How I Almost Didn’t Publish

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I’ve been putting off writing this post as I hadn’t made up my mind if I would share my doubts or not. (seems I do that a lot) On one hand, it shows my struggles and how scared I was pushing that button; on the other hand, it shows how insecure I am as a writer.

But, I figured, you all know (if you follow my blog) how I really struggled with Destroyed. It started in January as a challenge to myself to write 80,000 words in 8 days. I wrote the 80,000 words, but didn’t know the characters and the story kept evolving, meaning the words I wrote were no longer relevant. I met my challenge, but it destroyed me to have to delete them all.

(By the way all the images used in thispost are courtesy of Lkay ❇✾The one-click buy button addict❇✾. You can read her 5 Star review HERE Thanks so much for the awesome images!)

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I wrote Destroyed to show I could write other stories, as well as Dark Erotica. I wanted to show I was diverse as a writer and hopefully introduce more people to Tess and Q thanks to a tamer book. However, by taming myself, I tamed my imagination. And without my imagination, I never quite knew the story the characters were telling me.

It wasn’t until I said ‘screw it’, and just wrote the story I wanted (still taming myself to some degree) that the characters starting talking and I could see where the plot was going. It took a heart-breaking 100,000 words to be deleted to finally figure out a storyline I was happy with. So all up, Destroyed came in at 244,000 words in 6-7 weeks. Needless to say my eyes were sore, fingers knackered, and I couldn’t for the life of me see the story amongst the mess I’d made.

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Once the story was on paper, I then sent to Beta Readers. Now, I ADORE my readers. So much so that I want to kiss them all passionately. Their feedback was good: They said it was a great story. Awesome characters. Their support kept me going and I kept editing and polishing.

But the doubt never left.

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I’m normally a very positive person. I don’t let things get me down. I focus on the good things in life, but this book… it sat heavy in my heart. It made me nervous. It made me doubt everything.

One night, about a week before the official release on the 24th Feb, I had a mini breakdown. It was 9.30pm and I looked up from the laptop and said to hubby, “This book is terrible. I can’t release it. It will ruin my career as a writer. No one will like it. I’m deleting it.” I then apologised for letting him down, and proceeded to close the file into the dark recess of my hard drive never to see the light of a kindle.

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But hubby told me to send to a few more people to get a few more opinions. So, even though I knew they’d hate it and no one could like this book, I did as he said. I begged a few lovely people to read my crappy book and then blocked myself from the internet for the night.

Imagine my amazing surprise when I woke up to find messages in my inbox saying:

“If you delete this, you’re an idiot.”

“It’s amazing. You have to keep going with it.”

“Don’t give up. It’s awesome.”

Every single one of those readers helped me IMMENSELY and gave me the drive to get it finished a little more.

But then the doubt came back.

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I became needy and annoying to my beta readers moaning and worrying. Constant thoughts of:

“This is going to ruin me.”

“I’ll publish and it will flop.”

“People will think WTF is this?”

The doubt never left me alone and I don’t know what I would’ve done without everyone’s amazing support. Truly.

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Anyway, I’d come so far that I couldn’t just let it stay unpublished (even though I REALLY wanted to) and to be perfectly honest I wouldn’t have published if I hadn’t announced the second release date of the 7th March. The response to setting another date blew my mind. People were so amazingly supportive and I knew if I didn’t publish I would be ruining my career not by putting out a bad book, but by not delivering a book as promised.

So…. I crossed my fingers, squeezed my eyes, and pressed publish.

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Why am I telling you this?

I do have a point, I promise.

It’s not that I thought my book sucked and that I was left wondering why everyone bought it. It’s because I lost faith in myself and YOU helped restore it in me.

I have never felt such crippling fear. Not when I wrote Tears of Tess or even Quintessentially Q. I poured a lot of myself into Destroyed and because of all the deleted bits and other storylines plaiting with the current one, I couldn’t see the truth anymore.

I didn’t believe my editors or beta readers who said it was good. I didn’t believe ARC reviewers who said it was incredible.

WHY? Because I didn’t believe it myself.

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So, once I uncovered my eyes and came up from my pit of despair to find amazing reviews pouring in and Destroyed climbing the charts, I started to believe.

I actually READ my own book. I didn’t edit it, or proof it. I read it. For the first time.

And I found I went from hating it to loving it. Flaws and all. I went from being hugely disappointed in myself to proud and so thankful that people kept pushing me even when I was being a flipping drama queen.

My rambling point of this is: NEVER EVER doubt yourself. Some self-critique is needed to ensure you put out your best work, but don’t ever let that little voice cripple you. It stops you from seeing the truth. It hides the reality behind fear and nerves.

It seemed this was a valuable life lesson. Not only do readers love Destroyed, but it hit Top 29 on amazon 10 hours after its release.

It’s remained in the Top 50 for 4 days.

It’s become a #1 Amazon Bestseller and has held that position since 8 hours after release.

Every milestone this book hit proved to me that I put myself under ridiculous stress.  And it taught me that no matter how bad you think something is, listen to people around you. Trust that people will tell you the truth and learn to believe.

While I was busy freaking out, my dreams had come true. My wish to become a fulltime writer was realized. My sales far exceeded anything I could’ve hoped for, and I’ve met some incredible people with this journey. Life gave me everything I wanted thanks to amazing readers like you and I almost didn’t see it happening because I was so wrapped up thinking  I was a failure. My very long rambling point is: DON’T BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF. That cliché saying: It’s not about the destination but the journey is very true. I was so stressed with the release of Destroyed I almost didn’t get to celebrate the amazing achievement of publishing my third book and watching it skyrocket in rankings.

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For all the writers out there. If you’re struggling with a manuscript, get one, two, ten points of views before your scrap it. Listen to your readers—they know better than you if the doubt is shadowing your thoughts.

For anyone chasing their dreams and becoming disillusioned. Don’t forget to take a step back if it all becomes too much. Once you do, you’ll see it a lot more clearly. You’ll see the truth and realize it isn’t nearly as bad as you think.

For anyone just having a bad day and letting negative thoughts overcome. Call time out. Go for a walk. Have a drink. Read a book. The worries will still be there, but you’ll be recharged to kick their ass if you recharge.

To round up this long post, I wanted to share to the acknowledgements in the back of Destroyed, because without these amazing Beta Readers, I might never have published:

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I find writing acknowledgements harder than writing a four hundred page book. I worry about missing people out, having a brain freeze, and forgetting someone fundamental to my journey. So, this is my disclaimer: I’m eternally sorry if I forget you. It doesn’t mean I don’t love you any less or appreciate everything you do, it’s because I’ve frozen up and my brain has gone on strike.

Now the disclaimer is out of the way, let’s begin:

First, I’d like to thank my husband because without his constant support and endless patience I wouldn’t be able to write as much as I do. He’s there to discuss plot holes, listen to me rant and rave, hold my hand with bad reviews, and cheer me on while I make my dreams come true. Love that man to death.

Second, I’d like to thank the amazing people behind the scenes. Arijana Karcic from Cover it! Designs for all my amazing covers and Kellie Dennis from Book Cover by Design for the original tattooed cover for Destroyed. Love your talent, ladies, and, Ari, I would be lost if we didn’t chat about meaningless things on FB.

Next, I’d like to thank Nadine Colling for doing such an amazing job running my street team. You and Tamara McRae are truly amazing and I love chatting with you ladies. Thank you to all the amazing women in my street team for your incredible support and pimpage. I know I couldn’t do any of this without you.

To all the bloggers and reviewers, I love each and every one of you. I love chatting with you, reading your reviews, and can’t thank you enough for your support. In particular, I’d like to thank Becs Glass from Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews for just being incredible and so lovely, and Milasy from Rock Stars of Romance for being so incredibly supportive of my work and welcoming me onto their website of hugely successful authors.

I’m indebted to Ing Cruz from As the Pages Turn for all her extraordinary help arranging a kick ass blog tour and for putting up with me while I delayed the release of Destroyed to make sure it was perfect. She’s an amazing woman, friend, and I don’t know what I’d do without her.

To Natalie from Love Between The Sheets for putting up with me changing my release day and always being around to answer my questions. To Jenny from Editing for Indies for an amazing proofreading job. I love your work and your awesome feedback. You went above and beyond and I can’t thank you enough.

I want to thank Skye Callahan for being around for our daily chats and putting up with my breakdowns every day while writing this book. Love our sticker wars and aimless chats.

To Chantal Fernando for being so like me and freaking out about the signings we’ve agreed to this year.

To Lyra Parish for our ridiculous conversations about randomness and our joy of insomnia.

To Rachel Brookes for being so sweet, generous, and a massive cheerleader despite having so much else going on in her life.

To Ker Dukey for being strong, awesome, and impassioned about all things writing. Love your talent.

To Kristi Webster for talking me through every plot hole in Destroyed and calming me down when I was ready to self-combust.

To Kristina Amit for being an amazing beta reader. I can’t thank you enough for being so dedicated and loyal. You’re amazing and I value your time so much.

To Helena Reviews for pointing out plot holes with gentleness and such an infectious love of my work. I can’t thank you enough for all your support.

To Ella Fox for becoming a friend and reading Destroyed in a few hours so I could stop biting my nails and freaking out. You really gave me the push I needed to finish.

To all the ladies in the SSIRACG. You’re amazing and I’m so glad I met you all. Your truly are a lifesaver.

And last but definitely not least, I have to thank my beta readers. Destroyed turned out to be the hardest book I’ve ever had to write, and instead of the select few I use to beta read, I had to ask a ton of people for their opinion while rocking in the corner. I owe these ladies every thanks for talking me off the ‘delete button’ and for keeping me going when I wanted to throw this book away. In no particular order:

Astrid Knowles, Vicki Ryan, Lisa Brookes, Sarah Griffen, Celeste Harrington, Katrina Sincek, NJ Frost, and Tamicka Birch. You ladies were a total godsend and I know without your input Destroyed would’ve remained on my hard drive destined never to see the light of a kindle. I owe everything to you and all the amazing beta readers and friends I’ve mentioned above.

I could go on and on but I think I’ll wrap this up and finish with a HUGE thank you to you, the reader. Thank you for your trust in me, your kind words, and amazing encouragement. I hope you enjoyed Destroyed and all my other work coming soon.

To anyone I forgot, you mean the world to me and I’m blowing kisses. I love each and every one of you and thank you from the bottom of my heart. I know it’s cheesy but I honestly could never have done it without the amazing support network offered by you amazing people, and I’ll always appreciate you, more than you know.


xxxxxxx Thank you xxxxxxx

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6 thoughts on “How I Almost Didn’t Publish

  1. I’m only 25% into Destroyed so far and I freaking love it! Dark romances are my favorite and you rock it girl! I wish I was a Beta reader!

  2. Cant believe ive only just discovered such a gifted author!! I just started DESTROYED, and I can already tell that this story is going stay in my heart long after I read the final page… Am looking forward to reading absolutely EVERYTHING Pepper writes! Definitely my favourite author from now on!

  3. Congratulations on staying true to your course, and publishing “Destroyed.” I believe in Karma and everything you gave to others was reciprocated back to you. Continued blessings.

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