IT ALL STARTED WITH AN INSTAGRAM POST.
When I was fired from my job at a homeowners insurance company, one of the ladies in HR said to me I would be free to become a famous author. I didn’t know about that, but I did know I was being handed an invitation to think critically about employment. I didn’t choose to be in insurance; it just so happened they hired me and I was good at the admin work they gave me. It paid the bills. Now I could spend so time figuring out what I wanted to do.
I take that statement back. I didn’t need to figure out what I wanted to do. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a small child. On one occasion when someone asked what my dream job was and I said writing, they said “OK, besides writing, what is your dream job?” I drew a blank. At that point, I hadn’t published a book of my own. I knew I liked editing, proofreading, and reviewing books, but I had no idea how to break into the publishing industry, as a writer or a behind the scenes worker.
After a few published books of my own, I discovered a talent and a passion for helping other writers get their books out into the world. In fact, four days before losing my job, I spoke at my church’s ladies day about writing and publishing. During the months between jobs, I decided to launch my own company providing publishing services. This would utilize my skillset and put much needed money in my pocket.
After months with no clients, save my dad and the college he was co-founding, I was about to let part of my dream die. Then I saw a call for contractors on Instagram. A publishing company was looking to contract out editing, formatting, and graphic design services to keep up with demand for their independent publishing services. The post said anyone who was interested should send an email to the company. The same day, Lara Casey announced a sale on Power Sheets, an intentional goal setting planner to help you reach your goals. Normally, I would have scrolled past both of these posts and waited too late to respond, but this time, I did the thing. You know, the hard thing. I bought the power sheets. I sent the email. I put my foot on the path and hoped it would lead to something good. And it did.
After submitting my resume, rate sheet and references, I had a phone conversation with some consultants of the company. I was more than confident in my editing skills, but I also indicated that I could format and design interiors as well. “Oh, wonderful! We really need a formatter. We’ll definitely be able to send you formatting work.”
They said the one thing I was least looking forward to them saying. Not because I didn’t want to do the work, but because I didn’t have the same confidence in my ability to format as I did in my ability to edit I’ve been editing my whole life, but I didn’t feel as qualified to charge someone for my formatting services.
I didn’t let my lack of confidence show on the call, though. I finished the call and opened my computer to find more information on formatting well. I bugged the authors in a Christian indie authors group I’m in, hopping in with questions that must have had them rolling their eyes at me. I practiced. Then I started getting work. All my hard work to sharpen my skills was put to the text…and I crashed and burned.
Well, not exactly. I formatted the books, but each book would need a little something else and was sent back to be tweaked. I got discouraged. God, I’m no good at this. Everything I do is flawed. I should give them their money back, tell them I can’t do it. I had my running shoes on and was ready to run again. Instead of taking off this time, I did something radical; I tried again. I asked more questions. I slowed down to write out what I needed to know from the client to format the book and create a checklist for myself. I refined my process. I kept taking the leaps, saying “yes,” and working as unto the Lord.
In only a month and change, I’ve worked on seven print books and six ebooks for both Kindle and iBooks. All formatting projects. I’m honing my formatting skills, getting them on par with my editing skills. Most importantly, I’m getting to be a part of the process of others realizing their dreams and doing what they feel called to do. I’ve worked on a few projects by popular authors, and it’s fun to think something I worked on is in thousands of hands. Responding to a post on Instagram breathed new life into my dream of publishing world domination. It’s hard to imagine what my life would be like in this season if I hadn’t took the leap, sent the email, said yes, asked the questions, etc.
If you see an opportunity, be quick about it. Pounce on it. Don’t let it get away without at least trying.
All of this work I’ve been getting formatting books and my new responsibilities as a group home manager haven’t overridden or overshadowed my own writing projects. I am working on a super secret project I hope to release later this year. More details on that to come. Today, I just wanted to encourage whoever needs the encouragement. Write the book. Start the business. Grab the opportunity when you see it.
Do the thing. You know what thing I’m talking about. And yes, I’m talking to you. Do the thing. The hard thing. Say the hard thing. March right on into the thick of it and don’t stop until you’ve come out the other side. Whatever it takes, get it done.
…She says as much to herself as to anyone else…