Big Time

In September of 2012, I left my life in Boise and departed for a walk on the Camino de Santiago. The best thing that I left behind was a pile of expectations for the excursion. I have a firm belief that if you are looking to find something on a trip…..then the journey is premature. 250 miles into the walk, I felt a strong desire to write about my personal transformation. At the end of the road, sitting on the steps of the cathedral, I wondered if I would follow through on my new passion.

September 14, 2013 was the one year anniversary of my first step on the magic path. It was also the day that I launched A Million Steps. Lydia B Smith is the director and producer of Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago. We spent countless hours to create and promote this event. On that day, 600 people joined us at the Boise Center for my official book launch.

Throughout the writing process, I had no idea where this would take me, but experienced fleeting moments of fantasy. I saw myself being interviewed on Oprah’s couch, speaking to thousands of people at a Google company meeting, taking a call from Random House, and signing books at the Times Square Barnes and Noble. Peter Gabriel’s, Big Time lyrics rolled around inside my head.

Big time, I’m on my way I’m making it, big time, oh yes
Big time, I’ve got to make it show yeah, big time
Big time, so much larger than life
Big time, I’m gonna watch it growing, big time

Reality quickly set in one week after the launch. The pent up demand from friends and family was quickly satiated, Oprah lost my number, and three local bookstores turned down my offer to supply consigned inventory. I promised myself to devote at least one year of full time attention to this project. I took my eye off the end zone and decided to move the ball a few inches every day. I solicited the help of a public relations firm in Los Angeles and we began to swim in new waters. I submitted guest blog posts to influential bloggers, wrote many articles for targeted magazines, began an informal cross promotional plan with Lydia, spoke to any room with more that three people, and started doing radio programs.

Over the past three months, I have written over 20 guest blog posts, completed 40 radio interviews, appeared on two television programs, and published stories about my trip in 6 national and regional magazines. I have several paid speeches on my calendar and will soon be touring libraries in San Diego and Denver. My sales are accelerating with more than 2.500 copies in circulation. Last Friday, Big Time knocked on my door. I had my first conference call with a name brand publisher from New York.

We had a very pleasant and informative 75 minute conversation. He was very candid and we both came to the conclusion that a traditional publishing agreement would not likely be in my best interest. We are going to try to strike a very unconventional agreement that would satisfy our mutual needs. The firm has been in business since 1894 and our potential deal will be unprecedented.

I spent the weekend thinking about out conversation and came up with several thoughts. First, be careful what you wish for. Second, there is no magic place in life where it all comes together. I did not get to a point on the Camino where is all made sense. Instead, the small moments collectively made the journey. Getting a publisher will not vault me into author heaven. The joy of my current path comes from meeting new people, getting a nice review, booking a new speaking gig, and having a nice interview. Even if Oprah did call, it will be just another step on the path.

Big Time can never be reached and it is a place that does not exist. I am willing to bet that if someone ever gets close, they will immediately desire a bigger version of big time. Accepting that is does not exist is the key to getting there. My big time happens every day as I move the needle a bit further down the road. I cannot wait to see what happens tomorrow.