New Picture Book Self Publishing Opportunity!

You’re standing at a fork in the road of life… and one direction holds a beaten down, familiar path. The other direction is full of wild jungle, unknown and terrifying.

That’s where I stood just a month ago, at a fork between comfortable and crazy, known and nature’s black hole of nothingness. The options were

  1. Carry on with life as usual: writing, publishing, consulting, coaching, and speaking for free (except for book sales and paying to publish), pouring time and energy and value into building many, many bridges half way. Pulled into every opportunity as it came because “I should.”

or

2. Own that while I’m really good at all of those things, I can’t excel at any of them all at once and to value my expertise in writing and publishing, to narrow down who I can help and to do it masterfully. To face the monsters of fear and mediocrity and shoot down their lies that I’m inadequate, limited, too mediocre, or too scared to ever accomplish anything for any good.

Why is grabbing hold of confidence and knowing our value so terrifyingly hard?

Ironically, at the same time, opportunities crossed my path that pointed toward the “crazy” lane.

Like picture book authors who asked me to charge them for my critiques, my advice, and consultation. Even when I said it was free. I realized that what I offer is so valuable that people don’t feel right just taking it. This was eye-opening about the value of what I was sheepishly giving away.

The Book Building Business Intensive with Self Publishing School CEO and Staff

Or being accepted as one of ten people invited to the Book Building Business Intensive in San Diego with the CEO (Chandler Bolt) of Self Publishing School and his very talented staff for their first ever live event.

Or the sweet 6 year-old girl who said to me recently, “Your picture books are perfect.

These small examples all grabbed their neon signs and pointed down the path of terror. Shouting that I have something of value to offer the world. Of believing that I am incredible at what I do. And of receiving the affirmations that keep pouring in.

As for your own gifts, strengths and talents – I will say this: you are fearless! And generous! And you clearly care about, not only the message, but how the message is received and that it is done so in an uplifting way. People will follow such a leader!

-Business Mentor

and

I feel very strongly that you are meant to do great things for yourself, your family and many others that you have not even met yet.

-Business Mentor

and

Thank you for loving me from the very beginning and teaching me what it looks like to be a faithful friend. You are an extraordinarily gifted writer, communicator, connector, adventurer, listener, empathizer and the ultimate FUN creator! Thanks for inviting me into your world.

-A friend

So, after prayerful consideration, coaching and mentoring from thoughtful business leaders in self publishing, and feedback from my family and friends, and spiritual mentors, I’ve decided “Path Crazy.”

I’ve launched my very own Picture Book Self Publishing Coaching program!

I’m SO excited to finally have one bridge to focus on building and to do it superbly. My goal is to help people publish their picture books as quality as possible in 90 days or less.

I’m building the program together with my clients and my decade of experience in traditional publishing and last few years in self publishing as an Amazon best-selling author. You can learn more about it HERE.

If you know ANYONE who has dreamed of publishing their picture book, send them my way! If they sign up, I’ll send you $50! (Make sure they write your name in the “referral” section of the form.

I’m accepting applications for the limited spots I’m offering until Sunday, November 12th!  There is NO commitment when filling in the application other than to a free clarity call with ME to find the best path to fulfilling your picture book publishing dreams!

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I’m excited to start this new adventure! I know lives will change (my own included!) Join me!

Brave

5-minute-friday-1

The brave man is the man who faces or fears the right thing for the right purpose in the right manner at the right moment.

– Aristotle

Fingers hover over the keys… hesitant to begin. To move them freely, to allow them access to the world of letters arranged in particular orders, stringing together thoughts, beliefs. To create and invent worlds and lives, all with reckless strokes and unscripted tapping.

This is a brave task.

To unlock the muse from the cage, to loosen it and watch it rise on wings and stretch out the kinks of confinement… this is to welcome the deepest fears made real. The tragedies that stories are made of. To step into the recesses of mind, open prison cells, torture chambers, and carefully guarded tombs… to turn on the light in the darkness of these cobwebs and faded flaws. And then to let fingers fly.

Bravery.

A writer is a brave soul, desperate for relief from the pressures of the worlds within, pressing against the bone and marrow as an en-wombed child kicks and squirms to make room and eventually, escape. Fear presents a new option. Keep it light; keep it shallow. Don’t go to the scary places of the soul and write from there… too painful, too out of control, too scary.

That writer never changes. Never grows. Is never brave.

But the one with the trembling key, twists it in the lock, opens the door… overwhelmed by the possibilities of dancing skeletons, screaming terrors, and freed tormentors, the stuff that makes story raw, believable, true.

The stories we love… come from behind locked doors. Only the brave open them. Open them to listen to the stories of their enslaved. No matter how painful, how tragic, how terrifying. We let them talk and we take notes.

This. Is. Brave.

That book you love? It’s author wept, agonized, pleaded, and grieved as the characters sang their tales, weaving them into the very flesh of their author. Not just pen on paper. Soul made flesh, the hidden made public, a distant whisper given a face, a body, a home… a life. The characters sigh in relief, weight lifted with burden light. The writer carries it now.

No wonder we are morose. So melancholic. We bravely enter the jungles of the uncreated, chopping at bush, blood flowing from our injuries, to tell the urgent story that no one else can tell.

We are brave.

To be brave means that you’re strong and not afraid of something that’s really scary.

-My five year-old son, Corban

The Artist (AKA {Dad})

My dad is a painter.

And a potter.

A sketcher, a sculptor, a weaver.

He knits, he crotchets, he sews.

He uses every medium, every backdrop, every technique.

He sings, dances, acts.

He’s a designer, an inventor, a creator.

He dreams, envisions, plots.

He’s a writer, an illustrator, a story-teller.

He’s a film maker, a script writer, an editor.

He’s a composer, a musician, a director.

Yes, he’s one of those people you look at and think, “Is there anything he can’t do?”

Kind of like my husband.

Who is also ridiculously talented.

Everything he knows… he learned from Dad.

Although I don’t have the caliber of skill that my daddy does… if I love art at all, it’s because of him (Note confession 🙂 ).

As a writer, I have come across a wide range of amazing artists.

And, in a subtly selfish way, I’m always looking for artists who I would let illustrate one of my stories.

Sometimes I even choose a publisher to submit to… because I love their illustrators. 🙂

Some of my recent new faves are Wendy Grieb, Maria Bogade, Kirsten Carlson, Mira Reisberg (who also teaches writers and illustrators at her Picture Book Academy), Kristen Schwartz, Howard McWilliam (who I just learned lives in the UK- so close!), Thomas Blackshear, Richard Jesse Watson, Kadir Nelson, Robin James (a favorite childhood series),

And of course, Jeremy Pusey. Who has yet to make his website, but one day soon I will put a slide show of his work up (with his permission of course).

And would I be a good, proud mommy if I didn’t mention my children? My four little loves and their creative spirits… whether it’s learning an instrument, picking and arranging flowers, drawing pictures, or putting on a show… all for an audience of me.

But my favorite artist is my dad.

He shares his art for anyone and everyone to enjoy. Creating for the sole purpose of the joy and delight of others. Which makes it his delight too.

It’s not for sale… only for show. But he lets you take pictures. And try to replicate it in your own way… with your own tweaks and imagination.

Here are some of the images of my Dad’s art that I’ve taken most recently:

[slideshow]

Isn’t he amazing?

If I’m honest, I’m a work of his art too. I “ooh” and “ahh” at how incredible his other pieces of creativity are… stand breathless at their brilliance and detail.

Then I look in the mirror and cringe.

As if somehow I’m less exquisite, less incredible, lower on the list of his prized works.

And yet he says I’m not.

That I’m among his best works.

And I must believe him.

Is this true of all paintings? Do illustrations compare themselves to other illustrations? And deem themselves less? Is any piece of work satisfied with its outcome? Does art trust its creator when it hears “it is finished.”?

I don’t know about other art, but I imagine I’m not alone.

I imagine that you need to hear what my dad would tell you as well…

That you are also among his greatest of all pieces of art… a treasured creation, a work worth redeeming.

Greater than any sunset or sunrise, enchanted forest with cascading falls, or gardens in full bloom.

You are priceless… not for sale, his own precious endeavor.

Do you see it? Do you see his fingerprints? The uniqueness of your design? The purpose for which you are to be used?

His greatest work of art.

Us.

But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.

Isaiah 64:8

To learn more about 31 Days in 2012 or view other 31 Dayers blogs, click here.

I’m spending 31 days writing about my confessions and the lessons {Dad} has taught me. This is day 22 of 31 Days in 2012.