What I Learned a Year After Publishing My First Book

Aging is nothing if not the constant re-evaluation and reorganization of expectations. I expect there to be many trials and tribulations, but hopefully also a few triumphs along the way.
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I can't believe it's already been one year.

A year ago I was sitting in front of my computer in Vancouver, Canada, putting the finishing touches on my first book, Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy: A Guide to Getting Over Your Partner's Past and Finding Peace, and preparing it for publication. I had just created my first blog, and didn't yet have much of an audience. After all, I was doing basically zero promotion, and I wasn't sure how many others out there struggled with retroactive jealousy like I did.

(Note: "Retroactive jealousy" can be defined as frequent and severe jealous episodes concerning a partner's past relationship, and sexual history. It's pure hell, take my word for it.)

Eventually I decided to publish the book (very quietly, and using a pseudonym). I did it to chronicle my own experiences with crippling retroactive jealousy, and to show others how to overcome it like I had done. I was (and am) proud of it. However, given my tiny audience, at first I thought I might sell four or five copies a month.

How wrong I was.

Flash forward to today:

My website is the most visited website on the Internet concerning retroactive jealousy (visitors from over 110 countries to date!). I've sold almost a thousand copies of the guidebook (not bad for a self-published e-book). I've connected with hundreds of men and women all over the world who have sent me letters describing their experiences with retroactive jealousy, and my book. I take on a small, but growing number of coaching clients to help them overcome RJ. I have created a bestselling online course, and gathered an awesome community of RJ sufferers working together to get this thing beat.

On a more personal note, life has never been better. My website has enabled me to spend the last seven months traveling in South America, living in beautiful Medellin, Colombia, and doing what I love for a living. I share an awesome apartment with some awesome friends. The new book (details coming soon!) is about 50 percent done, and I think it might be the finest thing I've ever done. My readership is growing slowly but steadily; I think I might be able to make a go of it as a full-time writer and life coach.

Like I said: life is really, really good.

That is NOT to say, however, that I haven't faced some real challenges.

For example, over the past year I've learned:

  • Communicating to your audience without sounding like a sleezy salesman is difficult. I do what I do because I honestly believe that my work helps people, and can change their lives. Communicating that effectively can sometimes be difficult. Sleezy online salesman make a ton of money because they make empty promises and people eat them up. I don't do that, and therefore I don't make as many sales as them.
  • Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, but it's still kind of annoying. Since I published the guidebook, a couple of other "writers" have tried to copy it and cash in. Lame.
  • I need to become a more consistent writer. I wrote Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy in one big spurt, and it came out great. But I want to grow, and become a more consistent, clear and affecting writer. That takes consistent, constant practice.
  • Entrepreneurship involves taking a lot of risks. The first week of this month was my most profitable as a businessman and writer. The past week has been my least profitable, without a clear explanation in sight. Don't become an entrepreneur if you're not prepared to take on a lot of financial and emotional instability.

But I've learned a lot of really cool things, too. For example...

  • I have the power to help people in a big way. My book and video course have helped hundreds of people all over the world get past their partner's past, move on from jealousy, and find peace. I can't begin to tell you how satisfied that makes me feel.
  • I should have created a course and community much sooner. I've discovered that my course and community attracts dynamic, brave, inspired and inspiring human beings, and it's exciting to learn from them, and grow together.
  • Life gets a LOT better when you live life on your own terms, and let go of the expectations of others. Seriously.
  • I really love the ukulele. Seriously. I've played guitar for years, but just picked up the uke a few months ago. I've barely put it down since.

I can't wait to see what the next year brings.

Aging is nothing if not the constant re-evaluation and reorganization of expectations. My expectations for the next year are fluid. I expect there to be many trials and tribulations, but hopefully also a few triumphs along the way.

However the next year of my life progresses, I am certain of one thing: I am doing exactly what I should be doing at this moment in my life, and all things will proceed exactly as they should.

The universe has a funny way of taking care of you if you let it.

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