If someone told me last year that I will be doing what I did last Sunday, I probably would have laughed, shrugged it off, rolled my eyes, and stared into space with a dreamy look on my face…
I wouldn’t have believed. I would have dreamed of it, yes, but I know I also would have doubted myself. I wouldn’t think I’d have it in me.
So, this happened last Sunday…
I had my very first book signing.
This time last year, I did not have a book yet. What I had were scribblings on pad paper. I also had typewritten and saved drafts of a number of ‘chapters’ of an unfinished story.
I finally completed the very first draft of the book September 26 of last year (2015). I know because I noted the date on my planner. I encircled the date — actually, I hearted it — and I wrote : finished my book, first draft…
It was at its rawest, purest form. Unedited. Untouched by anyone else.
I was happy I was able to finish writing the story, yet I never imagined that I would see it in book form. I was satisfied enough with the knowledge that I was able to create something that had more than 30,000 words.
I only had two readers in mind — my person in L.A. and my best friend/cousin from here. I thought that was the farthest my book project will go.
It took a couple of months before I decided to submit the manuscript to a publishing house. By then I think I have read, edited, revised, reread and again revised the draft for about a hundred times. It was end November when I finally decided I was ready to submit it. I sent it via courier to a well-known local publishing company. One that publishes novellas for young adults, as well as chick lit books.
I gave myself two weeks. I told myself if I don’t hear from that publishing company, it means my work wasn’t good enough. I told myself that I will forget about the whole thing and just charge everything to experience. I didn’t even have to share the experience — or the rejection — with anyone. The plan was to just let the “write and publish own book” idea die a slow, quiet death. No one brags about rejection.
I did not hear from said publishing company. Ergo, my manuscript was rejected.
The story would have ended there. The dream could have ended there.
Christmas reunion with family, 2015. I told my best friend/cousin from here that I was toying with the idea of self-publishing… that I have reached out to a couple of publishers and I was waiting for their reply… I also told her that there was this book designer whose works I fell in love with the moment I saw them online, and that I reached out to her, too.
Of course dear cousin encouraged me all the way. She kept reminding me that this has always been my dream… and she knew that because we were cousins and we practically grew up knowing each other’s aspirations.
She told me to go for it, told me to keep reaching. And she told me she was excited about the book signing. My book signing. There was no book yet, but she was already planning my book signing.
She called it. I think that was on Christmas day. 🙂
Things started happening in January. Everything started falling into place.
At the same time, I also began having more moments of doubt and sleepless nights, too. I remember sending my cousin a text one night asking her to remind me again why I was doing what I was doing. She replied by telling me that nothing beats being able to physically touch and hold a book that I wrote. She made me imagine and visualize reading my name on the cover.
That truly helped me fight my fears somewhat.
I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe God brought the people I needed my way because they were supposed to help me fulfill a dream.
It wasn’t an easy process, but maybe it wasn’t supposed to be easy. Maybe I had to experience rejection from that first publishing company because I was meant to have something better. Maybe I wouldn’t have found my amazing cover artist and my super awesome book coordinator-cum-editor if another publisher found me. Maybe the ending of my book would even have been different. (You may read more about my book writing experience in my blog, Storytelling Time.)
It was a long, arduous process, but I believe I was guided every step of the way.
You want to know something else that I learned? I learned that one is never too old to fulfill a dream. I have been writing essays since I was 12 years old. I have been dreaming of writing and publishing a book since I was a teenager. I have tried several times to come up with a good storyline for a book. Began several times. I failed several times, too.
Then it just happened. God intervened. I could imagine God in a booming voice saying to me, “It is time! Let’s get this book out.”
And God’s time is always the perfect time.
If someone told me early last year that I will have my own book by this time, I probably would have laughed, shrugged it off, rolled my eyes… 🙂
So now it’s out !!!
Twenty Years in Between… The Love Story of Lizzie and Joseph
Available at Central Books. Soon at select National Book Store and Powerbooks outlets.
Because it doesn’t hurt to read a sappy love story every once in a while.
And yes, because love is a wonderful thing. ❤ ❤ ❤
#20yearsinbetween #lizzieandjoseph #fiction
Photos are all mine 🙂 More photos from the event coming soon!!