Your Life with RA is One Year Old!

Today is the first anniversary of The Book being published! (Well, actually yesterday was, but I’ve been sick so that’s a bit of a delay).

Most of my life, I’ve dreamed of having a book with my name on it. Not inside the cover, as a mark of ownership. No, the dream was the kind of book that has the name on the cover proclaiming “I wrote this!”

When I decided to create a five-year plan that would make the dream a reality, I didn’t expect to get there ahead of time. Being able to publish a book I was proud of was one of the most important moments in my life and the thrill still hasn’t worn off. Every now and again, I get out a copy of the paperback and pet it a for a bit while smiling like an idiot.

I bet everyone who has written a book does that.

(crickets…) No? Maybe it’s just me.

Usually, though, having a book with your name on it is not the whole story. Once you send your baby out into the world, you hope that it will find a home among people who will like it. You hope that the idea you had while you spent hours in years in front of the computer will blossom into something real. My idea of Your Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis was that it would be a friend and a mentor that could help people live well with RA. And I am overwhelmed that it actually seems to have become just that for many who have read it. I’m touched by the review and emails that tell me this little book of mine helped someone find their way to a better place with RA.

There are two aspects to the hopes you have for your creation. One is the love of the work, the hope that others will read it and find it useful or entertaining. That is the most meaningful thing of it all. But in all honesty, but the other is financial. Well, sort of. Most people who are driven to write do so with the hope that someday, they’ll be able to make a living from it. Most authors don’t dream of ridiculous fame of the J.K. Rowlings or Stephen Kings, but of the kind of career where it is your job to write books. A time when you can get up in the morning and start writing your book (or tearing out your hair about your book), rather than squeezing it into evenings and weekends. It’s less about your books making you money, then them allowing you to write more of them.

A year ago when my book first saw the bright light of day, my goal was to sell 1000 copies by the end of the year. For a new author in a highly specialized genre, it was a somewhat ambitious goal, but one that I thought was attainable. When the numbers reached 600 in August or thereabouts, The Boy admitted that he’d mentally prepared to comfort me when I didn’t reach my goal, but now thought he probably wouldn’t have to. And he didn’t. Your Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis sold its 1000th copy on December 19!

Can I make a living from it? Not quite yet, but I have paid bills from the proceeds, including cover design and editing of my second book, 7 Facets: A Meditation on Pain, released in September. The publishing of which was just as big a thrill as with the first one.

I’ve also used the book to give back to a cause that’s important to me. In August, I held a fundraiser, donating 50% of every copies sold over two week period to Show Us Your Hands!. Being able to use the book to support Show Us Your Hands!’s mission of uniting and inspiring the inflammatory arthritis community was very meaningful. I plan to do it again.

So, what’s next? Book II in the Your Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis series has an outline and a few chapters of the first draft completed. Writing it is being squeezed into evenings and weekends.

It’s been a whirlwind of the year. I’ve made new friends, learned an astonishing amount about indie publishing, have become a better writer and, I think, a better person. And it is because of all of you who’ve hosted my blog tour stops, all of you who’ve bought the book. You are the reason that I can make a new five-year plan of finishing the Your Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis series. And you are the reason that I’m living my dream.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Elizabeth said…
Happy birthday Your Life With RA! What a year that has been for you, too! :)
AlisonH said…
Go Lene! Happy Bookday!

And yes, seeing the book you yourself wrote out there in real life--it never ever gets old.