Throughout all of my classes, though, I used my picture book as a gateway to get their ideas flowing. And then it got me thinking about the whole publishing industry and all of the research I had done before I decided to publish my children’s book. The older kids were very interested in the publishing process as their eyes lit up with enthusiasm and excitement after I told them the rules have changed. The industry itself has changed; therefore, anyone can publish a book without the hassle of dealing with rejection after rejection after rejection.
Before I even decided to publish, I knew I had my research cut out for me. I took publishing seminars alongside various writing classes to perfect and craft my art. I always knew I had a gift and couldn’t wait to share it with the world. Don’t get me wrong; there had been times when I doubted myself as well as my gift, but deep down, I knew how writing affected my soul. It was, and has always been, the driving force in my passions, motivation, and continuous quest for constant creativity.
When I wake up, I think about writing and before I fall asleep, I meditate on it. Even when I am dreaming, I am coming up with stories as the worlds that exist within my head taunt and poke at my dreams. My writing moves me and at the same time, haunts the hell out of me.This is one of the main reasons I decided to self-publish my children’s book. Levar Burton and Reading Rainbow flooded my thoughts with memories and musings I had as a child. I remember how important it was for me to sit down in front of the television with my sister and watch Burton narrate stories so beautifully that we had no other choice but to literally “Take a look, it’s in a book.”
So when the kids asked me what inspired me to become an author, I told them this, “Writing lives inside of me and dwells at the canyons of my soul.” Well, I didn’t quite word it that way. I did, however, tell them that Reading Rainbow, playing endlessly outside with my sisters and friends, and the fact that I couldn’t breathe without it… well, these are all splendid reasons for anyone to want to inspire, move and motivate other people.
|This is what outside used to look like when we were little. Coincidentally, this is also what my children's book is about.|
So yes, I want to motivate others through my writing. I want to write books so powerful that others will have no other choice but to fall at the depths of the feelings protruding from my written words. And when I teach and present my writing and children’s book to our youth, I am constantly reminding and encouraging them to find their voice. I want them to use their talent and unique styles to not only become success stories, but to have others gravitate toward their work. Whether it’s music, acting, writing, illustrating, playing a sport… anything. I stress to our kids to find something they are passionate about and craft that passion so well, others will bask and share the light that resonates from within them. And of course, to not allow violent video games and the internet rot their brains.
You should have seen their faces when I told them the author of Eragon (Christopher Paolini) had his parents self-publish his final manuscript. He also wrote this story at 15 years old; incredible! It was later picked up by a bigger house but both Paolini and his parents believed in Eragon and they didn’t want anyone telling them differently.
I also told them that success stories like this don’t happen often but if they have a dream of becoming an author, they can make their dreams come true. Ever since I was a child, I wanted to be an author. And I’m lucky enough that I am able to do something I love. I still have a day job because I can’t live off of my writing yet. But until then, I will never stop writing nor will I ever stop visiting schools, libraries and bookstores to help spread word about my name as well as inspire our children.
Because I researched and began building a platform before my children’s book was released, I had landed myself in a pool of opportunities. I visit schools all over New Jersey and it turns out I am actually GOOD at what I do. Principals and teachers are constantly complementing me and passing my name around. They love my children’s book, author presentations, and now, writing classes.
I am not famous and by no means can I support myself from simply doing what I love to do. But I’m working hard at it and slowly, more doors are opening. And everything happened because I took a chance and chased after a dream; my way. My pen name is my business now and I will do whatever it takes to plant seeds around all of the grounds I come across.
Have you ever self-published a book? If so, how has your experience been? Would you ever self-publish a book if you haven’t already? Do you get nervous speaking in front big audiences?