Stress is no one’s friend at all. This month has caused enough stress to give anyone nightmares. I deprived myself of sleep to finish a project that has taken a close to a year to accomplish. Yes, I published a book through self-publishing. I did it on my own with the help of some expensive and some free services, but I accomplished my goal set on New Year’s to be an author.
Well, here’s the problem: self-publishing is so different from traditional publishing. I was scammed by two somewhat reputable publishing companies and tried conning me out of money. Other traditional publishers said, “We’re busy right now with other manuscripts.” True, but come on, this story is focused on mental health, not Games of Thrones or the newest EL James book.
I called out the shots with my book. I have yet to get my author’s copy from Barnes and Noble and Amazon. My books are live on their sites. Even though it’s a week since release, I haven’t sold one. I can’t get too stressed about that. It’s new. People need time to check it out and needs more exposure. An audience needs to be built, and that takes time. I regularly check Amazon and I’m on the bestseller’s list, however, for my category I’m in between #300-500 in the ranks. That’s at the bottom of the barrel. Not to say I’m not promoting or advertising, I am. This is one of the downsides of self-publishing.
I have to learn to be patient and someone will purchase it. This area is too important to ignore. I’m stressing myself out for nothing. It’s only been a week since it’s release. I don’t know why I’m already calling myself a complete failure. I’m not. I put my heart and soul in it. I spent many man hours working myself into the ground along with running a business and recovering from a broken hand. I need to learn how to relax.
If learning to relax is easier said than done, Monday marked the anniversary of one of the worst days of my life. Last year on Easter Sunday, I witnessed a horrific crime at my job left me with bad PTSD and almost had a stroke because of it. A day that I wish I could forget but I can’t. I could’ve died or had a heart attack or stroke from it. Thank goodness I saw my doctor and was met with more bad news. As I was telling my doctor about publishing a book and how I keep telling myself I suck, he told me that I’m not and publishing a book about mental health is brave. True, it’s a hard thing to write about and he said it will take time for someone to pick it up and to be patient.
Then he lowered the boom on me: he told me that he suffered a heart attack, and had to get a stent placed inside because of the blockage, and the damage from the attack. I almost had one myself. Here I am talking to my doctor and he tells me this. It surprised me. I said, “How can you work and listen to patients like me going through bad depression periods without making your stress levels go up?” If I had a heart attack, I’d be far away from work and taking care of my body in every way shape and form.
My doctor told me to do healthy techniques that keep your health in check. In this case, eating right, getting sleep, etc. He said to keep writing and write more stories about your mental health. It will do you good. It made me feel better when he asked for a copy of my book and told me that what matters is the message of your book vs. sales. Mental health is like any other medical condition: it’s too important to ignore. Maybe I should take that advice and write more books for me and not for fame or monetary reasons. If writing helps me, then someone will read it and it will give them hope. I will tell you that many books out there are relatable to me, but when you tell your own story, it feels more real for me. It’s like me telling the world, “Here’s my story. This is what I go through every day.”