Just One Thing, Writing

A Story About the Story

On October 15, my alarm woke me up at 6:00am. I spent some time reading my Bible and talking to God, then rolled out of bed to get ready for the day. I worked from 8:00am until 5:00pm, met a friend for dinner, recorded a video, and watched the newest episode of This is Us.

All of that is pretty standard for a Tuesday. Except for one more thing: My second book released into the world.

October 15 will forever be a milestone day. Not just because it’s the day I became multi-published, but because it’s a day I wasn’t sure would come.

See, All of This released in July of 2015. Before that happened, I’d already outlined a sequel for it. But then grad school happened and a lot of other life things happened and there were many days I just wanted to quit. Not because I didn’t believe in the story or because I didn’t love the characters, but because it was just so difficult.

I wanted to tell a story that was even stronger than the first one. Readers had expectations of what they hoped would happen in a sequel. You all knew my writing style from the first book. I wanted to write something that exceeded all of those expectations. For me, that was even more pressure than launching a first book into the world. Plus, there are a thousand details that take place behind the scenes in publishing. Most of which we as readers never even hear about.
But the story stayed in my heart. The characters kept talking, insisting they had things to say. And God kept reminding me that He wasn’t done with my writing.

Over several months, I assembled a team: an editor, a designer, early readers. I worked through all those other behind-the-scenes things like ISBNs and LCCNs and copyright. And I prayed.

On July 4th, my designer sent the book cover to me. This was exactly four years from when a designer sent my first book cover to me. Crazy timing.

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On September 21, I returned to my hometown to sign books at a festival. While at my local bookstore, the owner and I discussed a book release party. Then we looked at the calendar…annd scheduled a party for 3 weeks later. The cool thing about it was that the party would happen four days before the book actually released. That meant that people who came to the party could take home a copy early.

The only thing was, at that point, the book hadn’t gone to print yet. We were still working through some technical details. So when I got home from the event, I quickly finished up details and ordered a proof copy. You guys, I did a lot of praying that the proof copy would turn out okay and that all the books would arrive on time because maybe it’s just me, but I’m thinking a book release party without any books would be a flop. DSC_0590.jpg

The books arrived, and we celebrated with a release party on October 12…Exactly 4 years and 2 days since the last book release party (Because of the whole moving-two-states-away and starting grad school thing, my last book release party happened a couple months after the book actually came out. 0/10 do not recommend doing all those things at once).

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Y’all, the party was a blast. We had apple cider and little book cookies and giveaways and a signing. I got to see people whom I hadn’t seen in years—including two professors from college who walked me through the creation of the first book.

It was a whirlwind of a weekend, but oh, so fun.

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Then I returned back to North Carolina and the book officially released that Tuesday.

As I’m drafting this post, I’m sitting on a plane heading west for a cousin’s wedding. It’s another full circle moment for me, because Sadie’s story began with a girl getting off a plane in a new place.

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There’s a verse I held onto during the editing stage of Just One Thing, when I felt like it could all fall apart at any minute:

“The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps.” -Proverbs 16:9

I held that verse as a reminder that, yeah, I have so many expectations and plans for my life, but it’s God who makes each step of my life happen. He’s the One who decides if and when I release a book.

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Sometimes it happens right after you graduate college in a crazy series of events. And sometimes it happens after you sense God telling you to take a break for a bit. Either way, it’s all in His hands.

And now, over a month after Just One Thing released, I can’t help but smile. I get to share this story with you, and that’s just the best ever.

Anna

P.S. I haven’t been very active on the blog lately, but I’m over on Instagram and Facebook all the time. I love mini-blogging on those platforms and keeping you all up to date. If we’re not friends over there, find me and say hi! :)

Book party photos courtesy of Ruth Anne Crews.

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