Courtney Symons & Courtney Symons Publishing Co.
The little manuscript (and its author) that could.

I grew tired of it sitting there, haunting me. The manuscript I’d written two years earlier, my first novel – all 500 pages of it, uselessly saved in a computer file collecting digital dust. I was afraid of it; cringed at the thought of someone reading it.

But I am a writer. It was what I was born to do, the reason why I picked up a pencil and started spewing out tales of mischief when I was barely old enough to read what I’d written.

In April 2012, I told myself enough was enough. It had been a lifelong dream to write a novel and now that I’d done it, I was hiding it. No longer.

I gave myself one year to publish my book. One year to receive countless rejection letters; one year to decide to self-publish; one year to learn the ropes of indie publishing.

One year to learn about crowdfunding, and launch an Indiegogo campaign to raise $3,100 towards my self-publishing project. One year to edit over and over again until I was finally ready to show someone else, to hire an editor to kick my ass and marvel at both the sheer stupidity and eloquence of my words. One year to find graphic designers and convince them I knew what I was talking about as I described the scene I wanted them to set.

One year until I showed my words to the world – something that evoked an image in my mind of stripping down naked in front of an audience. Would it be good enough? Would anyone want to read it?

Somehow, someway, by the end of 2012 I had accomplished all my goals at lightning speed thanks to the support of family, friends and perfect strangers. As hard as it is to toot your own horn, it was also because of the hours upon hours of time I put in on top of working a full-time job as a technology reporter at a business publication.

In the end, I found that I didn’t care if my words were good enough, or how many people would read them. I was a published author. I’d done something I’d told myself my whole life – all 25 years of it – that I would do.

That novel has led to media coverage; to being a guest speaker at a children’s literacy event; to establishing a local writer’s support group with a prominent businessman who is a writer, too.

More importantly, it has taught me that there are always going to be typos in manuscripts and errors in life, but that it’s the passion and lifeblood that will shine through in the end.