Paths, Change, and the Future


Lately, I’ve been at a crossroads in this long journey of mine.

I’ve been at a mental standstill in all things I covet because I could not figure out where to go next. This is not at all in a story sense, no, that is all well and good and pure. It is everything that comes after that has spiraled me into questioning everything.

Is this the path I want to be on?

Why am I doing this?

Is this what I want?

What prompted this was merely a poor review of Harmonic Waves.

I don’t care about the review or the reviewer. The opinion does not mean anything to me because I don’t care what this person thinks. I know my work is good and I love it.

It rattled me for a moment, though, because of one little thing called perception.

Because that review will send people away regardless of whether they even agree or have any commonality with that reviewer or not.

Because people I associate with ‘in real life’ might see it upon investigating my claims of being a self-published author and think poorly of me as a result.

Because I feel it misrepresented the potential of my work.

I didn’t feel insulted by it, I felt like my chances of my series being seen as it deserved were compromised because of the opinion of one individual. My mind wandered from that point. I thought not of what the review meant to me personally because it really didn’t. It mattered to the persona of it, which is tangible and constructed for the sole purpose of promoting my work so people might read it.

And that was where I had a epiphany of sorts. Not a sudden realization but a sudden absence of realization.

Why was I publishing my stories?

The stories being my series—this is excluding short stories and other work. My thoughts were focused on my largest and most personally important work.

Why was I bringing them out to the masses through a large distributor? Why was I allowing it to be butchered by the formatting meat-grinder? Why was I allowing it to be criticized in a flawed review system?

I didn’t know. Not at first. I went back in time. Unearthed memories of myself when I was working tirelessly to publish How to Stop Wildfire on my 18th birthday. Remembering my motivations and thoughts at the time.

From what I remember, through biased lenses of hindsight and retrospection, it was because I wanted to say I published it. That this story I had scribbled on a piece of paper during grade school was now a book. A book that I could share and that people would be as manic about the world as I.

I did that. It is a book. It is rendered better than it has ever been. Doing this has reinvigorated by love for it and created new dimensions that never would have happened otherwise. There are no regrets.

But the thing that I am questioning is the sharing part of it all. I want people to read it. The question is how and who. The latter I feel most desire for family and people genuinely interested rather than passerby-readers. So that’s going to be my goal.

Now getting to that goal–that’s the how.

That was the part of it all that was bringing me the most grief. I kept going back and forth on how to distribute. I knew I no longer felt any love for Amazon–they have the best Author-management tools currently but their format was not what my stories needed. I was tired of seeing a watered-down-by-format-constraints version of my work go out. So I know I’m done with them. For the time being, anyway. Things change as they always do.

But then it became the question of whether to go with Apple, where copies of my book that I was proud of could be distributed, or go chart out my own path. To make my own future like I had always done — I’m not Sarah Sunday if I don’t carve create my own path. But Apple had scope and could give me a platform that I partially liked. Yet was that something that I wanted?

It was hard to decide. Both options had valid reasons. I was torn. Which way to go in submitting the e-versions of my book? I couldn’t make decision.

Not until advice that I frequently give out to others was given to me. Flip a coin. The moment when it is spiraling in the air, about to come down and decide your fate, if you have a feeling of hope of what it will be, that is what you should do. And I did that to myself.

The quarter I used happened to be one of the state quarters–the New Hampshire one, specifically. New Hampshire with its motto of ‘Live Free or Die.’

Freedom. Independency. Choice. Power. Control.

It felt preordained.

I chose the tail side as private/charting my own path and heads as Apple. I already knew what I wanted when I saw the coin. But I completed the act as an affirmation of that final realization and determination.

I flipped it. I hoped. And it fell and it matched.

Tails.

Live Free or Die.

And I am choosing to be free.