Dedicating Take Down to my Mum and Stepfather and why I did
Being an Independent Author means I wear all the hats that publishing a book requires. Sounds glamorous right? Not always. Even if we exclude the cost of three years of full-time study and the strain that puts on my health and household, not to mention the financial burden, I’ve then had to cover the time and finance for editing, book design, publishing and promoting and everything in between. Everything the big publishing houses do, I had to do. It takes a lot of time and finance.
Each year of this journey has increased the cost to myself and my family, the reward for the hours of work and investment in my career will take years and probably a lot of books and many endless hours of continuous hard work before I start seeing any financial return on that investment. I studied the publishing process from start to finish, dived into research on all the various stages, and listened to many experienced authors sharing their knowledge. If I’m going to do this, I’m going to do my best to do it right and do it right from the start. My readers can be assured that the book they are buying has been through substantial editing and developing from highly regarded professionals who know what they’re doing.
This year, getting Take Down published really pushed the limits of my abilities. I feel like I’ve been almost permanently connected to my laptop or my phone. I’ve trialed so many different programs for all areas of book publication and researched even more. I cannot count off the top of my head how many accounts I have in various places in the writing world. Each of them has been important and played a part in the journey, even if it’s learning what doesn’t work so well, and where I really need to learn more.
In the lead up to the launch, I had to really focus attention on the promotional side of things, and I had to embrace as many of the opportunities that came my way, including a reporter for The Timaru Herald (which my mum's promotion of my book is directly responsible for). So why did I decide to launch it in December and on Mum's birthday? I feel like that may have been the worst timing financially. We’d just moved houses unexpectedly, I’d finished my study for the year and lost the associated allowance that makes study almost bearable financially, and I’d completely wiped all my savings during the editing process of my book (a move I don’t regret by the way, and one that was strongly recommended by an author who’s reaching that goal of earning a living from writing, but I’ll write more on that in another post).
So here I am, a full-length novel released, the last minute and urgent rush to change the genre to thriller, broke, Christmas looming, children to consider. Promotion costs? Agh. I mean seriously, we’ve been living on next to nothing for what feels like months. The last thing I can afford is to run adverts in the hopes that a few people might buy my book and leave me a review or two. Seeing that big zero on all my bank balances week after week has really worn me down. But the past week, and especially the past twenty-four hours have felt like a win for me. Maybe I’m not rolling in cash, maybe it’s gonna take me years to make a profit, but the reviews have been coming in, slow yes, but there none the less. And this morning I even had an editorial review come in – I’ll share a bit more on that soon.
Then, yesterday, my son reminded me of the wonderful human beings I’m raising. The young minds watching me battle through day after day and conquering my dreams one step at a time. The ones I’m doing this for, even if it feels like hard work now. I watch him walk home from the bus stop every day carrying his sister’s bag, yesterday he couldn’t because he had his hands full with a huge box. But sticking out of his mouth was a lollypop that his sister had happily shared with him just to be nice. And when we got back to the house, and he’d emptied a few things out of the box, he then presented me with my new nail polish/accessories box that he’d made after my last one got ruined when it got wet. Not only is this one bigger, but he’s also built it to last in his woodworking class. He designed it from start to finish, and I couldn’t be prouder of him.
I’m not rolling in cash or earning a cozy living, but I am achieving my dreams. I have launched a full-length novel – a thriller nonetheless, and I’ve made Christmas happen for my children, I'm raising well-rounded young adults, and I’m working hard on preparing book two for the editor so it’ll be ready to go as soon as I have the money for it, and from there it will soon land on your devices and in your hands.
But none of this happened by itself, none of this would have been possible without the incredible team of friends, family, and professionals around me. And launching a book in December may have been crazy, but launching the book on my mother’s birthday was definitely justified. She is one of my own personal heroines, the one who taught me how to get through the hard times and the one who inspires me to keep going even when I don’t think I can anymore.
I owe my mum and stepfather, so much more than I can ever repay, and even now while she faces 6 weeks off work for more surgery relating to a complication caused by her battle with bowel cancer last year, and my stepfather works to keep them afloat and look after her with the same dedication he always has. They paid for an editorial review I couldn’t afford, they made it possible for me to promote my book and provide Christmas for my children. I’m so glad I can hold up that review now, even if it’s not one of the big names in editorial reviews, I can hold it up and show them that I made that cost worth their while.
So yes I dedicated the book to two of the biggest heroes in my life. They even own a limited edition of my book because they ordered two print copies before I'd been able to check the formatting in the printed form first and do my final read through, so they have a few errors like no page numbers, a couple of bonus scenes, etc.
So, thank you, Mum and Peter, I may not have been able to buy you that house I promised to when I was a child, but I have put in the work that makes your belief in me feel a little more justified than I used to think it was. And you never know, maybe one day I’ll manage to buy you that property, or just a few plants to put on it when you finally achieve that dream of owning your own place again. Either way, I promise I’ll keep working towards my goals, one step at a time.
On that note, here is the editorial review that came in this morning from
ILoveUniqueBooks.com, who read and rated my book with 4 out of 5 stars and put the book up on her website to promote with her review.
“Take Down is a fast paced thriller that commenced with violence and gore when Lily escaped from Richard and fought her way through the heavily guarded nightclub. It was a carefully laid out plan by their father for her to seduce Richard but she couldn’t stand him and ended up blowing their cover. However, there was going to be dire consequences for disobeying father. The old man was as ruthless as he was ambitious and not even Lily’s twin brother, Kyle, could talk him out of torturing Lily and forcing her to marry Richard. To him, it is only the end that justifies the means and anything could be sacrificed in order to achieve the desired result.
Jason was loved by all in his family, but an encounter he had with Lily when he visited their nightclub with his friend, Leon, culminated into a love affair that will ultimately bring him on a collision course with Lily’s dangerous family.
At 490 pages long, Take Down is quite voluminous but regardless of that, the book has a rich plot and well developed characters that makes the story very engaging to read. Take Down is thrilling with lots of action that makes it akin to watching a movie through the pages of a book.” — Official Review, ILoveUniqueBooks.com (4 out of 5 stars)
Until next time, keep dreaming people, keep working hard even if it feels impossible, you achieve more than you realize if you just keep moving forward towards your goals.