In one word? Amazing! In a second word… exhausting! On the best TWOsday of the year, 2.22.22, my debut picture book, Howie’s Broken Hee-Haw, was officially published. In the days since, little Howie has clip-clopped his way into hearts and homes around the world.
February 22nd also happened to be a little-known holiday called Be Humble Day. Isn’t that great? God has such a good sense of humor, and He not-so-subtly reminded me that any success this book has is because of Him and Him alone. He gave me the words to write and the message to share, so He gets all the glory!
Release week was amazing. Photos and graphics of Howie’s book flooded the internet and the book made it all the way up to the #9 spot on the Best Seller List in one of its Amazon categories. I wanted to show my appreciation to everyone who was sharing my book and I vastly underestimated the amount of time required to do so. What a wonderful problem to have! After a podcast interview in the morning, I spent the rest of the day trying to keep up with all the love on social media. We also had a big snowstorm here in Wisconsin so plans to celebrate with a nice supper out were rescheduled. Instead, we ate the emergency chocolate cake I got just for that scenario. I went to bed exhausted and happy!
The rest of the week included that rescheduled supper out (pasta night at my favorite restaurant with crème brûlée for dessert), more social media presence, another podcast interview, a live book reading on Facebook, and a much needed chiropractor appointment! My book launch team has been absolutely incredible. They’ve been sharing Howie far and wide and I’m so thankful. Nobody can launch a book well by themselves. We need each other!
Photographs and videos of kids (and adults) with Howie’s book have been rolling in and they each bring me such joy. I’ve heard stories of kids bringing the book to school or daycare to share with their friends. My neighbor told me she was going to read the book to her granddaughter after school and her granddaughter told her she already knew that book. One of her classmates brought it in for show and tell and the teacher read it to the class! Stories like these are blowing my mind and blessing my socks right off!
I had my first local book signing on Sunday at my local coffee shop. I signed and sold a ton of books and had a blast meeting new friends and catching up with friends I haven’t seen in ages. It was one of those special dream-fulfilled life events that I will remember forever.
Physically, I’m exhausted.
Writing, pitching, launching, and promoting a book while living with chronic illness is challenging, but possible! #HowiesBrokenHeeHaw #mywritinglife #endgamepress #chronicillnessTweet
My health won’t allow me to do all of the things I feel like I should be doing. I’m working hard on prioritizing things well and asking God what He wants me to do each day. I’m offering myself a lot of grace, I’m letting others help me, and I often remind myself that launching a book isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. Yes, book launch week is important and we pushed hard, but I have another big push coming up before Palm Sunday/Easter and a whole year ahead of me to share this precious book. I’m learning to pace myself and I’m allowing myself to feel all the joy and excitement that comes with a dream being realized.
The days ahead will be filled with lots of time at my computer sending out emails that probably should have gone out a few weeks ago. I’ll get dressed up and record myself reading the book and the recording will be available to churches who want to play it on Palm Sunday. I already know of one person who is reading Howie’s book for the children’s sermon on Palm Sunday and then passing out a copy of the book to each of the kids in her church. How amazing is that? I hope other churches will do the same!
I have a few speaking engagements/books signings/school visits in the works and I’m open to adding a few more. If that’s something you’re interested in, let’s connect and get something on the calendar before it fills up! I’m thrilled to share that Howie’s Broken Hee-Haw is still a #1 New Release on Amazon and he’s doing great with 20 reviews–and all of them 5 star reviews! Purchase your copy or add your review here.
In closing, I want to acknowledge the hard things happening in our world today, both on a global level and a personal level. War has broken out in Europe, loved ones have passed away, and friends are fighting for their lives in ICU rooms across the country. In the midst of all the joys, part of my heart weighs heavy. I feel the pain others are experiencing and my heart hurts for them, for us. Life here on earth is hard, but Jesus is with us. It’s tempting to stop celebrating the good things when hard things are happening. I’ve learned that life is full of tragedies and triumphs and it’s okay to cry tears of joy and tears of heartbreak on the same day. Romans 12:15 (CSB) tell us to, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.” Friends, celebrate the good. Pray for the hard. Love others well.