15 Jul

img_0494Over five years ago, when I first began writing my novel, “Lost in Oaxaca,” I never allowed myself to believe it would be published someday. Actually, that’s a lie. I did think about it—occasionally. Um, that’s another whopper. The truth is, I fantasized about it for hours on end; imagining what it would feel like to hold a book in my hands that had my name on it. To open it and see the words that I created spilling off the pages. The joy I’d feel upon seeing it on the shelf at the library, or prominently displayed in the bookstore. I could even see the line snaking around the building during my book signing at the famous Chaucer’s Book Store in Santa Barbara http://www.chaucersbooks.com/. I thought about the elation I’d experience knowing that people would be reading my story—taking a journey through a narrative that I created all on my own—connecting with my story (and ultimately me) in some intimate way.

So now that it’s happening, have I felt any joy? Nope. Elation? Not even close.


But before I get to terror, I’m going to touch a bit on vulnerability. Now, I get that most people’s literature preferences are subjective, and undoubtedly there are those who will read my book and absolutely hate it. Either because Contemporary Romance (dealing with current issues such as white privilege, racism, and illegal immigration) is not their cup of tea, or it’s because they don’t like the way I write. Or maybe they think my novel is too commercial, and not “literary” enough. Maybe they’ve already previewed the novel and disliked it, but were afraid to tell me because they love me and didn’t want to hurt my feelings.

On the flip side, there are those who’ve read it and raved about it. And I choose to believe them. The first friend I shared it with read it within two days. After she finished it, she sent me a text at midnight bubbling over with enthusiasm about how much she loved it. I don’t think she’ll ever know how life-changing that was for me (Thanks, Zip!) In any case, love it or hate it, putting my work out there for everyone to judge is definitely not easy. That pervasive voice in my head that’s been telling me my entire life that I’m not good enough is practically screaming at this point.

The terror part comes into play because I had no idea that when my book was finally done, the real work would begin. Initially, it was over three years of writing the damn manuscript. Then, almost two years of sending out query letters to agents, which were usually followed by a terse “it’s not what I’m looking for right now,” or worse, receiving no reply at all. After close to 100 outright rejections, I finally queried an Indie hybrid publishing company called She Writes Press who publish only women authors (read about them here: https://shewritespress.com/about-swp/) Thank goodness, they were willing to take a chance on a middle aged, unknown author like me.


She Writes Press just won the 2019 Indie Publisher of the Year award by the Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group!

Unlike a traditional publisher, who I assume pretty much does everything for the author, I have to take on most of the workload myself. This is indeed frightening—although I’ve got to say that the incredible powerhouse women at She Writes Press are wonderful in holding my hand as I navigate the process. The exciting thing about publishing with a hybrid company is that I invest in my own publication for a greater share of the profits. It means hiring and working with a copy editor (truly an amazing experience), choosing a book cover design, creating an author tip sheet, website and specific social media accounts, and finally, hiring a publicist. All of this can get quite expensive on a piano teacher’s salary, but if the book sells reasonably well, maybe I can recoup some of my investment. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter; my objective was to write and publish a novel, and that’s what I’m doing. And no matter what it costs, I’m worth it.

April 21, 2020 is my “pub date” as they say in the business (and no, it doesn’t mean grabbing a beer with a friend.) As I get closer to the big day, I guarantee I’ll be posting about it—a lot. In fact, so much so that you may become quite sick of me. I apologize for this in advance.

Thank you, my dear readers, for your continued support. I hope you’ll enjoy coming along with me on this incredible ride!


Off we go!


15 Responses to “Terror”

  1. Britton Minor July 15, 2019 at 2:43 pm #

    I’m so in. Bring on the Jessica and the Oaxaca!

  2. Elisabeth July 15, 2019 at 3:00 pm #

    I’m so excited.

  3. Liz Zok July 15, 2019 at 4:52 pm #

    Whoo hoo! I’m so happy for you, Jessica, and I’ll look forward to reading your novel! Congratulations! ❤

    On Mon, Jul 15, 2019 at 2:21 PM Allegro non tanto wrote:

    > Allegro non tanto posted: “Over five years ago, when I first began writing > my novel, “Lost in Oaxaca,” I never allowed myself to believe it would be > published someday. Actually, that’s a lie. I did think about > it—occasionally. Um, that’s another whopper. The truth is, I fantasized ” >

  4. zippy ;) July 15, 2019 at 5:43 pm #

    YES!!! You’re amazing! ♥️

  5. Deborah Mele July 15, 2019 at 9:04 pm #

    I hope you will have book signing st Chaucer’s. I look forward to reading it. I love Mexico. I spent six summers and a few other trips there. My favorite kind book is one that that takes the reader to a new place and is long enough for me to imagine myself in the location. Deborah Sent from my iPhone


  6. MickG July 16, 2019 at 8:48 am #

    It’s been a true pleasure reconnecting after decades, dear sister. Sharing our writing with each other was such a treat. Make sure you have a lawyer before you sign off on film rights. I think this could be so cinematic and a huge bilingual hit.

    • Allegro non tanto July 16, 2019 at 8:49 am #

      You’re the best, Michael! Thanks for all of your wonderful support over the years! ❤️

      • MickG July 16, 2019 at 9:12 am #

        Right back atcha!

  7. Melanie Jacobson July 22, 2019 at 8:22 am #

    I can hardly wait. Congratulations!

  8. Suzanne July 30, 2019 at 8:15 am #

    Pursuing the dream, your dream! Congratulations, Jessica!

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