My Journey from Discovery to Acceptance to Change
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Hope Through Authenticity

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The Worst- And Best- Part Of Being An Author

I have just finished book two of three in my Hope Series. Editing done. Formatting done. Cover done. I should be dancing down the street. Right?

My neighborhood book club suggested we read my book next month. My answer:  HELL NO.

Not MY Book Club

Why would I say no to a group of ladies willing to buy my book? I want people to read – and hopefully enjoy – Journey to Hope. I want people to enjoy it so much they read the first book Decide to Hope and recommend both to everyone!

Heck, I even want OTHER book clubs to read my book. I’ve created a list of questions to make it easier on book clubs. But MY Book Club? HELL NO.

To make this easier to understand, let me put you in a scenario and see how you feel …

You are sitting with ten or fifteen friends, enjoying wine and cheese, pretending not to gossip but nattering about who did what and to whom.

Now, imagine the friend to your left says, “Put your kid in the center of the circle and we’ll tell you everything that’s right about your child. But, of course, we’ll spend more time pointing out everything that’s wrong.”

Would you say, “Sure, that sounds like fun?”

My Baby

A book is like a child. In some ways, a book is more intimate. My children are shaped by me but also by the world. My children have unique personalities that I had nothing to do with creating. What is “right” or “wrong” with them is a combination of influences.

My book however is 100% me. Whatever is ‘wrong’ is my ‘fault’. Putting a book into the world is, by far, one of the most vulnerable things I have ever done. EVER.

Reviews

Yes, I want reviews – need reviews. I want to know what people like and didn’t like. I want people to tell me if my book made an emotional impact. And, yet, reading those reviews is hard, hard, hard. With my first book, I never read one review. Shameful but true.

But I don’t want – cannot imagine – could not survive – sitting in a group while people attack ME. I am not my characters Kathleen or Matt. But they are ME. Does that make sense?

I know what you’re thinking – “your book club wouldn’t attack your book”. They may not. But attacking a book is what book clubs do.

Here is what I ask at every book club:

  • Rate this book on a scale of one to five.
  • What did you like?
  • What did you hate?
  • At what point in the novel did you “feel” something?
  • At what point did you want to put the book down?
  • Did the characters become so real you could imagine them sitting next to you?
  • Would you recommend this book?
  • Would you read anything else by this author?

All of those questions are asked before we actually discuss the story. Each and every one of those questions is an opportunity to “attack” a book.

Back to Our Scenario

So, you have – bravely or stupidly – agreed to put your child in the center of the group. Here is what they will ask:

  • Rate this child on a scale of one to five.
  • What did you like about this child?
  • What did you hate this child?
  • What do you FEEL about this child?
  • At what point did you want to abandon this child?
  • Would you recommend this child?
  • Would you want to be around any of this person’s other children?

Schadenfreude

ALL good stories are written on the premise of schadenfreude. Schadenfreude is “delighting in the misery of others”.

Sitting in a group while my friends vivisect my book or my child or my husband is the very definition “delighting in the misery of others.” YIKES. HELL NO.

The Hardest Part of Being An Author

My characters, Kathleen and Matt, are about to enter the world and are subject to all the criticisms the world can sling at them. Each arrow hits ME in the solar plexus. Takes my breath away. Sends me into the “who do you think you are to write a book?” cave.

It’s worth it. Kathleen and Matt deserve to have their story told.

It’s worth it. I worked hard to portray a dramatic PTSD story – the fears and hopes for the sufferer and her family.

It’s worth it. But, damn, it’s HARD HARD HARD.

Do other authors feel this way? I don’t know. But I’d bet on it.

Journey to Hope

I hope you read it. I hope you love it. I hope you go to Amazon and Goodreads and anywhere else and sing my praises. I hope you demand your book club read it. Just don’t invite me.

I promise to grab my wine, enjoy my cheese and crackers, and read every single review!

If you have an author in your life, pat them on the back for their bravery. The only way someone would put a book on the market is because they dug deep and found courage.

The title of the book is Journey to Hope – that’s what every author goes through – a journey to tell someone else’s story and a hope that someone will like it.

Click HERE to download the Journaling Activity that accompanies this blog as we dig into the best and worst parts of YOUR career!

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  • Meet June

    June with Purple Hair

    In April 2012 I had a mental breakdown. The real thing. I have about 36 hours that I don’t remember....

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  • All of my novels, at least so far, have an element of mental illness within a character.  Decide to Hope is the most autobiographical in that I struggle in many ways exactly as the female protagonist. 
    - J.C.
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    cover Journey to Hope by June A. Converse - cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains

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