When I first became an “official” author, I really didn’t know what the hell to do with myself. The only other authors I’d met were big time best sellers, after standing in line for hours at a B&N, often after driving 3-5 hours to get there in the first place. Totally worth it. ♥
Back before I even knew that I should be requesting reviews from fellow authors, I happened to find myself at a signing for one of these amazeball best sellers, MaryJanice Davidson (she’s the one on the right in the center picture, and the only one who doesn’t make me look freakishly tall). After waiting in line to have my copy of Fish Out of Water signed, I reached MJ’s table and timidly mentioned that I’d just finished writing my first novel. She then blew me away by offering to read and blurb it. O.O I’m pale as death, so I’m sure I turned fifty shades of red at this point. Of course, then she added on, “You know, as long as it doesn’t suck.”
No pressure, right?
Well, apparently, it didn't suck. At least not to MaryJanice. She wrote a super sweet blurb, and it gave me the courage to ask other authors and reviewers to take a look at my work too. It also encouraged me to man the fuck up and start treating my writing as a career rather than a hobby. This is what I wanted to do for a living—not just in my spare time. I couldn’t afford to let my introverted awkwardness stand as an obstacle in my path. I needed to network.
I soon found myself on a quest to seek out online forums and social media platforms, signing venues and bookish conventions. It’s been an exciting and often nerve-wracking journey. Especially as an indie author without an agent or publicist. It took 5 years before I earned enough in royalties to be able to quit my day job. And now I have a really nice circle of fellow indie author pals—a few of which are even close enough to manage a lunch date on occasion. Most are still scattered across the globe, but every now and then our paths cross at conventions, and it’s magical!
I’m not on the NYT or USA Today best sellers lists… yet. But I am happy to say that my latest book, Death Wish, has been hanging out on Amazon’s Dark Fantasy best sellers since its release last week. Woot!
(Pardon me, while I go eat all the Halloween candy in the kitchen to celebrate... )
I am frequently asked how I got where I am, often by people under the impression that it happened overnight. There are a lot, and I mean A LOT, of great books on writing, and publishing, and marketing out there. I’ve read quite a few of them. There are quite a few more on my TBR list. Still, I’ve been considering tossing my two cents into the well.
What do you say, aspiring authors? What elements of the writing/publishing/marketing process befuddle you the most? Where does the map fail you with a shaded area marked no-man’s-land? I'd sincerely like to help. ♥