughout this project. As soon as I felt the first few chapters were ready to share, I printed them out and fed them to my kids. My intended readership was Middle Grade (my son’s age group), but as I kept writing, it seemed to be more specifically for what I would call “Mature Middle-Grade.” My kids LOVED the book and their desire to find out what happened next fueled me to spend late nights writing, to get the next chapter ready for their review the next day! I owe a lot to their encouragement and enthusiasm for the project!
- R.L. STINE’S MASTERCLASS: No, I am not an affiliate, so I get nothing out of plugging this class – but I have to share that this online set of lectures by the famous Goosebumps author, R.L. Stine, was a huge help to me while I wrote the book. having never written a book like this before, the advice he shared in these lectures were invaluable to me! I just got the single class and plan to gift myself this Christmas with the “All-Access Pass” so I can also listen to lectures from Judy Blume, James Patterson, Malcolm Gladwell, Margaret Atwood, Dan Brown, etc.
The hardest part of putting a book out has always been the marketing, for me. But I feel like I’ve perhaps stumbled upon an idea I’d never contemplated before: Book Clubs! Since my book takes place in my new town, Amherst, OH, I had two local book clubs pick up reading my book already. I’m realizing this might be the best way to baby-step into a new way of marketing. I’m looking into approaching local book clubs, and I’m brainstorming about what groups might have an interest in picking up my book as a platform for discussion on subjects of grief, spiritual warfare, and the paranormal. I’m looking forward to searching for these groups and approaching them.
It amazes me how quickly a project can come to life when you allow the creative inspiration to take over. I do believe our ideas are really not our own. They are sent to us from God, and it’s the responsibility of the individual to act on this inspiration or to bury it. I encourage others to scratch your creative itch. Go for it! The world needs your project to be released!