To recap, I needed a platform in order to get a publisher. I friended 800 people on facebook, and when people (especially an older military man) started asking how I knew them, I told them about my book (my need for a platform) and how my son had died. Honesty--would it be the best policy?
I drank a chocolate coke, which happens to be my favorite thing other than coffee--Joshua you were right--pulled on my big-girl boots and faced the computer.
The first messages were from some random people. "I'd love to help support you."
One woman said she'd lost a baby. I was shocked, but we even got to be friends in the following months. I remember crying at the computer because EVERY ONE of those people accepted my friendship on facebook. (Well everyone except an old woman who said she hates technology and that it's connecting everyone--even strangers.)
But out of all my new 799 friends, the one I worried about the most was the military man. He sent me a very short reply, "Thanks for being honest. I've confirmed our friendship."
Now, let me tell you something about that older man. He only had 30 friends on facebook. I knew he was only keeping contact with people he was closest to. So, although I met many wonderful people, I really respected my friendship with the military man. His comments to other people were hard and resolved. The pictures he shared were of war and victory. We had little in common, but I found myself admiring his resolve.
So, back to the publication process. I hired two editors. I think (no matter who you are--whether you've found an agent/publisher or not) this is a must. Professional editors will pick up on things other people (even fellow writers) might not find. There's a reason professional editors are around.
This was one of the many times I've edited "The Sword of Senack." I removed 40,000 words this time.
Anyway, were the revisions hard? Yes, but they made the book shine just enough, it prepared the MS for what would come.
Moving Along, to the audience . . .
So, after hiring the editors and implementing their corrections, I decided it was time for another test. I found children--my target audience--and asked them to read my book.
Four of them read it and had thoughts for me. I changed more things. One of the greatest tests for authors is knowing what is important enough to change and what's important enough to keep.
Sometimes implementing revisions is like sailing across the River Styx. It's hard and brutal. I thought what I changed was very difficult to do, yet the greatest test of all was about to come when I found a special editor who believed in me--someone who would change my life forever--but that's another story.
Now, I'd like you to keep in mind that in January of 2011, I had no followers, no twitter account and hardly any friends on facebook. No platform.
Later, although people had said wonderful things about my book, I still felt a bit hopeless. Was it the right thing to pursue a writing career? I gave up a booming sewing business to chase a dream.
So, anyway, I wrote the post about the release of my book, and this is the one thing that still makes me cry . . .
I got an e-mail a few days later. It was from an e-mail address I'd never seen before. This is basically what it said:
Nine months ago I got a friend request from a girl I didn't know. I originally thought about just denying the request, but when I asked why she had contacted me, the girl responded with such honesty, I couldn't help but befriend her.
Like I said, nine months have passed. I've seen YOU grow from an aspiring writer, to the author I knew you'd become. I've never met you, but I feel like I know you.
Many years ago, I lost someone close to me. I shut myself off from everyone, but your ups and downs have given me strength.
I read your blog every day and I must say I am so proud of you.
Your son must be watching from Heaven. I hope he sees how hard you're working to keep his memory alive, and how much you want to help other people.
Thank you for requesting to be my friend.
Thank you for helping me with my own grief.
When your book comes out, I will be the first one in line to buy it.
The Military Man
I'm crying as I write this because the support and love ALL OF YOU have given to me is amazing! I can't explain how much your reviews and advice, your KINDNESS and comments have meant to me.
I started this journey, just hoping to get a book published, but in the process, I've grown and learned so much. I've gained over 4,600 friends on facebook! Over 16,000 followers on Twitter! Over 1,900 followers on my blog!
I just had to tell each of you, this success is because of you. My fantasy will be released in 3 days . . . and I have a platform--because of you.
This gift you've given me--you've given Zeke's story and now this representation of it--is amazing.
To that military man, his wonderful words, and all of you:
You've touched my life more than I can express. I never hoped for so much.
I can't wait to tell you about my big break. That will be tomorrow . . .