When I held the first physical copy of my book, all I could think was, wow, I wrote myself into existence.
Physical copies of my book are available in Kenya! Order HERE.
When I first started this website, I wrote my first blog post, How not to self-publish a book. At the time of writing that post, I was frustrated. I was authoring and self-publishing my book by myself, and I didn’t know if I would see a light at the end of the tunnel. I wrote about having to unlearn everything I thought I knew about publishing a book, and learning it all over again. Starting this blog was my escape. I felt like I needed to create a space for myself to express how I was feeling. I thought, well, even if I never complete my book, at least I’d have created this blog. I was scared, and anxious. It’s funny, I finished my book, and I fell in love with blogging, all in the same timespan. It’s almost as if one gave me the strength for the other.
Fast forward to now, my book is complete, and some copies have even made their way into people’s homes! I wrote my debut poetry book titled “When I learned how to walk, & other poems”, a compilation of 17 poems. In case you’re not familiar with me or my poetry, I’d suggest you start by reading my blog post, How I got here: My life as a spoken word poet so far.
How do I am at this present moment in time? I’m still scared and anxious, but mostly, I am overcome with fulfillment, and gratitude.
Finishing my book
If you read my How not to self-publish a book article, then we left off when I was learning about publishing, and fighting my imposter syndrome demons, wondering whether I really knew what I was doing.
There’s a reason I chose to do everything myself. Not only because I was trying to save cost as much as I could, but also because this book was so personal to me, that I needed it handled with only the mindfulness that I could give it. In retrospect however, I now see that sometimes it’s okay to ask for help, as hard as it may be to let people in on something that you value. I’m just lucky, though, that I was able to learn how to use all the resources I had, to turn this dream into a tangible reality. I realized that in life, a lot of the times it’s not that we don’t have the resources, rather, we just don’t know how to use them.
When I say I did everything myself, I mean, everything. From the writing, to the layout, designing the cover, to obtaining the necessary certificates for my book. It was a lot, but I am truly thankful for the process, and I’m even more thankful that going forward, I am in a position to impact on others the knowledge I gained.
So why a book? Well, this book for me is in a sense a filing system. I have foolscaps on foolscaps from way back in the day of poems, sitting in a few drawers. Occasionally, I take them out to read, and reminisce about all the stages in my life that I was at when I wrote them. It made me think, it would be nice to have this as a book, and so a dashed to my computer, and transcribed most of them away into Microsoft Word. They were a lot, an ultimately, 17 of them made it into my final product book. There were some that I combined into one poem, some unfinished ones that I still needed to work on, and a few that were a bit too vulnerable for me, that have solidified their spot in my drawer of foolscaps.
The themes in my book are love, collective African pride, mental health, Black love, and the inevitability of heartbreak. These, to me, encompassed a lot of what I was feeling, and it felt only right that these 17 poems formed my book.
I’m an… author?
Granted, writing is writing. Writing a novel is writing, composing a heartfelt text message declaring your love to someone is writing, typing notes in your phone is writing, and writing poetry is writing. I’ve written poetry for a number of years, so I’ve thought of myself as a writer, for the most part. However, when my book was done, and I held the first physical copy,, I thought, now I’m really an author. I had always associated the term ‘author’ with people who write novels, with atleast 3 digits in the number of pages of their books. It felt weird, me, an author? But I’ve been learning a lot lately about how to celebrate and affirm myself. Self-love is tricky, because the relationship you have with yourself determines how you move around the world, so here I am, a self-published author!
That’s all I had to say today.
Thank you for reading.