After twelve years of trying to break into the publishing world, my dreams were realized, Feb. 2013. I had attended the 2012 Faith and Fiction Retreat in Destin, Florida. I had learned how to pitch my work and rewrote the first chapter of Sing A New Song. I went on fasting that day and at about 2 pm in the afternoon, I prayerfully went before a panel of literary professionals to talk about my book. Imagine the joy that flooded my heart, when I heard, “Send me the first three chapters.”
Fast forward to almost six months later where after enduring a grueling editing process, I am standing in front of a group of about fifty people who had taken time out on a Sunday afternoon to attend my book launch.
The room I had rented in the Charlotte Harbor Center has an area for my signing and there are small tables for people to stand and enjoy a treat from the cookie and brownie tray. A special area with a podium and chairs is set-up for me to read the first chapter to the audience.
I surveyed the crowd, taking in the faces of many who had been with me through my journey to publication. Tears roll down my face as I begin thanking individual people. I remember becoming choked up as I spoke of how my boss had recognized me as a wounded bird and encouraged me to heal and to fly.
I took in the beaming faces of my sisters, parents and church family who had helped with the decorations and planning of my release party. I had small frames holding a signed picture of Sing A New Song on each table that would serve as a keepsake for attendees. Since the novel was about a singer, after talking about my journey to publication, I put one of my sisters on the spot to sing. She bellowed out, “Can’t even walk without You holding my hand.”
What a fitting song for how I felt. I knew I had gotten to that point because of God. He had steered and directed me on the right path so that I would not only feed my passion but also give Him glory.
I cleared my throat and began to read the first chapter. My heart hammered as I performed my first public performance. As I read, I questioned whether my voice held the right sentiment and I feared no one would like my work. I pushed through the butterflies until I ended the first chapter.
Thunderous applause broke out. People stood and cheered. My shoulders relaxed and I wiped away fresh tears. I had done it. I had overcome the crippling fear of sharing my work—a part of me—with others. And, guess what? For the first time I felt accepted. I felt understood.
Following the reading, there was a huge queue of people wanting to purchase my book. My book. A representative from Books-A-Million was present to handle all my book sales. I then began my first ever book signing with my special sharpie for the occasion. I wrote personal notes and autographed Sing A New Song about fifty times.
I’ve never had another official book launch. Eleven books later, I still look back at that day with fond memories. It is a day forever sealed in my heart. There is nothing like the first.
Michelle Lindo-Rice is the award winning, bestselling author of the On The Right Path series among other awards. She enjoys crafting fiction centered about the four “F” words: Faith, Friendship, Family and Forgiveness. Learn more about Michelle by joining her mailing list at michellelindorice.com.