Logistically speaking, it couldn't have been more of a success. I blogged about it here. If you're book-minded, writer-minded, or launch-party minded, then that post is for you.
But I didn't just learn things from a logistical perspective. This weekend, and all the days and weeks leading up to it, made me realize a lot personally, as well. Here are five things publishing this book has taught me, not just about writing, but about life.
1. Believe in it. ALL of it.
People throw adages like this all the time: Believe in yourself! Believe in your dreams! But seriously-- what does that mean? I've written my whole life. I have pages and pages, books and books of writings by yours truly. But when it came down to this book, the writing was the easy part. I had to believe in the brand, the vision, the greater purpose. I had to believe that the time I was spending on it and the energy I was putting into it was worth it. That I could be proud of this book for the rest of my life. It wasn't until those pieces were in place that I was able to move forward and really take the risk of publishing it.
2. Give. THEN receive.
We live in a society where we associate 'giving' with writing large checks to large charities. That is great, but that is not the only kind of giving out there. You-- YOU, you lovely woman in her thirties-- have gifts to share. Your time. Your creativity. Your kindness. Your caring, non-judgemental friendship. These are important, and they matter more than your tax-deductible donation.
But make no mistake-- giving helps you. It creates your 'brand' and your image. By donating my time in the classroom, at book clubs, through guest blogging.... I have built my audience. I have gotten many sales of the book through these 'donations'. Give first, then receive. It's a thing.
3. I take my friends and family for granted.
It's going to be hard for me to write this without getting emotional. When I stood at the book launch on Sunday and looked out at that crowd, 90% of it was friends. Neighbors. Friends of neighbors. Book club friends and mom's group friends. I think one of the main reasons I didn't want to do a book launch was because somewhere deep inside of me I was afraid no one would come. But there everyone was, standing room only. And when I came home... flowers. Bouquets and balloons and texts and emails from people who couldn't be there. Not every woman in her thirties has such support, and I think I take it for granted every day.
4. Haters gonna hate.
I published independently, and am fully aware of the stigma attached to that. I tried to avert my eyes when another blog post would come up about the 'sellout' indie writer, but it was hard. But just as in everything in life... positivity is a choice. So is negativity. Please, choose positive. A much better use of your energy. Haters can live in Hate-ville, but you don't have to.
5. Define success unconventionally.
My goal is to 'break even' with this book. I want to make back all the money we put into it. Once that is done, my monetary goal will be complete.
But it is so much more than that. I've already succeeded, and here's how. When my mom got here, she had me sign FIVE books to her, her sister, brother, sister-in-law, and friends. Her pride in me was overwhelming.
And even more.... this moment:
How much for these moments? A billion dollars? A trillion? I wouldn't trade them for that much. I've already succeeded; it's already done. Now to enjoy the rest.