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100 Naked Words
Letter sent on May 7, 2017

Chapter 1: I am going to self-publish a novel in 180 days.

I’m scared and excited out of my wits.

It’s been a while since I last time I felt like this. It was probably this time last when when I was setting up my failed e-magazine and started 100 Naked Words as a way for me to create some stability in my world. A year later I’ve got my stability, but I’ve been searching for something to set my soul on fire again.

I’ve been searching for something to set my soul on fire again.

During April, I asked you what you wanted to see in the second year of 100 Naked Words. Again, thanks so much for putting in the time for your feedback. I set up 100NakedWords.com as a newsletter. The sell: I’ll send you daily tips to become better as writer, every day.

But something was nibbling at the edges of my mind:

Is that really the best you can do?

Anyone could scroll through Google, research blogs and read famous authors’ Wikipedia pages to find out little tips.

The little voice was disappointed in me:

Your audience deserves better. What could you that would REALLY show them how to be writer?

I aimlessly strolled through the interwebs, looking for inspiration. Eventually, I ended up at Reddit.

For those of you who don’t know, Reddit is home to some of the most engaged communities online, people who help each other do all sorts of things.

In Google, I typed in “Reddit writers”. There were no fewer than a dozen Reddits about writing: character development, general writing, freelance writing. One in particular caught my eye:

Self-publishing.

I jumped in — and I happily drowned.

I was riveted by the war stories of self-published authors who had made every mistake in the book and lived to eventually see their novels published and read by thousands of people.

I drank from the proverbial fire hose.

Here’s something you don’t know about me: I wrote and published a non-fiction book on Kindle three years ago. I was driven by money — I’m not proud of it — and I was so disgusted with myself that I deleted it mere months after it was published.

Having said that, there’s so much I don’t know about the self-publishing industry and all this new information was making my head spin… and I loved it. I loved feeling like a beginner and being somewhere where I knew nothing.

This was on Wednesday the 3rd. I held the idea between my hands, turning it over, getting used to its texture and warmth. Johnson Kee — self-published author?

Johnson Kee — self-published author?

It had a nice ring to it.

And so on Thursday the 4th, I decided I was a self-published author.

  • Yes, without a book to my (pen) name,
  • without fiction writing experience (beyond what I wrote in school),
  • without publishing experience (beyond the failed non-fiction experience).

By the 31st of October, I’m going to have a book written, published and ready for the world to read.

Writing those words sends electricity through my veins — it’s not as dangerous as it sounds.

I’ve written about the 180 Day 180 in the past. There’s something I like about this time frame. But yes, the 4th of May to the 31st of October is 180 days.

Through these Letters I’ll be giving you updates. You have followed me from the beginning and you deserve see behind the scenes. I’ll share my failures, successes, weakest moments and hopefully, times of courage.

Also, I’m totally OK if you stop following me and this publication. You didn’t sign up for this. Rest assured, 100 Naked Words on Medium is going to stay as it is. I’m still going to be writing every day and so are its writers. I’ll just be sharing my self-publishing journey through the weekly Letters.

My greatest wish though is that you not only keep following, but that you are my first fans. There is the concept of 1000 True Fans by Kevin Kelly and I’d love to find my 1000 True Fans. I think that’s the pinnacle for anyone who creates anything.

I don’t know what I’m going to write about yet; I have to do some research. I’m aiming for it to be something in the sweet spot between what I naturally write about and what you want to read.

You’ll see that I preceded this Letter with “1/26”. In these 180 days I’ll send you 26 Letters, this one being the first. Every step of the way I’ll share with you what’s going on.

Eventually, I think I’ll have the Letter being fragments of what I’ve written. Your feedback has always kept me going and for my debut novel, this is especially the case.

Now, I have to get to the drawing board and plan out what I’m going to be doing for the next six months.

Please give a warm welcome to:

Shruti Sharma,

Austin Sustachek

Thanks again for following — it means the world to me to have you here.

-J.