Writing a Novella: A Spiritual Journey

A thing happened.

In 3-4 weeks, I will be a published author.

I didn’t see this coming.

I will now provide a detailed history on how this came to be. This is the only factual way I can tell it. Most of it is a spiritual journey, so if you hate reading spiritual journeys, you don’t have to continue.

Okay, here’s how it happened. A little over a month ago, my husband lost his job. I cried tears of joy. I’d felt for a while that we were almost ready for the next big step in our lives, but whatever it was couldn’t happen while my husband was working full-time. We’re Christian. We prayed together about what we should do and received the same answers individually. That is, I should get a job and start writing one of my books, and my husband should stay home and work on his YouTube channel.

That seemed really odd to me at the time, but I started applying to jobs and tried to figure out what book to write. I got an interview and a job within two business days. It took me another two weeks to feel like I had the right book in mind. By the time I had that answer, I was on track to work full-time but I strongly believed that I was pregnant and my work environment was not a safe place for that. I turned my two weeks’ notice in and the next day my manager asked me if I just wanted to have that be my last day. So, that’s what I did.

That Friday I came up with a few new ideas for this book. I decided it would make more sense for it to be a novella. Then I started writing. That day I got 6,000 words down. I got this crazy idea in my head. ‘What if I wrote 6,000 words every day? I could finish this novella in five days!’ Usually I max out around 2,000. I’m not good at writing consistently in the first place. Especially when I don’t have a detailed outline or when I’ve never finished a draft of that book before, which in this case, I hadn’t. But I felt good about it. And I did it. I wrote the whole novella in five days.

I also got a positive pregnancy test that weekend.

This is just an insane time in our lives. I’m pregnant. I’m publishing a novella. Neither of us are working full-time right now. We’re planning on moving across the country in six or seven weeks. And that’s just the stuff going on in our immediate little family.

Because of how crazy everything has been, I keep wanting to rush everything. At first I had every intention of editing the book myself, figuring out how to format it myself, paying as little as I could for a book cover on fiverr (I’d heard rumors of $5 book covers and I was definitely planning on finding one) and just publishing it. Right now we are living off of credit. We had some miracle savings when my husband was fired (we really have no idea where it came from) but my husband is now working at the same place as I was and they haven’t let him work for over a week, and he won’t be making as much there as he did at his last job, so we’re withdrawing as little as we can from our checking account and using credit or cash for everything else. Right now what we have saved would only cover the debt we have since incurred. The plan is for him to work overtime for at least the rest of the year once we move to get us back out of debt, and we can use what’s left in our checking for a down payment or first month’s payment on a home. It’s a pretty solid plan, as far as we’re concerned. I don’t think we’ve actually prayed about it. It’s just what’s made sense to us.

That whole plan kind of makes it seem like a bad idea for us to get into even more debt right now, though. Right?

However, from the start I knew I’d have to buy my own ISBN. I’m publishing “That Prince Guy” on Amazon. I don’t want to give away any of the rights to this book just for a free ‘ISBN.’ I’m too much of a noob. I don’t know what or if I’d be missing out on anything in the long term by doing that, so I might as well avoid it.

ISBNs are expensive.

I asked my husband, and he said I should buy the 100-pack of ISBNs for approximately $600.

At first I just thought it was great that he supported me so much. But then I thought it seems kind of silly to spend all that money that we don’t have on ISBNs right now when I most likely won’t need more than 10 before we get next year’s tax returns, and that would be a better time to invest that much money. A package of 10 ISBNs costs half as much.

As time went on and I tried to make more plans, I felt wrong about my plans. The first to go was my editing plans. I asked an old friend if she could do it. Timing is bad for her. I let that be and made plans to find a different editor soon.

Next was formatting. No way can I pull that off myself. Maybe if I was functioning normally, but pregnancy brain is beating the crap out of my life. Whatever I can allow anyone else to handle, I should. I’m probably not going to do anything fancy or spend a ton on that, but I found someone I can pay to format my book for Amazon.

Last was the book cover. I thought I found someone who looked like they could do okay on fiverr, and it would only cost me about $45 for everything I wanted. But I wasn’t sure. I made plans to ask Facebook friends (the author ones) for referrals. Then I went and visited an author friend on Saturday night, and she just gave me a referral. Their work looks great. They’re way more expensive than I’d ever planned, but this feels right. This feels like what I’m supposed to do. One of the designers emailed me back Saturday night and said they’re very interested, and it looks like this is going to work out.

This has been such a crazy, crazy journey.

I have always believed that I can succeed as an author, for as long as I’ve wanted to be one. As an eleven-year old I firmly believed I’d be a famous author someday. Now I think ‘famous’ is a relative term, but I’m still dead set on the idea of making a living off of my writing. That isn’t even the most important part. The important part is that my books influence people. That I change lives.

I guess I already know I can change lives. I’m just scared about the money thing. That’s probably why it seems like I think about that more often.

I’ll probably be investing at least $600 into this book. That’s money we don’t have. And this is a five book series. I can’t invest $600 I don’t have into each book. Especially since I’m planning on having all of them published in the next six months. That’s a significant portion of our income.

That isn’t what really matters. It’s just what my anxiety has been eating at lately. I’m worried I won’t be able to afford this. I’m worried my books won’t make me any money and I won’t be able to keep going for a while. I’m worried I’m getting us more in debt for nothing.

I recently saw someone post that they published a novel or novella in a genre they’d never written before and they didn’t even advertise it, but when they checked on it a month later it had made them $5,000 already.

I have high hopes for this novella. Hoping for that much is probably wishing for a miracle, though. And I don’t wish for miracles. I pray for them. I pray for them knowing I might not get them and even if I don’t things will work out. It would just be easier to see how things would work out if I got that miracle.

At the same time, I’m wondering how far-fetched it is to believe this book could do really well. I’m planning on labeling it under Juvenile Fiction/Social Issues/Depression & Mental Illness and Juvenile Fiction/Fairy Tales & Folklore/Adaptations. I’m having trouble maneuvering Amazon Books to see what’s already there, but I feel like “That Prince Guy” will at least stick out under the first category. After all, its subtitle is “a Snow White novella.” Who’d expect to see a Snow White parody in a place like that? I also specifically told the cover designer that I’d like the cover to portray themes of whimsy, depression/mental illness, and fairy tales, if possible. She said she’s looking forward to the challenge. She also said she’d want to read it based on the name along. If this comes together… maybe this book really could sell well by looks alone.

Right now, I have no plans to advertise it except through my blogs and self-promotion.

We’ll see what happens.

When I started writing “That Prince Guy,” I honestly meant for it to be nothing more than a whimsical funny adventure with traces of romance. Or maybe even a lot of romance.

Now it barely has traces of romance. You know it’s going to happen, but it’s not in the book.

Instead, this book is about Guy’s emotional journey. In the first couple of chapters from his point-of-view, he’s flat out lying about what’s going on. Throughout the book he opens up more and admits all of his struggles.

You know what? I could talk a lot more about what this book is about, but this post is already almost 1700 words long. I’ll go make a new blog post for the sake of explaining the book.

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