Happy Book Birthday - JJ Landis
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book birthday

Happy Book Birthday

Happy First Birthday to me! March 25, 2015, a dream became a reality when my book Some Things You Keep was published.


A year later, I am still satisfied with my work, my writing, my story. Doing it all over, I would rearrange some things and correct errors, but for the most part, the finished product has held up. I’m proud of myself for not disparaging anyone, for being respectful (yet honest) concerning my family.


Most people don’t know the difference between traditionally published books and self-published books. As a book nerd and a librarian (not the same thing) I can spot a self-published book a mile away. The reputation is changing though. Indie anything is generally looked at positively these days. Still, all you have to do is create an account and upload a document to make a book. That ease of access opens the field for many poor quality publications.


Part of me, the writer, the dreamer, wishes I would have held out and searched longer for a publisher. I stayed focused on the Christian market, which is tough, especially for memoir. I wonder if a secular literary publisher would have found promise in my book.


Part of me, the rational part, is glad I self-published. I was able to design the cover, which gave me the opportunity to use a photograph from taken by my friend Kyle. (He has recently shot to Instagram stardom, so I guess I know talent when I see it!) Putting the book together was enjoyable. Sometimes in life, you just have to go for it. This was such a time.


The feedback from friends and strangers has been mostly positive. FIFTY people have taken the time to log on to their Amazon account and write a review for Some Things You Keep. Those reviews are precious to me –knowing my words were read and appreciated. (Some are no longer showing for whatever reason, so actually it’s received more than 50 reviews!)


It’s been tough this year too. I became a slave to checking book sales every day – a line graph shooting skyward is great for the ego, but that same line crashing back to zero and staying there indefinitely is deflating. I am now happy if I get one online sale a month. (#goals) Want a lesson in humility? Publish a book!


If you’ve read or have considered reading my book, you may wonder why I chose to spill my guts, seemingly not fearing judgment. When you’ve been set free to the point of having a completely different personality, you have a lot to say. If you held things in for years, feeling misunderstood, like a misfit, unwanted, unloved, confused – when you find your voice, you can’t keep silent.


Adults who were broken children relate to my story, no matter the circumstances of their injuries. Those who grew up feeling loved and secure relate because they find bits and pieces of darkness and light that exist in their reality.


My despair weighed me down and clouded my vision. I felt like less of a person before I wrote my book. Being damaged and never secure as a kid makes for some crazy thoughts. Putting pen to paper has lessened the crazy somewhat. I have scraped away a lot of what was blinding me – I still squint most of the time, but at least I see.


Thanks for joining me on this journey.

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