It's a new year, and time to reflect...
Updated: Mar 17
As we embark upon a new year and face new adventures, I thought I’d look back at my publishing career and reflect. How far have I come? What have I learned, and how do I feel about my accomplishments? There are no easy answers to any of these questions, but I’m going to try anyway.
For as long as I can remember, books have been an integral part of my life. As a child, I was strange. A little weird, perhaps. This quickly made me an outcast, and I struggled to make friends. Alone and bullied, I turned to books for comfort. Losing myself in imaginary worlds filled with wondrous creatures helped me cope with the loneliness, and it also spawned a lifelong dream of becoming a famous writer.
Over the years, that dream faded until it finally died a miserable death on the altar of reality. A reality filled with gatekeepers, publishers, agents, and more, and they all had one message: Forget it. Becoming an author, a real author, was next to impossible.
I listened to that message and shelved my dreams, turning to other possibilities instead. There were many. Becoming a marine biologist, or archeologist, or wildlife conservationist. But none of these would ever pan out for me, the shy girl who always had her head in the clouds, and her nose in a book.
So fast forward many years, and I’m in my thirties and working as an assistant in a medical practice. I still read a lot, sticking to old favorites like historical fiction, fantasy, and sci-fi. Then I picked up my first zombie apocalypse novel, and I was hooked.
My heart beat so fast I thought it would burst free from my chest. My palms grew damp, and I shouted out loud when my favorite character died. NO! The horror. But I loved it. The story had everything I was looking for: Excitement, adventure, death, tragedy, hope, and ingenuity.
I decided to write my own zombie apocalypse story. I knew I could do it, and I did, even though it took two years and countless more hours spent editing, revising, and tweaking. Last Another Day was born, and while it’s not perfect, it’s still my favorite.
I decided to join a writing community, sharing my story with those interested, and listening to the talk in the forums. That’s when I heard about the revolution in publishing, and the growing number of people self-publishing their books with actual success.
This opened up a real can of worms. Could I do it? Dare I?
I was scared at first. Scared the world would hate my story, and some did. But so many more loved it, and I realized my dream wasn’t dead, after all. It just looked a little different. A second book followed, and a third, and a fourth. Before I knew it, I was a full-time author and living the dream. My dream.
It might not be for everyone, and it certainly isn’t easy. As a self-published author, I have to do everything myself. I wear many hats: Writer, editor, proofreader, marketer, accountant, assistant, businesswoman, designer, and more. The hours are long and the pay is never guaranteed. Sometimes, I wish I’d chosen a different path. Then I look back and realize, there is no other path for me. I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to do, and I love every moment of it. I might never be famous, but I’m happy, and that’s all that matters.
A Blog Post by Baileigh Higgins