With a strong sense of wanting to make a difference in people’s lives, yet also totally terrified, I arrived at an old warehouse to attend a writer’s group that I’d heard about through a friend. It was late at night and once inside, I was surprised to discover that it was occupied by a group of seemingly, disgruntled gentlemen with thick rimmed glasses and lowered eyebrows. The room smelled of old books and timber, and once seated, we were instructed to use pencils to write a topic on a small piece of paper, then place it in a tin. We then took turns pulling out the paper so that we could write a collective poem based on the topic.
I powered through my verse with enthusiasm, feeling creativity flow out of me like a high-pressure hose. I was in my element because I knew writing was always going to play an important role in my life. So, it came as a real shock to me, when suddenly, one of the old men with lowered eyebrows, accused me of having written my poems before attending the class! I was utterly offended! The evening was supposed to be an enlightening experience, a fulfilling journey with like-minded artists, but it wasn’t.
When a manuscript entitled AKRASIA lands on Alexis’s desk, she knows that she’s discovered something magnificent. The manuscript has no known author and was mysteriously delivered to a colleague randomly on a busy Melbourne street. The following day, Alexis goes to her weekly catchup with her best friend Carmen, only to find that she’s not there, which is completely out of character. A strange man then arrives to let Alexis know that, in order to see her friend again, AKRASIA must become a success. Alexis must make it happen. She must ensure that the book is a great success. But who is the author, and what is behind the kidnapping?
Years later, I found myself consciously, and aggressively, pushing my literary limits in order to prove something to myself. I now know, had I not attended the class that night, I may never have tapped into my intense desire to want to grow as a dedicated, genuine author. While there are some people who wait in the dark to criticize those brave enough to move in to the light, that night, I was not swayed to stop writing.
In fact, I began writing even more frequently.
We can often get blindsided by those who can’t understand our dreams. Turning that negativity into fuel can be an extremely powerful tool. The man with the eyebrows instilled in me a sense of wanting to prove myself as a genuine artist. Sure, I didn’t need to prove anything to anyone, but it made me more ambitious, more driven, and from there, I knew if I kept moving toward my goals, they would eventually come to fruition.
I still knew I wanted to do more to help writers achieve their dreams and had begun helping a few friends complete their own manuscripts in preparation for publishing. Then, after arriving home in Australia from a trip to New York for Book Con with Lulu (which was an incredible opportunity to thank fans and meet the Lulu staff), I attended an Ingram Spark conference at the Queensland State Library, where I sat for an hour and listened to a panel of publishers talk about their success and failures. They were writers, now helping other writers publish. As I listened, my husband quietly leaned over and whispered in my ear, “You can do that!”.
He was right. It was so simple. I just hadn’t envisioned it yet.
A Publishing Journey
Lulu had recently announced their xPress platform, but at the time, I had minimal understanding of how I could utilize it, that was, until I read all the information on the Lulu website and everything became clear! I immediately jumped online to register a business name, and Limelight Publishing was born.
However, still with that same, strong sense of wanting to make a difference in people’s lives, yet also, still totally terrified, I wondered; what if my publishing company fails? What if I don’t know enough to make it work? What if I only encounter more of those lowered eyebrows? Relief quickly came when I informed myself using Lulu Resources, and spoke with a representative. I was immediately encouraged, supported, and thoroughly informed. With Lulu, I felt totally confident and ready.
That’s not to say, in starting a business, there haven’t been challenges, but I can now have a hand in changing lives and indeed, expressions. A lot of people talk about challenges that come with the first two years of a business, but if I am to be totally honest, it has been more of a blessing than a struggle. You see, I’m not doing it on my own. I’m part of a movement of entrepreneurs realizing the potential that partnering with Lulu offers. And knowing how passionate Lulu is about their authors and business partners, how could I not succeed?
I get to format incredible manuscripts, illustrate eye-catching covers, share my clients work with the world, and all the while, creating new connections with writers who I may have never previously crossed paths with.
Through writing I’ve learnt to be persistent and take chances. Through publishing I’ve learnt that all of my clients are unique and have different needs, and to take the lowered brows in my stride. So don’t be afraid to attend that class, educate yourself, and write that poem with enthusiasm. Never allow negativity to fog your path. And take chances when people tell you it is impossible. But above all, always keep your expectations and your eyebrows raised, all the way up there… sky high!