In the Beginning...
Contributor

The anticipation of having a first book released in the spring of 2020 feels exciting and daunting.  Like a lot of writers that find their way to She Writes Press, I’ve gone to the dance with agents and traditional publishers. Only one of them ever took me home.  And then kicked me out when my novel didn’t sell.  Sigh.  So along with exciting and daunting, let me add the word “empowered” to this story.

Years ago, before there was ever an I-tunes, Derek Sivers started a company called CD Baby. Derek was no Harvard MBA. He was a musician whose vision was to create a space where independent bands and songwriters could find an audience.  Up until that point, if you weren’t with a big record label, you could maybe get your music into a couple of stores who were willing to sell your CD’s at the counter, but that was it.  Sivers made it possible for music makers to be exposed to a national and international audience via the Internet.

For the first couple of years, he sold CD’s out of his living room. Musicians would sign up, send him inventory and then he’d showcase them on-line. Listeners were exposed to all kinds of new music and showed their allegiance by placing orders on the CD Baby site.  Then Derek would pack up the recording that they wanted and send it out.

Sivers eventually sold his company for 22 million dollars, but he never let go of his ideal that CD Baby wasn’t about making money.  Truth is, if he’d listened to the business advice that he was getting, he probably could have sold the company for more.  But for Derek, CD Baby wasn’t about the profits, it was about making dreams come true for him self and for others. This inspires me, because I’m not really a businesswoman, I’m a writer, so I’m not going to relate to ROI (return on investment) as much as I’m going to relate to the essential overview of art:  that art makes our world a better and more livable place, and that art connects us. If you want to read more about Sivers, check out his book, Anything You Want.

I care deeply about my writing and I work hard at it. If success was determined by hard work, we’d all be rock stars by now.  I also care deeply about other writers. The journey can be harsh, and supporting other writers feels purposeful to me and it takes the edge off the manuscript weary.

I’m guessing that how musicians wound up at CD Baby isn’t that dissimilar to how most of us wound up at She Writes Press.  I remember the day that I admitted to myself that wanting to have readers for my writing wasn’t unreasonable at all.

Last week I listened to my first She Writes webinar. It explained all sorts of things about the publishing world that I didn’t know: how distribution works, the definition of POD and ARC’s, and what PR packages can cost.  Both Aldous Huxley and William Shakespeare used the phrase “O Brave New World,” to describe the hope of embracing something totally new. It works here too. And for me,  "brave new world" means empowered.

My editorial calendar for this week included a blog post for She Writes.  Like the new kid in school, who wants to make friends, participate and offer goodwill to those around her, I am compelled to share some of my thoughts and feelings with the fellow writers of the She Writes tribe.

This is the beginning for me. I’d like to hear about wherever you are in the process of your book. I’d like to hear about what standing at the precipice of bringing a book into the world is (or was) like for you.  Please reach back and share your comments.

 

Stephanie Raffelock is the author of “A Delightful Little Book on Aging,” a spring 2020 She Writes Press, release. She’s a yet-to-be published novelist and a published journalist, blogger and essayist.  She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband. You can find her at:

[email protected]

http://Stephanieraffelock.com

https://www.facebook.com/StephanieRaffelock/

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