Over 400,000 words.
Approximately 800 hours spent at the computer (although this figure is probably A LOT higher)
I could add so many accomplishments to that list, but this post isn’t about me being all ‘look at me, look what I’ve achieved’, it’s about me taking five minutes out of my crazy life to reflect on the last year. Because if it’s one thing most of us don’t do nearly enough – it’s stop and take stock of where we’re going and where we’ve been.
When I first put finger to keyboard back in December 2013, I didn’t have a ‘plan’. I remember when I released Fate’s Love (my debut novel) last September, my plucked-out-thin-air target was to sell 30 units on release day. I sold 17 and felt a slight twinge of disappointment, until I gave myself a firm talking to and opened my eyes to the fact that 17 people had bought my book. MY FREAKING BOOK!
I didn’t set out with a business plan or release schedule (I didn’t really know what the hell I was doing). It was simply a case of ‘let’s see what happens’. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I’d found my thing in writing. It was something I was going to do with or without self-publishing. But then something happened. I kept selling books. I’m not talking figures to wow anyone or have agents lined up at my door, but a slow trickle of sales appeared on my KDP dashboard and I started to get excited. So excited, I started to write the second book.
I had hopes to exceed the first book. After all, I had garnered a small following and some exposure. I also thought it was a better more appealing story. So to say I wasn’t disappointed would be a lie, but by then I’d started to write Loyalty and Lies (book #1 in the Chastity Falls Series).
People in this industry are forever saying ‘write what you love’ and whilst I agree that a writer should write a story they believe in, let’s face it writing what you love isn’t always going to help pay the bills (or fund the next book). Don’t get me wrong, I’m under no illusions that I’m going to get rich quick in this game – in fact, I’m pretty certain that will never happen- but whilst Fate’s Love did reasonably well for a debut novel it wasn’t highly reviewed and talked about. Why? I think it was because it was a ‘nice’ easy read. So, whilst I’m proud of Fate’s Love and everything I achieved writing that book, I know it isn’t the kind of story that leaves the mark that most authors strive for. I’m okay with that, it was my first book – my first attempt at writing, period – and it holds a special place in my heart, but I knew I wanted my next series to be something different. Something that would leave an impact. Something I would read and think ‘gaaah, I need to read more’.
Chastity Falls was a game changer for me. After releasing the second book, Salvation and Secrets, I realised writing for a living could be a viable option for me (I am fortunate enough to have a husband that supports our family financially). I also realised I could write something besides play-it-safe romance. So I gave up my part-time job to live the dream (I should probably state the dream is being a full-time mother to two toddlers and writing into the night for an income that barely funds the next release)… but it’s my dream, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I know where I’ve been, but where am I headed?
I’m still a small fish in a very very large pond, but this fish is fighting against the strong currents to get to where she wants to be (although right now, she doesn’t really have a plan past the next book, but you get the idea). I never dreamt I’d be here now – self-published author of six novels with another on it’s way, and numerous more in the pipeline. The plan is to keep on writing. I still pinch myself whenever a reader reaches out to me to say they enjoyed one of my books. It’s a very surreal experience, one that probably never goes away. I have made some amazing friends along the way – authors, bloggers, and readers – and feel lucky to be a part of this community.
Really, this post is dedicated to all of them. The authors that are there for me, the bloggers that support me, and the readers that download my stories. Without all of you, I’d simply be a small fish lost at sea (Nemo… yes, I’d be Nemo). You help keep me (mostly) sane, a little bit crazy, and a whole lot on track with this girl’s dream.
And when I’m having a really bad day, I remember this…
‘there is no impossible, the very word itself says I’m possible’
~ Audrey Hepburn