Welcome to the Wild West

IMG_0353Today marks the one-month anniversary of the publication of my first book, Letting People In.

To say it’s been an interesting month would be a bland, useless statement, so allow me let you in a little bit on the process.

“They” say self-publishing is the Wild West of book publishing these days since so many of us are in foreign territory, dipping our toes in the water, and scoping out what indies can bring to readers. This is great for readers, as they can discover great content that didn’t have to pass through the gatekeepers of the big publishing houses. There’s also a lot of crap in the market and people trying to make a quick buck. It’s exciting out here, but admittedly, also a little wonky as we all try to figure it out.

I released my first book in an effort to educate readers about the Airbnb.com platform and also share a glimpse of my experience of leaving a cushy, six-figure salary job in 2010, making my way through the Great Recession, and attempting to form a new identity in a pinch-me-I’m-getting-paid-to-write dream career.

I wasn’t sure what would resonate with readers: the Airbnb tips, the guests, Seattle, or my perspective on what was happening in my home and on my journey. Everyone thinks they have an interesting life; so many people want to be writers…but the sad truth is that not all of our lives are interesting and not all of us have the chops to be writers. I am keenly aware of this every time I sit down at my laptop to write something and put it out in the world. If it’s something that resonates with me, will it resonate with others?

I wrote my book in one month. Then it went through a round of editing and back-and-forth revisions for another month with my editor, Sara Addicott. Now that the book’s out in the world, and people are responding to it (and querying me for more information), I am faced with the decision to either revise the original or move on to the next book, answering some of the questions I left open-ended in the first.

Remember, it’s the Wild West out here and really, anything goes. I COULD edit the existing Letting People In like the people-pleaser/perfectionist in me is tempted to do. OR, I could authentically move on and say, “Yes, I held things back in Book One and left things open to interpretation. But you’ll have to wait a few months for Book Two for me to answer some of the things I touched on in the first.”

That would be pioneer in me, offering my hand on this journey to bring you with me as we scope out new terrain. I don’t know what’ll be around the corner every time I sit down to share with you here.

Ten minutes ago, I started this piece thinking I’d write about Airbnb hosts who want to list their property, but who have pets and children. Is that okay, they wonder? This was something I didn’t really tackle in the book as I don’t have pets or children and it didn’t occur to me to bring it up. People have approached me about this topic several times in the last month, so it will be the next post. I promise.

In the meantime, I don’t have all the answers, and I suspect neither do you. What do you say we head out together and see what we can discover?

Welcome to our Wild West. Saddle up!

~Rochelle Short