It Is Finished (Almost)

Okay, in all honesty, I feel slightly blasphemous using that phrase for the title of this post.

So most of the content of this (damned) book is done.
We’ve also narrowed down a tentative title for the book.
And also, we’re looking at a first quarter of ’23 for the release.
It’s happening. It’s actually happening.
What is it about?
It’s about my last two years as a United Methodist and all that things that took place in the open and behind the scenes.
Just kidding.
I’ll let you know once the title gets confirmed because by then, I hope to have the elevator pitch of the book down too.

It’s been… an ordeal getting this thing done. I don’t think I still have completely recovered, mentally, from all this.
I picked the wrong time to tackle this, but then again, is there ever a right time?

In the beginning, it was fun.
I got this routine going where after the Wife goes to work for night shift, I just type away until 1a or 2a. And the words were flowing and I was like, yea. I got this. I’ll finish this in no time.

Then the writer’s blocks hit. And a lot of times I was struggling putting a string of words together.
Write a few words. Delete them. Write the same words. Delete them. Write using similar words. Delete. And the blinking cursor just taunting me. At one point, I despised how it just nonchalantly blinked at me.

On top of that, I still had to work on a weekly sermon.
Then I kept saying “yes” to these projects that I know I shouldn’t really say “yes” to, but it was opportunities that I may never see again. One of the craziest week was working on the book, trying to meet the deadline for the UMC’s Rethink website, meeting a deadline for a chapter in a book I got invited to write for Chalice Press (more on that in a minute), and writing a sermon.

Content-wise, I was running on empty. At one point, I felt like I had nothing left to produce with the deadlines looming over my head.
I stopped reading because I just couldn’t get my mind to do anything else.
I know my sermons weren’t the best it could be near the end (and still may not be because I’m still recovering). I just kept cranking out content here and content there and content here. I don’t mean to complain. But I’m relieved it’s done because it was past being sustainable.

Now that the heavy lifting is behind me, I slowly started opening up books to dip my toes in reading again. Picked up where I left off in Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Let Your Life Speak. It feels nice to read words rather than produce words.
I also went on a deep dive on a Kpop girl group Twice, which I don’t know how much the wife appreciated.

But now that the bulk of the manuscript is done, I don’t know how good of a product I have.
I also went the independent publisher route.
I had this idea brewing in me.
I sat with it for a few months discerning if this idea was something I had to get out, after all there’s a difference between having something to say vs. having to say something.

I started fleshing out the idea and had the intro, the final chapter, a handful of quarter-to-half chapters, and a roadmap of the rest of the chapters.
Put together a proposal and submitted to a bunch of publishing companies. I heard from all but 2 even though those 2 are the ones that say they’ll get back to you with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ (I’m looking at you Abingdon and Church Publishing).
I asked my former boss who published his book and he gave me the details of this indie company, the only thing is, the author pays to get the book published.
I didn’t want to go that route. But he was adamant at how great the experience was and that he made his money back in 3 months of publishing his book (after putting in the work of marketing it, of course).
I let it linger in the back of my mind, thinking perhaps I’ll let this pass.
But then, I wrote a post on Facebook about a flea (or some sort of insect) infestation at this local coffee shop that ended up getting the shop close its door for a week or so to address all the issue. Although, that’s what they should’ve done regardless and not wait for a patron to complain on Facebook. You had fleas inside your ice machines and your baristas were getting eaten alive… as did I. I mean, c’mon.

But on that post, a random person commented on how great the writing was of that post was.
And I was like, “Thank you for this moment of affirmation, random stranger.”
So I called the publishing company and after our initial conversation, I was like, “I can do this.”
I’ve had money sitting aside from my writing gig at UMC.com. I was saving up for something… like a Vespa or something… whatever my next midlife crisis leads me to… … is this a midlife crisis…??

It also gave me control of how the book looks; the artwork if any; and I’ll be getting nearly half of the book sales (whereas Abingdon and Church Publishing, you get a very small percentage from the sales… but you also don’t have to put any money upfront…) I took at the lifetime sales of the 2 books/bible studies I wrote years ago (that are now officially out of print) to see how many I sold. If I sell around that much, I’d make my money back. I felt like I could do it. So I decided to bet on myself and see where this ends up.

And like I said, in the beginning, I thought it was a good bet.
Now that we’re done, I don’t know anymore.

During the heavy writer’s block season, I got an offer to contribute to a chapter in a book being put together by Chalice Press. I thought it was funny because they also turn down my manuscript. While I was putting finish touches on that chapter, I kept wondering… did they turn me down because the book was such a bad idea… but they still thought I was a good writer?
Most likely, they saw a few things circling around on Social Media and that’s how they found me… but that voice that lurks in the depths of your mind that always naysays rears its stupid face when you’re feeling the most unsure about yourself.

And it’s still there. Taunting me.
But what can you do? It’s already said and done, and there is no turning back.

I also had this idea of certain artwork to accompany the chapter names and I wanted to work with a BIPOC artist. Turns out, I already knew a very talented one whom I had the privilege to connect with through TikTok. You can check out her work here. And here’s a small fragment of what I’m 95.4% sure will be the book cover:

So, here we go. It’s almost time to take flight.
I can’t wait to share this work with you — yet, at the same time I can.
I’ll keep y’all updated and I’m gonna go ahead and apologize for all the shameless self-promotion that’ll take place in the early part of 2023.

I also am certain there are a lot of typos in this post.
I’m okay with it.
Hopefully you were able to get what I meant and not what I wrote when you come across an error.

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