The One Thing I’m Grateful For Today is Past Hardships

There were many times I didn’t think I’d make it through.

Grateful, thankful, blessed sign Grateful for past hardships-Say Yes
Photo by Ann on Unsplash

I had two children by the age of 21, their father wanted no part of it. I was on my own. I was working full time and returned to college when my oldest two were still in diapers. I took a full load of courses and picked up a work study job on campus. Minimum wage then was $4.25/hour. My two bedroom mobile home trailer was tiny and cheap, but it was mine.

I spent my days working and my nights doing bath, commuting between home, daycare, work, school, and then doing homework, and bedtime for the kids and then hours doing my homework or trying to figure out which bills I could pay that month.

I earned my degree, and graduated cum laude to boot, but it sure wasn’t easy. I also managed to morph that work study job into a full-time position, although it took almost ten years to work my way up to $35,000 annually with benefits.

It was going to be more money than I’d ever made in my life.

Life throws a hand grenade

That was the same year my gallbladder decided to rear its ugly head. After nearly six months of not knowing for sure what was wrong, it finally required removal which everyone said should have been no big deal.

But for me it was.

The surgeon screwed up, unknowingly I guess or maybe because he was leaving for vacation the next day, he sent me home. Two days later I was back in the ER and then was admitted, requiring emergency surgery.

I almost died.

I spent two weeks in the hospital, my kids were shuttled from family to friends to coworkers. Thank God for all of them who stepped up. It took much longer to recover because I had no choice but to go back to work at least part-time. My income was all there was.

Starting over and over…and over

I had to start over to build what I had. I started freelancing in 2003 for extra money. The job I relocated for and thought would be long-term turned out to have a manager who forced me out but then was indicted for embezzling federal funds.

I started over again but determined this time that I would figure out how to not be so dependent on employers for my income.

I had two more children, born when I was thirty-five and then thirty-nine. Their father turned out to be an addict which brought a whole new host of hardships to deal with including the long-term impact of his addiction and abandonment on my youngest daughters.

I started over again and again. Each time it felt like five steps forward and three steps back.

It’s been a long, complicated, difficult, stressful road. But it’s also been filled with family, surprises, new skills, new people, challenges, and most of all, love.

Gratitude Today

As I sit here today, I’m fifty-three and grateful for those hardships. I’ve learned so much and it all helps me now to have the flexibility I love.

It’s the fact that I’ve had those hardships and overcome them that’s made me stronger and made me capable enough to run my own business from home.

My youngest turns fourteen in a few weeks. My children and ten grandchildren are healthy. I spend time with them often and can help out when needed.

I enjoy my steady work-from-home job teaching tech and freelancing. My coaching business is growing rapidly. I have multiple income streams. My goal is to buy a home within the next year.

There’s truth to that old German saying by Friedrich Nietzsche “Aus der Kriegsschule des Lebens. — Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich stärker,” which loosely translated is “what doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.”

Key Message: Everything I’ve done gave me the strength, skills, and confidence to do what I’m doing today.

The World of Self-Publishing and Why Authors Must Understand the Basics

Plus the two things you must get right when you self-publish.

I just had a conversation recently with a client about self-publishing. I’ll admit I’m not a book marketer. I’m not a self-publishing expert. But I’m a working writer who studied the self-publishing industry extensively when I wanted to self-publish my own novel.

In fact, at one point I wanted to be a book marketer and help other authors get their books seen by the right readers.

That is, until I researched self-publishing and learned how many things can tank book sales, if you don’t get it right from the start.

During my research over several years, I learned a lot about the self publishing industry. I also studied related topics so when I did self-publish, I would know what questions to ask to choose the best service.

In the process I learned a lot about what not to do when self-publishing.

The two things you must get right.

You absolutely cannot afford to get the genre of your novel wrong. There are very specific elements to many genres and sub-genres. If you get this wrong, people who love your genre of book won’t find it, which can mean low sales, if any.

Those who find your book in the wrong category, may hate it. If they are looking for cozy mystery and you give them horror, for example. At the least they will feel dissatisfied or deceived, which can result in bad reviews.

Your book cover is your only chance in most cases at a first impression on potential readers. I know that every genre and sometimes sub genre of book also has standard design elements for the cover. When it come to font, style of drawing, even color combinations, you have to get these elements right if you want to attract fans of your genre.

Get the design of your book cover wrong and you make a bad first impression.

Readers won’t even see your perfect blurb, your amazing hook, or that engaging first chapter because they never click on your cover.

Know what service your expert can and cannot offer.

Because technology has made the process of self publishing so much easier, many, many people have begun designing book covers, and offering self-publishing services, or book marketing services.

Not everyone is trying to run a scam. Some folks are simply trying to earn a living doing book cover design, something they’ve discovered they’re good at. They have that eye for visual design and produce great looking covers.

Others are trying to make money using their skill in technology to convert a manuscript in Word into an e-book in Kindle, Mobi, or some other format. The conversion of a manuscript into this format can be a frustrating thing to learn, so many authors would rather just pay someone to do it for them. Many of those offering design services are highly experienced in their craft.

Technical skill and publishing industry knowledge don’t always align.

But someone who is phenomenal with book design might not have the knowledge about the importance of those genre elements of cover design. They may give you exactly the book cover design you want, without realizing it’s the wrong design for your genre and will tank your sales. So it’s up to you, as the author, to know what the design elements are right for your genre and make sure they are in your cover design.

If you are considering self publishing a book, whether fiction or nonfiction, make sure you do your homework first. It’s your responsibility to know about genre, cover design, and the actual publishing process. It’s perfectly fine to pay someone else to do the tasks you don’t want to master. But the more you know, the better questions you can ask when you are vetting those experts.

For solid information on cover design, marketing, and the self publishing process, I turned to YouTube and found Derek Murphy of CreativIndie. I’m not affiliated with him in any way, I just feel he knows a lot about the industry, has experience, and is sincere in trying to provide the best information about self publishing he can.

If you’re going to self-publish, give your book a fair shot by making sure you choose the right experts for each part of the process.

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