Friday, April 05, 2013

Oh, How Life Can Change

Today would have been my father-in-law's 90th birthday. When he passed away in 2005, I thought my world had ended. My husband had worked with his dad in their concrete business for 35 years, and he was excellent at his job, but his father was the salesman. He was the one with contacts, lifelong friendships with patio company guys and contractors, and the ability to talk to anyone. Hubby, not so much. I was looking at a bleak future.

I ended up taking over my father-in-law's role, though not anywhere near as successfully as he would have done it. We lasted two years before the economy tanked and building ground to a halt. There's no worse feeling than closing down a business someone else had managed to keep going for 40 years. You feel like a failure, a traitor, so many emotions I can't even explain. But there wasn't much we could do about it. We had bills to pay and there were no jobs.

Hubby was an amateur photographer, just as a hobby, but I went in search of photography jobs that would allow us to work together as a team. We'd discovered in that two years of concrete work that we worked well as a team. Lifetouch gave us that opportunity. While there was much to dislike about the job over the 4 1/2 years we worked there, it carried us through and gave us opportunities to travel that we wouldn't have otherwise had. But by the end of the 4th year, we didn't think we could face many more months of the abuse we took from the customers. Things were looking bleak again. Then one of my Wet Noodle Posse (GH 2003 finalists and winners group) friends posted about their self-publishing journey.

The Wet Noodle Posse

I'd read a little about Amazon's self-publishing venture, but didn't know where to start until Delle Jacobs gave us some pointers. I had one book out with Red Sage that made me about $10 every 6 months, so I didn't really have high hopes for making much money, but Delle was making in the thousands per month so I figured I had nothing to lose and potentially a lot to gain. At that point I had two complete manuscripts in addition to the one Red Sage owned and wouldn't release the rights to. I polished those two up, had my husband make me some very basic covers, and learned formatting. Up they went on Smashwords and Amazon.

Delle Jacobs

We were still working for Lifetouch at this point, traveling pretty much full-time, but after I got those two books up, I picked up my unfinished manuscripts and got to work. I put three more novels and two novellas up in the next six months, and my income shot up to a level that shocked me. I was able to pay off our sizable debts, and hubby and I both retired from the grueling life on the road. During the next six months, our income leveled off, but it was still enough to keep the bills paid and food on the table, though a couple of months were questionable. But I put out 6 more novels and novellas, including two very popular series, and that helped get us back up to a livable income.

On the road for Lifetouch

It's been twenty-one months since I put up that first book, and we're still making it. We aren't millionaires or even anywhere close to it like some of my friends are. I haven't been invited to join any of the popular clicks of authors, or added to any prestigious groups, but in my isolated little world I have fans I love and I'm surviving. And I'm still writing, something I'd nearly given up on before I embarked on this phase of my life. I've had some huge successes, and some small failures. I've made new friends, and rediscovered some old ones.

The moral is, not matter how bad things may look, how hopeless they may seem, trust in God and He will show you a new path. It might look scary and uncertain, but once you take the leap of faith to take the first step, He will help you take each additional step. And the future will look bright once again.

Sometimes it takes a tragedy to bring about a transformation. At least it did for me.

No comments: