I find that many authors—myself included—don’t take the time to savor the milestones. I always tend to worry about the next deadline. So this morning, I wanted to take some time to contemplate this past year and what it’s meant.
There was the thrill of release day, seeing my book cover go live on the various retail sites. The wonderful emails and Facebook messages from family and friends congratulating me on such a momentous day. I’d worked hard on my writing in general and LYING EYES in particular, so I was thrilled to see it hit the #1 spot on the Carina Press store that day.
Of course, the euphoria was followed by doubt. Biting my nails as I waited for reviews. Learning that not everyone will view a story the same way. One reader’s trash is another reader’s treasure. And, ultimately, accepting that everyone is entitled to their opinion. Opinions don’t change the quality or value of the story I wrote. They may chip at my confidence as I write the next story, but I do my best to power through and write the best story I can. I hope that every story will be better than the last.
I got to experience the challenge of explaining to my local friends that they couldn’t buy my book in a store because it was a digital book. For those of us who spend a lot of time on the Internet, this seems like a little thing, but I was surprised that the chasm between digital and printed books was still wide. It’s also been interesting that people who, a year ago, didn’t really understand the concept of digital books, now own Kindles, Nooks, Kobos, iPads and more. Liz was right in her post yesterday–the technology, she is a changing!
There was also the cool experience of having my book recorded as an audio book for Audible. Plus, I got to meet the talented Cris Dukehart, the voice of my audio book, in New York City last summer. BTW, Cris did a great interview at Romance University recently where she explained what her book narrator job is like.
I got to enter the RWA® RITA Awards as a debut author. And, as an offshoot of that, I actually received a handful of print copies (an unreleased version) of LYING EYES. Way cool to see physical copies of my book. Thank you to the little elves at Carina!
I received my first royalty check this past year. True to what I’d heard, there were a lot of papers and figures involved. The check did not fill my retirement nest egg completely. And so I looked toward a second book.
I took a leap of faith and self-published AMBERSLEY this past summer. I did it quietly, in the midst of a lot of personal turmoil. (Those who know me will remember my father passed away unexpectedly last January, then we sold the family home in June. It’s been a helluva year.) Publishing this book was not about money or my career—it was a way for me to pay tribute to my mom who, more than anyone else, instilled within me a deep and abiding passion for books. And so, I did very little promotion around the book. I just let it be available. Oddly enough, it “took off,” and hit the Top 100 list on both B&N and Amazon.
I experienced the creativity-numbing challenge of juggling “marketing” with writing. How to keep an eye on the the books that were now released, analyzing sales and trying to figure out what factors helped or hindered, yet stay focused on writing the next stories. Okay, admittedly, I wasn’t pushing hard on the next stories (see above paragraph re: personal turmoil), but I was working on a non-fiction project. Finding balance is an ongoing goal of mine. I know it’s out there.
And, on an up note, I received some wonderful notes from readers—readers I did not know personally, which made the notes that much more special. Readers who loved my story or my characters or both. Readers who wanted to know if I would be writing more stories set in Las Vegas or in Regency England. Yes and yes. I will cherish those notes always. Always.
And here I am, at the end of my first year. Oh, I’m still like a toddler out there among experienced authors. I still have a lot of books within me to write. I have a lot to learn about the industry and about readers’ expectations. Like a toddler, I’m still finding my voice, testing my legs, and I’m as likely to get into things and make a disaster as anything! But, I’m also willing to explore new ideas, new horizons and I see everything as an adventure.
And, in honor of my 1st anniversary, I will give one lucky commenter today a total of $36.50 in gift cards (one or two, electronic or physical–winner’s choice for retailer, as long as I can buy and send the card!). Why such an odd amount? That’s one dime for every day of my first year as published! So, plan a little extra holiday shopping on me and leave a comment by tomorrow night (Wed., Nov. 16th) by 9:00 p.m. EST. I’ll announce the randomly selected winner here by Thursday morning.
Today’s question? What was the last anniversary you celebrated? Was it a birthday, wedding, divorce, new job, or something else?
Thanks for helping me celebrate today!