My journey probably mirrors the story of so many other authors. As a child I was obsessive over books. I loved the thrill of leaving my own life for a few hours to fight dragons, solve the mystery or fall in love. Books were such a huge part of my life that it inspired me at a young age to write my own tales.
But it wasn’t until two years ago that I got serious about my writing. I began the journey of writing Defiance Rising after a very intense dream woke me in the middle of the night. I watched the beginning of the book play out before me and I was captivated. So that next morning I began writing. I didn’t stop until I had over 800 pages of single spaced chapters.
The next step was of course to let someone else read it. And bless her heart; my mother-in-law was willing to read through my first very rough draft. To her credit, she read it quickly and for the most part enjoyed it. But I knew that it had a long way to go.
I spent months slicing bits and pieces of the book. Removing chapters, shifting ideas around and around. Finally, I had in mind exactly what I wanted. One enormous book became two, and even then it probably could have been shifted into three. I scrapped everything and started over again.
At periods when I wanted to rip my hair out and scream, I pushed aside Defiance Rising to work on something else. Something fun. I would switch back and forth between several manuscripts, always enabling myself to have a free flowing stream of inspiration. Once that began to dwindle I would pick Defiance Rising back up and plod ahead.
Almost a year ago I began submitting agent queries. This was about as terrible as I’d read on line. Rejection after rejection in the form of a cold, lifeless, form letters took a toll on me. But I kept plugging on. Always editing, refining, stripping away, and polishing.
And then, three months ago I read an article that changed my life. Amada Hocking had become huge…and I’d never even heard of her. This is actually pretty funny since I predominantly read only teen fantasy so I can stay up with the times. I devoured every YouTube video and article I could find on her and in those words I read about a girl who had the same dream I did and took a chance on herself. I knew I had to do the same.
I’d heard of eBooks but never really gave them much thought. Certainly not as a way to become published. The idea of holding an electronic book in my hand was just too…unthinkable. I was a die hard physical book kind of gal. But all of that changed once I began researching the reality of eBooks…and my hubby bought me a Kindle for our anniversary. I was instantly hooked! In fact, I read three of Amanda Hockings books that first week.
After I mulled over the idea a bit, dragging my feet really, I decided to give it a go. I wasn’t having any luck with agents so I had to try something else. In July of 2011 I began getting serious about my book. I spent two weeks doing some pretty intensive editing. I’m sure I went through an entire bottle of headache medicine! And then, after buying ANOTHER bottle of meds, I began to tackle the formatting.
Now for those of you who are amazing computer whizzes, my hat goes off to you, but I am not! I can type, check Facebook and even manage to maintain a simple blog, but past that I’m clueless. So formatting was really hard for me.
Two weeks later I was ready to submit my book…and then it hit me. All of the nerves, the doubts, the fears that my book wasn’t good enough, slammed into me at the exact moment my finger trembled over the submit button. I had to take a deep breath and in that moment I vowed to always believe in myself, no matter what. My husband stood over my shoulder, cheering me on and I couldn’t let us down.
So my eBook went live and I was over the moon, excited to see my sales soar. WRONG! It’s not that easy when you’re an unknown. I had a smattering of sales from friends and family who were kind enough to make the purchase, but I wasn’t getting anywhere.
What next? How do I get my name out there to the people? How do I attract buyers?
Those are the key questions that every self published author must ask in order to be a success. For me, I worked hard to build up my book blog, www.defiancerising.blogspot.com I began using LinkedIn to make contacts in the writing world. I did a couple author interviews on line and a local newspaper interview to get the word out close to home.
But amongst all of this work, spanning countless hours of hard work, I discovered something. It’s hard to find a website that focusing solely on doing free advertising for other authors. Then the idea hit me. I’m not the only author in the world struggling to make a name for myself. I wanted to give back.
So about a month ago I began a new blog www.self-published-authors.blogspot.com The focus was to offer free author interviews for any author who has published or wants to promote an upcoming release. In the first month I’ve had nearly 1,000 views! That’s huge for me!
Not to mention I’ve met a ton of amazing authors just like me. I’ve grown so much from their advice, shared their joys as their books sales increased and it allowed me to share my own book on their blogs. It turned into an amazing way to help and be helped. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to pass on the success of others. (And just so you know, I’d had very few sales that can be related back to the blog, so I don’t want you think I started it for that reason!)
I’m also in the process of getting my book into print through CreateSpace but it’s taking more time that I’d hoped. Between font size changes and margin adjustments I’ve had to order a second proof copy to make sure everything is perfect before it goes on sale. Soon…hopefully!
So where do I stand now? I’m currently working on the second book in my Defiance Rising Trilogy, Relinquish as well as a new novel about Immortals called Immortal Rose. Both will be available by Winter 2011.
My journey hasn’t been a long as others, I’m sure, but I’ve learned more than I could have ever hoped for in the past two years. Discipline in writing every day. Perseverance to push through the tough times. Dedication to my dream. And the ultimate importance of believing in myself, no matter what.
I’ve got a LONG road ahead but that’s totally ok with me. I’m just getting started!