“The Debs.” Three other debut novelists found each other and then included me. So we are four. We all have our first releases on May 1. Our journeys to publishing have varied, but here we all are, facing an exhilarating and terrifying day.

Exhilarating because, hey, our books are releasing! All our hard work—for years—will culminate in this moment of first release.Olivia Newport Launch into the Unknown

Terrifying because now our stories will be out there, and what if no one likes them?

We banded together to face the day as one. Check out Katie Ganshert (Wildflowers from Winter), Beth Vogt (Wish You Were Here), and Dani Pettrey (Submerged).

Brainstorming about how we might help each other has been a furiously creative process. We’re not sure if we’ve come up with just the right angle to help each other promote, but we all agree that the biggest benefit of finding each other is that now we don’t feel alone.

• With the hugeness of promoting.

• With the uncertainty of a first release.

• With everything we don’t understand about social media.

• With the hunt for effective strategies of reaching readers.

• With navigating something we haven’t been through before.

Now we touch base during the week, confess our rattled nerves, ask our stupid questions, and share prayer requests. We are better together.

So “How to Launch into the Unknown” comes down to this: You do not have to do it alone.

Often, when we face a challenge or an area of pain in our lives, we think we are the only one.

• The only one with the father who drinks too much.

• The only one with the uncle who did things he should not have done to you.

• The only one whose husband had an emotional attachment to another woman.

• The only one whose devoted conservative Christian husband suddenly announced himself gay.

• The only one whose mother failed you in fundamental ways.

• The only one who just can’t stop eating sugar.

• The only one with embarrassing, unmanageable debt.

• The only one with an adult child who won’t speak to you.

These things have not all happened to me. That’s not the point. The point is, they are happening to people you know. Everyone has pain. So whatever your pain is, whatever your secret, you are not alone. Another person’s pain does not have to be identical to yours to find solace together.

I love that throughout the Old Testament, God speaks of “my people”—not “my random unconnected individuals.” And in the New Testament, God makes us into “a people,” not merely redeemed individuals, but a redeemed people.

God never meant for us to be alone—whether in good times or bad. We are better together.

Tell someone. It will be good for you in both body and spirit.