4 Year Publishing Anniversary
So, as most of you know by now, this was it for me.
The only thing I ever wanted, the only thing that really mattered.
Writing, for me, was never a decision. It was never something I decided to do because it would be fun. For as long as I have memory of, this was what I knew I was going to do with my life. I turned deaf ears to anyone who – through genuine concern about my future – tried to guide me toward safer careers.
Sometime in my twenties, with hundreds of stories started and never finished, I just… stopped writing. I got a few odd jobs I hated. My free time was spent with friends or boyfriends. The dream just got buried in so much reality.
Those were some pretty dark days, to be perfectly honest.
In my very humble opinion, when it comes to this whole writing thing, there are people who were born to write and those who happen to write.
And when someone who was meant to do it stops doing it, everything feels wrong. For a long time, everything felt wrong for me.
Cue a few years later.
I quit the job.
I dumped the boyfriend.
And I decided that was it. I was going to write and publish a book. Or I was going to give up the dream forever.
A month later, I had a finished manuscript. I sent out query letters (the dream always involved seeing my books on shelves in brick & mortar stores). While I patiently waited – okay, maybe not patiently at all – for the inevitable rejection letters, I continued to write. By the time April 6th of 2015 came around, I had the first three Stars Landing books written.
Not willing to take “no” for an answer now that I finally, finally finished a full length book, I did some researching and came upon Indie publishing on Amazon. Heart in my throat, I uploaded. And waited.
I had about four fans for the first nine months of my career.
To be honest, these were scary and lonely times. Scary because I was almost out of money. Literally a week or so away from needing to stop doing this, to go get another “real” job. And I knew if that happened, I would never write another book again. Lonely because… well… I told NO ONE I was publishing books. Not my mom – who you guys know I am insanely close with. Not my best friend. NO ONE. See, I hate failing. I especially hate failing in front of my loved ones. So I kept my mouth shut. I said nothing. I hustled in secret.
Then Reign happened.
And Reign was MC (obviously) which was, apparently, a big thing. I had no idea. I just had this character who needed to have his story told. Reign got picked up by a few MC reading groups on Goodreads which took me from, well, a nobody, to a small somebody overnight.
Excited with a taste of success, I dove into Monster.
And Monster just… went big (well, big for me at the time!).
I think the cover is to thank for that lol.
But suddenly, this wasn’t some silly, girlish dream I was clinging to. It was something that could pay my bills. It was something that had a future for me. If I hustled. If I committed.
That was what I did.
After I told my mom and my best friend and let the taste of success spread.
From there, it was just a whirlwind.
I kinda can’t believe it has been four years.
80,000 Goodreads ratings.
80,000. Which is just, insane. My books have been read at least (since not everyone rates on GR) 80,000 times.
And on top of being able to pay my bills with this, be able to buy a house and provide for my mom, stepdad, sister, nieces and nephews, fur and feather babies, on top of making my biggest dream come true, there is something else I have to talk about, something I never could have seen coming.
My Girls Club.
My real-life Girls Club (with a few guys too!).
I had never thought something like this existed. I figured you had authors, you had readers. And maybe they communicated here and there. But mostly, the relationship was just a provider and consumer type thing.
But here we are.
Here I am.
Surrounded by this huge community of people who want to see me succeed just as much as I want to succeed. Who pick me up, who cheerlead me on, who have made it possible to keep going through all the ups and downs. Words can’t express how much you all have come to mean to me. I get overwhelmed when I even think about it. I get teary eyed when I go and read through your comments and encouragement. And I know you guys don’t quite know me LIKE THAT, but I am not a crier. I don’t get emotional very easy. But each and every time I think of what each and every one of you have made possible for me, I can’t help it. All the watery eyes.
I wouldn’t be here without you.
I wouldn’t have been able to see a dream come true without each and every one of you being there for me, reading my books, sharing your love with me.
It is incredibly humbling to be a part of your lives.
I know I get messages and comments about my books helping some of you through rough times, but, let me tell you, you guys have no idea how many hard times you all have gotten me through. I know you guys know how much I struggle with anxiety and depression and I have to say, each and every time I am in a bad spell, one of YOU is what lifts me up.
And I am so incredibly thankful to have you in my life.
I adore this amazing community we have found with one another.
I love each and every one of you more than you could ever know.
This was long.
Though, to be fair, I did tell you it would be mushy lol.
Now excuse me while I go wash off this raccoon eye situation from the aforementioned teary-eyed-ness.
Here’s to another year of books!