Just Do It

Michelangelo once said, “The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low, and we reach it.” Near the end of my police career, I decided to pursue self-publishing a novel. I had a vague idea of the storyline, but I had no idea how to accomplish such a daunting task.

I figured the first thing was to start typing the story and go from there. In retrospect, that was different from what most authors recommend. An outline of their story is how most writers start. The problem was I had no idea where I was going with the story until the words appeared on the computer screen. I typed the novel like I was reading it for the first time. I wanted to be as surprised by where the characters led me as future readers would be (hopefully, there would be readers). I’m sure there is a formal name for this type of writing, but I coined it freestyle, like those soda machines that allow you to mix and match your drinks.

I eventually found my story taking on an unexpected supernatural twist. This was not my intention. I planned on writing a realistic action /adventure novel. Not one with any mystical overtones. About halfway through the book, I figured I better think of a title. This was more challenging than I anticipated. I chose Vatican Vengeance after many preliminary titles.

Now what? I wondered. Having a few proofreaders seemed like a good idea. My daughter, Danielle, volunteered to edit and proofread it. She wondered aloud if I had slept through all my grammar and writing classes in high school. She attacked my numerous grammatical and punctuation errors that littered each page like a roadside clean-up crew. My wife, neighbor, and co-workers also read the rough manuscript to determine whether this book should be published or shredded.

Once the test readers advised it wasn’t the worst book they had ever read, I decided to commit, but I didn’t have a clue how to proceed. Thank God for Google. After thorough research, I discovered self-publishing was the cheapest option. I chose the company, Draft2Digital, to format the e-book design and make it available for sale on numerous sites, such as Amazon.

I also discovered a fantastic website, Fiverr, where thousands of people worldwide will make you a book cover and help you with everything else to get a manuscript ready to publish at a very reasonable fee. My cover was designed and created by a delightful chap from halfway across the globe for less than the cost of my monthly electric bill.

The scariest part of publishing a novel, especially the first one, was hovering my finger over the final submit manuscript button. That moment struck me like a punch from a pro fighter. I was about to put myself out there—forever! It felt like a dream when you realized you were naked in class. What if everyone thinks this is the stupidest, lamest book they have ever read? Oh well, I submitted it, and now, five books later, I am still figuring the process out.

So, what’s my point? It’s never too late to start something new. Like Nike’s slogan, Just Do It.

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