Happy Birthday to a Dream

In December I wrote about my plans to self-publish my first book after a long and interesting journey down the traditional publishing road. It was a tough decision and one I didn’t take lightly. I researched options and discussed with friends —  both those whom have had luck in the traditional publishing world, and those who have never published at all in fear of failure — and in the end, my decision was solid. I found a community that was warm and accepting and supportive (lots of emails and comments of support on this very blog in fact!), and a handful of vendors willing to take a chance on an indie author looking for neither fame nor fortune, but simply, one who wanted her words to be shared with others. And so, after much work, patience and waiting, a few weeks ago my dream saw the light of day and Aberration, my first novel, was revealed to the world.

I’ve always taken risks. I’ve always had the confidence to stand at bat, on a stage, or in front of a room, but I’ve never been more scared or unsure of myself then I was at that very moment, and absolutely terrified me. What if people hated it? What if they thought I couldn’t write? What if they thought the story was stupid? So many questions ran through my mind it was hard to think straight. But then I received some great advice: some people probably will hate it. Some people will probably think you can’t write. And yes, some might think it’s stupid. But some people might also love it. Some people will be touched by your words. And some might think it’s the best story they have ever read. Every reader will interpret your work differently. Some people will  identify, while others will crucify; some will love your characters, while others will loathe them.  But in the end you must have thick enough skin to accept it – all of it – the good, the bad and the ugly. You must let it roll off and know that it’s OK to feel excited and inadequate — it’s what makes us human.

Great advice.

Publishing a novel is a crap shoot and one that not every writer wants to take. But in taking it, I’ve learned so much that I would do it all over again.

I learned that I am stronger than I give myself credit for.  I learned that its not about the fame or the fortune…at least not for me. So what if I don’t write the next 50 Shades of Grey. So what if my characters aren’t idolized as Edward and Bella.  So what if I don’t win a Pulitzer. So…what. Because you know what? I put it out there. I put my words out there. I put my characters, whom I have loved and nurtured and laughed and cried with, out there. I put myself out there.

I love to tell stories and that love, despite the range of emotions, has only grown even more during this entire process. I love to create fictional towns that are so real in my head I want others to see their streets as I see their streets.  About characters who make me laugh and smile and sometimes even angry, but regardless of their perfection and flaws, interesting enough that readers will go anywhere with them, no matter the journey. And I love to explore the possibility of what it. What if there were magic? What if you could go back in time? The what if’s go on and on and on.

I was positively buoyant when feedback began pouring in from readers and even now, as I begin to work with reviewers, it is this buoyancy I am holding onto. Not everyone will be excited about the story, not everyone will give me a thumbs up. But those that don’t love it won’t hold quite the same power as I thought they would because when I released my first novel I not only took that crap shoot but I placed a bet. On me and on my dream. And they were both worth it.

Aberration is the debut novel from author Danielle Simmons. It was a semi-finalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. It is available at a variety of online bookstores and coming soon to a handful of select SF bookstores.  Fallout, the sequel to Aberration, is due for release early 2013. It will be the second book of a planned three book series. 

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