This week I'm hosting Daree Allen, who is self-publishing a book for teen girls on issues of self-esteem: What's Wrong With Me?. She's written a wonderful post about her process and the need for books like hers - and how indie publishing is, frankly, helping to fill a big hole in the book world.
There is a girl... she's trying to make sense of her life.
She's ashamed of her looks (why am I so flat-chested?) and compares herself to other girls--especially the popular ones.
She doesn't feel the love at home, doesn't see her value, and gets depressed because girls don't like her.
She wants attention.
She needs direction.
She asks over and over again... What's wrong with me?
That girl was me, and it's millions of kids and teens all over this country who identify with those same issues. My debut memoir/self-help offering, "What's Wrong With Me?," launches on Valentine's Day 2012. But it's been a challenge publishing it myself, and I admit that I made the decision was made with a lot of forethought and reluctancy.
After months of struggling in 2009, I talked to a successful literary agent about my book's concept of self-esteem and self-help from a Christian perspective. She told me that no agent would touch it. She told me it's difficult to convince the houses to publish people with a decent platform and following. They want to have a guarantee of sales.
YA fiction is a big deal, but not non-fiction. And I let my progress stunt in the beginning of my book project by focusing on these kinds of underwhelming responses from literary agents and traditional publishing houses.
Despite the overwhelming response I get from adults of the desperate need for self-esteem and empowerment resources for teens and young adults, I let this information depress me and doubt my ability to produce a book that could be used to not only share my story, but mentor teens through the problems and discouragements they face today. When girls finish reading my book, I want them to understand themselves better, feel more assertive, make better choices, and be on their way to discovering and living in their purposes and destinies. They will realize that they're not alone in the way they feel, that they don't need approval from others to validate their worth, and the importance of a personal relationship God.
It took me a long time to realize that my book sales would not be for publishing houses or large chain bookstores, but for organizations, companies, and my own speaking engagements. I started to build my confidence by thinking about the lives that would be touched, the parents I could help, and the girls for which I could become a source of hope. While still finishing "What's Wrong With Me?" the book, I also created and completed the "What's Wrong With Me? Reflections Journal," which is a hybrid journal/workbook that digs deeper into the reader's personal thoughts about the topics in the book.
I created Kharacter Distinction Books in 2011 and began hiring my staff of editors, graphic designers, web developers, and a project manager. I found some of these contractors through referrals, and hired a few people from Elance. The experience of managing other people's work for my book project was very disheartening and frustrating for me. Self-discipline is one thing, but in dealing with a lack of accountability and responsibility in others is quite another. I've had several quitters (one proofreader, one designer, and one web developer), and a couple of flakes. I'm a self-described goal-getter and somewhat ambitious, but I know my limits. However, many people get in over their head with work tasks and didn't fill me in until it was too late. I've learned a lot about time management, people management, and interpersonal communication, and I'm still learning.
But look--here I am, with not one, but two books ready to go. And I won't stop now.
Daree Allen is an authorpreneur, young adult esteem advocate, speaker, and goal-getter in Atlanta, GA. She has published articles on a variety of topics as a freelance writer and blogger, and is the author of the new teen mentoring book entitled, "What's Wrong With Me?" in which she discusses her own childhood dealing with self-esteem, premarital sex, family and personal relationships. Find out more about her work at www.dareesinsights.wordpress.com and www.DareeAllen.com.