Ever since I was a little girl, I have always enjoyed writing. My teachers used to read my stories to the class throughout secondary school. This used to fill me with both pride and embarrassment at being the nerdy child. Once I joined the corporate world of banking, I forgot all about this creative hobby of mine as the last thing I wanted to do after a long day at work was to sit down and write.
About 4 years ago, when I was in between contracts and my nephew was born, this amazing idea about a series of children’s picture books came to me. I ignored it for a while, thinking that it would be too hard a task as I could not draw. And just because my stories were good enough for school didn’t make me an author. I eventually gave in and acted as I could not get these books out of my mind. I wrote a bunch of picture books about a little boy who travels around the world, discovering new countries and learning about cultures and different ways of life. I felt so excited and passionate about my books as they incorporated my love of travelling and promoted acceptance and diversity. With advice from my meditation teacher, I went on a search for an illustrator and I have to say that this was so much fun. Receiving their illustrations and viewing their interpretation of a section of my book was really exhilarating as it felt like I was getting closer to my dream. I soon found the perfect illustrator who brought one of my books to life with beautiful images.
I sent copies to several agents and publishers that I researched online and obtained from the Writers and Artists yearbook. My heart broke a little bit more every single time I received rejection emails. I started doubting my book, its worth and thought that I had wasted my time. I decided to focus on my job instead as it felt safer.
In a weird turn of events, I started talking about my books to my osteopath. He took interest and offered to read them as he was also a coach who loved helping people pursue their dreams. I received some very honest feedback which bruised my ego a little bit more. He did believe in the concept of the series and we started working on my writing together.
Being pregnant reignited my passion to get my books published. A dream I held dear to my heart was reading my books to my daughter and nephew. Focusing on simplicity, I reworked my books and wrote a new one about India. I once again went through the tedious process of sending out my book which resulted in more rejections. I was ecstatic when I finally got a letter of interest from Olympia Publishing. Over several months, we worked closely to get my book production ready. Throughout this process, I learnt that you need to be diligent in reviewing the drafts and proofs to avoid delays.
My heart burst with joy when I finally received my book and proudly shared it with my family. Reading the book to my nephew and daughter was so special and it’s a memory that I will cherish forever. My advice to you this – Do not give up your dreams. Talk about your book to people and ask for their advice when you are unsure of the steps to take. You will be surprised how much help you get from the most unlikely places. Sharing your work with others is scary but the feedback that you receive can be invaluable and help you grow as a writer. Please do not let the pessimists get to you. I remember attending a children’s book writing course and the teacher, a published author of multiple books, kept telling me that my book ideas would not be published as I was not a well-known author. Apparently my ideas would only be published if they came from already known writers. I proved her wrong and I am sure that you can too.