Publishing a book is like opening your heart and mind to the world; one of my biggest fears before I published Corrupted was the vulnerability I would feel at having my work scrutinised. This was amplified because the book is partly based on my experiences as an exotic dancer; a time in my life that many people did not previously know anything about, including my father, who is Japanese and has very traditional beliefs and values.
After a lot of procrastination I finally decided to take the leap of faith and put my work out there for the world to see. After countless rejections from literary agents and a chance meeting at my writer’s group I decided to self-publish my novel, one of the best decisions I have ever made!
It was a long time before I deemed my work worthy enough to be read. I edited my work incessantly for about six months, before finally I concluded that it was the best it could be, and if I continued then I would probably drive myself completely insane.
The launch date for my book soon arrived and with it came my very first reading, which took place at my book launch party. Family and friends gathered to celebrate with me the culmination of a years worth of obsessive, locked up in my room every night until the early hours of the morning, work. My hands trembled and my voice shook as I read the first chapter of my novel to a room full of people, most of whom had not even read the back cover previously. It was daunting, scary, but it was also exhilarating to finally put it out there. When I finished and the people gathered applauded I felt happy, because I had been brave enough to face my fears; my fears of failure, rejection, criticism, and every other hindrance that stops people from following their dreams and passions and instead staying safely nestled in their safe comfort zone of normality and routine.
Eventually I began getting feedback from people who had read Corrupted. Some responses were terrific and unexpected; friends who usually take months to finish a book because of their hectic lives of juggling children, jobs, pets and husbands told me enthusiastically of how they finished the book in less than two days. Other acquaintances from long ago in Australia e-mailed and put announcements on Facebook of how gripped they were by my book and it was the best novel they’ve read in years. My Nan’s friends who are in their seventies raved about it and passed the book on to their daughters and friends, and the wives of journalists who had interviewed me messaged me to say how much they had loved Corrupted. Of course there were and still are others who I have not heard anything from, and I presume it wasn’t their cup of tea. But that’s alright because as my good friend Sereena reassured me when I was deliberating on whether to publish my book; novels are like art, completely subjective and everyone has entirely different taste.
So I have concluded that as long as there are people out there who enjoy reading my book, I am happy. And there is nothing more thrilling then getting a rave review; it makes the treacherous uphill journey of self-publishing all seem worthwhile.
Who knows what will happen in the future? Maybe I will be lucky and become one of the few struggling writers out there who manages to establish a career for myself, but even if I don’t, one day I can look back on this period of my life with pride and know that I gave it my all. I can pass my book on to my grandchildren in the hope that it can inspire them. After all that is what life is all about surely? A couple of years ago my mother gave me a post card with a quote on it and every day I look at it and it inspires me to continue on my path. It says; “remember great love and great achievements involve great risks.” The quote comforted me when I followed my heart and had my son by myself, the hardest and yet most worthwhile thing I have ever done. Every day that I spend doing what I love and moving towards my destiny I know I am taking a risk but who wants predictability and safety when you can have adventure and surprise?