We are so excited for Book Country member Jaycee Ford! Tomorrow she is publishing her first book, WATCHING FIREFLIES. We are so proud that workshopping the book on Book Country was a part of her amazing journey.
Since I was young, I always knew that I wasn’t exactly bred for a normal life, but my life was like every other kid. I grew up and went to college. I partook in all of the normal college things, but there was something that I just didn’t know. I graduated in History because I loved History. I got married in my mid-twenties. I got a dog. I loved my life, but life was still … normal. Something was missing.
One Saturday, my husband was out fishing, and I was reading most likely my hundredth book of year. We were being normal. I didn’t finish the book and couldn’t tell you what it was. I pushed myself off of the sofa and turned on my computer. I sat in front of a blank Word doc and a blinking cursor. In that moment, I became a seat of your pants writer. I didn’t know it then, but my publishing journey had begun.
My two-year-ago self is laughing hysterically. She’s seriously like, “Dude, what are you doing?”
I decided to make my life a little less . . . normal.
I wrote. I had no clue what I was doing. I channeled all that I had learned from writing in high school and tried to integrate some sort of intelligence that I gained in college. The characters that I had developed in my head took over. I just tried to put the commas where they were supposed to go. I developed a story about a city girl moving to the country and finding herself a cowboy, and I called it WATCHING FIREFLIES. “Write what you know,” they say. I was a city girl who moved to the country and found a cowboy. So, that’s what I wrote. And then, something amazing happened. I wrote, “The End.”
I heard through some writing buddies that there was a place called Book Country. A country made of books! I’m moving there. I was then informed that it was for workshopping books. I still want that country made of books, but okay. Let’s see what this could do. Then something even more amazing happened. I got feedback, and it wasn’t so bad! My two year ago self is still laughing hysterically. Let’s see what this cowboy story could do.
I edited. I tore the story apart. I put it back on Book Country, and my two year ago self gasped. People liked it.
My two-year-ago self jumped around saying, “What do we do? What do we do?”
I had to calm her down because I really had no clue. I wrote a query, and I shopped and shopped. I had interest. Two-year-ago self was fan-girling. We sent it off and waited and waited . . .and waited. When the feedback came, it was something I didn’t expect. My whole series is southern. The city girls are southern, the cowboys are southern . . . I wrote what I knew. The changes suggested were beneficial, but some felt like the roots of the south were taken away. Then the most amazing thing happened – because a lot of amazing things happened on this journey – I went to the RT Convention. I had two conversations with two well-established authors, and then I met Lucy Silag from Book Country. She asked about my plan for my story.
I was going to self-publish.
My two-year-ago self gave me a high-five. I called in a self-publishing production company. I work all day every day. There was no time for me to figure out how to format a paperback. They helped me turn what was on Book Country to something I’m even more proud of.
I had an awesome support team. I followed in the footsteps of some Book Country alums: Alex Rosa, Len Webster, and Alys Arden. They all started with the self-publishing route. I had good guidance and a team to ask questions when I really had no idea what I was doing. Two year ago self still ponders this same question, but as I sit on the eve of publishing my first book, I know I have this. I decided to self-publish three months ago. With the help and support of Book Country and the writing friends that I have acquired over the course of two years, I knew I could do this. Until I find that country of books, I’m happy writing and seeing my bugs fly.