Check out Sara's first novel, Throne of Lies. Now available in eBook, Paperback, & Audiobook
My Self-Publishing Journey
The Writers Dream was Born
In our youth, we are all asked the same daunting question:
Who do you want to be when you grow up?
My answer was ever changing; morphing as rapidly as I was growing. At one point, I wanted to be a veterinarian or zookeeper to satiate my love for animals, then for a long while I wanted to be a defense attorney to make a difference, and then came the phase when I wanted to be rockstar, but then, who didn’t want to be a rockstar? It wasn’t until I was seventeen that the desire to be a writer was born. Clueless where to begin, I did the only thing I knew: I opened Microsoft Word and unleashed my creativity. It started with a sentence at a time and before I knew it the day melted into the night. It was in that moment that I fell in love with writing. I was overwhelmed with the endless possibilities before me. As I sat back and glanced over what I'd accomplished, I noticed that my soul felt lighter as I had momentary released the burdens from my mundane life, and I couldn't wait to wake up and begin writing anew the next day.
That was the beginning of my journey to become an author; I just didn't know it yet.
During that time, I unknowingly lacked structure, proper formatting, and countless other skills required to write within today’s standards. Although, none of that mattered to my teenage mind as I was riding a serotonin wave of excitement as I explored my own imagination even further. While I didn’t possess many of the key components that would make my manuscript sparkle, I did, however, successfully birth a story idea that would follow me for the next nine years of my life.
This was all in the year 2007, and I was (and am still) a proud nerd. The fantasy genre had almost exclusively drawn me into the literary world, so it was only natural that I focused my efforts there. It began with a character, the one who would tell the story to the reader. Her name is Princess Amethysta Serelle and that was the only detail of my story that remained untouched through the my writing journey. I admittedly used myself as the template for Amethysta. I did this for a few reasons, but the main reason was that it allowed me to write more authentically by taking my real-world struggles and giving them a fantasy twist. In a way, this was also therapeutic for me at that age. I briefly touched upon this subject in the acknowledgments section within Throne of Lies. That choice was a risky one for me that I heavily debated before publishing as I had never before publicly declared my mental disorder. While that rabbit hole goes much deeper than I’ve previously lead on, that is for another day—another blog.
The subject here remains to focus on what it took to publish my first novel. Oddly enough, the truth is that when I set out to write this story I never had the goal to publish it or to become an author. I simply enjoyed exploring the creative outlet. In fact, my writings were all very personal; from my poetry to my journals to Throne of Lies. For half a decade, I kept Amethysta's story private, only allowing one person to ever read parts of it. I suppose that was because writing had always been a rather private activity for me, and a way for me to unleash my mind and unwind my anxieties. Honestly, it felt almost intimate for another's eyes to touch upon the world and characters I had created, since I was writing from such a personal space.
These were challenges I faced early on, but were in no means my biggest. I wish it to be known that my nine-year journey of writing Throne of Lies was not a constant one. There was a time when I went as long as two to three years without even looking at my manuscript. Although, it was never far from my thoughts. Amethysta and the world of Vataenya were as vivid in my mind as a childhood story that ones mother might have read to them each night. But these elongated breaks from writing caused issues as my writing style was changing as I was aging. It proved to be difficult to maintain an accurate point of view to that of a seventeen-year-old girl as I entered my twenties.
Now lets fast forward to 2013, that was when something flipped within me. I suddenly had a blaring need to finish my novel and to ascend from writer to author. For the first time since beginning my writing journey, I felt as though I was going to finish this book and put it out into the world for others to read. I was bubbly with excitement as I daydreamed about all the wonderful things I'd experience as an author: having my book on shelves, signing my book for another, reading reviews of those who found joy in my words. Those were the good things, but I hadn't considered the bad then. I was utterly unaware the troubles that were coming my way. I would soon learn that as it turns out, writing a book is so much more than just writing. The hard lesson was coming, and so was the time when I'd come face to face with the darkest parts of self-doubt.
And this was all just the beginning...