Stories that Matter

Celebrating Life's Little Victories…

While it is hard to believe this picture was taken over a year ago, I still smile when I look at it. Because, if you can’t really figure it out, that’s me, signing a copy of my book, Yesterday’s Tomorrow. My book. For a “wannabe published” author, I have to say, yes, it’s everything you dreamed it would be. And then it’s not.

It’s not immediate fame and fortune.

It’s not the phone ringing off the hook with your agent presenting you with ten different movie deals and a bazillion dollar check if you write five more books just like that first one.

It’s not the end of all your hard work, blood, sweat and tears.

It IS humbling.

It IS exciting.

It IS validating.

BUT…and I hesitate here, because I know I’ve written so much about this before and I hate to bore you to death…but I do believe this needs to be said again. So my BUT here is simply this:

Having one book published does not mean you’ve made it.

The sad thing is, I was really hoping it did.

I was hoping that as soon as one book got out there, people would be clamouring for the next. Publishers would be hounding my agent for my next book, asking for sequels from the first, the movies deals…you know. All the regular Joe Schmo stuff we all dream about every night.

None of that happened.

As much as I can wholeheartedly say I believe Yesterday’s Tomorrow was meant to be published, I’m still trying to figure out why. Because if I worried about my sales figures, let’s just say right now I’d be wearing a very form fitting white jacket, in a lovely padded cell. And I doubt I’d be offered any wine to calm me down.

Yeah. I kind of let the whole Amazon rankings thing fall by the wayside a while ago. The funny thing is, as much as my sales figures suck, people still seem to like the book. I’ve done well in the contests I’ve entered, in fact I’ve just been told that my book finaled in The 2012 Reader’s Favorite Awards, in the Christian Historical category. That’s pretty cool. It’s not a place on the NYT’s Bestseller List, but hey…it’s a little victory. And I’m okay with that.

So do figures matter when I know people are enjoying the story? Maybe even getting a message from it?

I would love to say they don’t. But I know that isn’t true. If I was with a big publisher and my book bombed, I doubt they’d be taking me on to write another one.

A year ago, honestly, I probably had much bigger hopes and dreams for my book. Today, I’m learning to be satisfied with my here and now. Because I don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

I’m not sure what the future holds for me, Catherine West – Author. I pray I can continue to do this thing that I love – but I don’t know if that is my reality. Truthfully, I don’t know that in a year from now I will have another book with my name on it. And I don’t know that I won’t.

So for now, my choice is simple.

I celebrate the here and now.

I celebrate that I finaled in a contest that, at the end of the day, probably won’t mean that much. But for me, tonight, it does. Because it says that out of fifty or whatever books, mine was one of five that readers enjoyed most. And really, if I’m not writing books that readers enjoy, then I better stop writing.

This whole being published thing is an interesting journey, one I’m still trying to figure out as I go.

When I read about and look at pictures of the devastation in Colorado over the past week, my heart grieves. Who am I to even worry about my future as an author when my friends out there are worrying about homes, loved ones and where they are going to sleep tomorrow night?

They are faced with choices too. Grieve and cry “Woe is Me!” or stand tall and proclaim, “Blessed Be The Name of The Lord.” I am proud to say the latter is exactly their choice.

Blessed Be The Name of The Lord. 

So for now, for today, these are my thoughts.

I choose to celebrate the little things. Even when the world around me makes no sense.

I, like my wonderful brave friends in Colorado, choose to trust my God.

Blessed Be Your Name. 

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4 Comments

  1. Michelle Sutton on July 1, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    Your wonderful book is proof that small presses can produce excellent books. Unfortunately small presses also bring about major advertising and distribution challenges, so not as many people will discover your book unless word of mouth makes it spread like wildfire. I hope your exposure picks up even more now.

    • Cathy West on July 2, 2012 at 7:29 am

      Thanks Michelle! You never know!! It’s just fun to see it out there. 🙂

  2. Elaine Stock on July 2, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Cathy, thanks for writing from the heart–just one of the reasons why I admire you 🙂 Such interesting timing of what you said because I just had lunch with two friends (who are authors) and we chatted about many of the things you expressed. I like your bottom line: trust in God. Trusting is all we can do when He does everything else.

  3. Sue on July 3, 2012 at 6:33 am

    This is one of my favourite books and it has certainly helped me to understand the Vietnam Vets more. You have captured many of the challenges, and I certainly hope that you can go on and write those stories that are obviously in your heart. I am looking forward to reading more.

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