I hope you’re sitting comfortably, sipping on your favourite brew, because this is a book in itself to read. I toyed with the idea of just sticking to three lines:
Surprise, I signed with a publisher
Surprise again, I signed with an agent
Surprise for the third time, I’ll be coming to a bookshop near you.
But that wouldn’t be any fun as it doesn’t show the blood, sweat, laughter, or tears that it took to get to this milestone, or explain the riot of emotions I went through when my dreams all came true at once. And the funny thing was—I was so wrapped up in fighting my dreams, I failed to recognise they’d manifested. (A key note to this story.)
I’m going to take you back to the beginning. Bit cliché, but there you go. If you follow my work, you’ll know I want to share my journey as a writer with you and not just the work I produce. I believe in sharing the heartaches and triumphs so others will know just how much effort is put into seemingly a sheer streak of luck that the past year has been for me.
All I can say is…writing is like ANY career. You might see authors shooting past like a golden star while you’re slogging away or feel that you’ve been trying for years to get noticed but never do. That was me two years ago. All I can say, and what I kept reminding myself, was: Writing is a CAREER. You can’t expect to put out a book and hit it mega in one go (some people do and they deserve it but most of us, we have to work. Keep peddling book after book to see which sticks) But look at a doctor: they have debts coming out of their ears in student loans. They study for YEARS. They bow to superiors for yet more years. They slowly work up the ranks, increasing their knowledge, slowly becoming specialists in their chosen fields until one day they sit back and think—yes. I’ve made it in my profession.
Look at actors. Some again fly by on natural talent, good timing, and a little bit of lady luck, but the majority have been at this since they were two years old and in a baby diaper commercial. For example: Kylie Minogue (Australian singer) started her career over 25 years ago on the local show, Neighbours. She wasn’t famous or earning mega bucks. She was one in a million of actors looking for a foot up. It was only perseverance that got her noticed, launched her career, and she rose to the top of pop.
So, never forget that if you don’t make it on this book or the next, it’s your education. You’re in university of writing, learning, promoting. Every book is bringing you closer to that lucky break that WILL come if you believe in yourself.
My lucky break came the moment Tess and Q popped into my head. I had the sixth sense flutter that THIS might be the book to get me there (however I’d thought that from all my previous work so I tend not to listen to that voice anymore) Prior to writing Tess and Q, I’d written five other books all sitting on my hard drive feeling sad and unloved, rejected by agents, laughed out of publishers hands. But it didn’t faze me because I knew I was in kindergarten of publishing. And frankly, I sucked.
So, tap tap tap, I returned to my keyboard, researching my craft, growing my confidence and storytelling skills. By the time Q and Tess came along I knew I had a good foundation to write their story. But that wasn’t the part I was worried about. It was getting them noticed. So I went back to school and studied marketing, Facebook promo, how other famous authors had done it and slowly built my profile from tried and true methods of other authors. I did nothing special. I don’t claim to be an amazing writer or have a story that’s a bestseller. I just believe in the characters and it showed enough to get the book noticed.
And that was my break.
I will NEVER stop remembering the moment Tess went live and I woke up to more sales than I’d ever dreamed. It was the third fundamental moment in my life where I knew I would be forever changed. That my life as I knew it was finished and I better hold on because anything could happen from here. (The other two was moving overseas on my own at 18 and meeting my hubby at 19)
So, I basked in Tears of Tess success for approximately two hours and then went back to work. And then I ruined my happiness by freaking out that I wouldn’t be able to replicate the success. But I had Q to bring me through that fugue and I let myself trust and grow my writing skills a little more, throwing myself into the story.
I published Quintessentially Q with confidence in the story and happiness when people loved it.
Then I destroyed all my hard work by trying to write a book that I wasn’t truly feeling. I’ve written about my hardships writing Destroyed HERE. (warning it’s another huge post)
After Destroyed came out I huddled in my corner fully expecting people to hate it as I didn’t believe I did the story justice. But then life decided to teach me my next lesson in the school of writing.
Readers are amazing.
Life will keep sweeping you along if you’re on the right track regardless.
Destroyed did two things Tess and Q failed. It hit the USA Today bestseller list in the first week for its release, hit top 28 on amazon and….drum roll…attracted the attention of a mega publisher.
Know what I did when the first contact from Grand Central Publishing came in? I deleted it.
My wonderful editor, Latoya Smith, Facebook messaged me and I didn’t believe anyone could want a book that I was still a little unsure about. I thought it was a joke, so I deleted it and went back to writing. But the niggle in the back of my head made me undelete and do a bit of research.
Turns out. It was legit.
Before I go any further, I’m just going to share a bit more of my life. If you interact with me you’ll know I’m a very positive person (I have my down days as does everyone) but ultimately I slap myself if I’m being a drama queen and focus on the good in life. I’ve always been aware that the power of positive thinking is what makes dreams come true and am an avid reader of books like Napoleon Hill’s Think Rich Grow rich, The Secret, The Magic, among many others.
About six years ago…when I was a little low and wondering what the hell I wanted to do with my life, I wrote down three goals. I created pretty images, printed them off on 6×4 photo paper and stuck them in a small album to read EVERY night before going to sleep. Those goals were the last thing I saw every time I went to sleep and the last words I repeated before falling into dreams. I’d read in order for positive thinking to bring your dreams true you have to FEEL it. You have to BELIEVE it was true. But I found that really hard especially seeing as I had no money, no idea how to write, and couldn’t envision the career I wanted. So I did the next best thing. I repeated those goals over and over again. Ten times, twenty times every night before going to bed.
And at first nothing seemed to happen.
But then I blinked a few days ago and slapped myself for not seeing them creep up on me. Positivity WORKS. Dreaming big WORKS. But the key ingredient in order to make anything you want come true—REPETITION and BELIEF. You can’t give up because the moments you do then all the hard work you’ve put in are obsolete. Over the past two years, I went one step further. I purchased an obsidian turtle that sits in my left back pocket every day. Every time I sit down and feel it dig into my butt I visualize and thank the world for making my dreams come true. It’s become such second nature I do it now without even realizing.
My goals were:
To be a successful author
To be in bookshops around the world
To travel for work and live life full of happiness with my amazing hubby completely financially free.
Goal One came true: I relaxed enough to call myself a successful author once the reviews came in for Quintessentially Q. Funny, I don’t count getting onto the USA Today bestseller, because it was the reviews stating the calibre of my writing that I most appreciated not sales.
Goal two came true in a very surreal way. When I realized the message from Grand central wasn’t spam I went into freak out mode. I had no clue what to do, how to act, what to expect, so…I asked some incredible authors for help. They all said—get an agent.
I messaged a couple of top agents who I respected about representing me. I NEVER expected a reply. After all, I never got one when I inquired last time, so I trotted away thinking ‘great I’ve embarrassed myself’.
So imagine my flummox when not one but both came back within a few hours with their home phone numbers to call over the Easter weekend. I’m not a fainter (never fainted in my life—but I felt lightheaded)
To cut a long story short I valued their time so much and couldn’t express how grateful I was that they’d spend time of their holiday talking to me… me! But in the end I decided to go with Erica Silverman from Trident Media based on recommendations and her reputation in the industry.
Through her amazing guidance, patience, and support she closed a three book deal between myself and Grand Central. I’m extremely excited about where my career is heading. Destroyed is the first book they will be taking over followed by another two that I can’t discuss yet but I’m very excited about. The funny thing was—I fought this dream coming true. I’d asked for it, I’d believe in it, yet when it happened I was a brat and sunk my toes into the ground.
I fought the deal.
I argued every point of the contract. I said no a few times. I prepared to walk away—why? Because the thought of losing control of my career that I’d grown from nothing PETRIFIED me…to be honest still does. I frustrated the hell out of poor Erica but slowly, I came around. I began to unlatch my tight death grip on my work and forced myself to relax. I stopped thinking about everything I would lose (the ability to design my covers, put it on sale, send out arcs, control the story etc etc) for everything I would gain (exposure to more readers, physically getting into bookshops, taking the next step in my journey as a fulltime author)
And then it hit me.
My dream had come true and I’d been fighting it every step. Not only did Grand Central and Trident Media work with my every demand, they bent over backwards to make me happy. I can’t believe they didn’t tell me to go jump off a bridge but I’m so, so thankful they didn’t. Why? Because they showed me just how much they believed in my work and just how much they would work with me in a market changing every day. Their tenacity to put up with me while I had a mini breakdown was everything I needed to see and made my decision easy to go with them. I saw their faith in me. I saw their trust that I would be a good investment.
So thank you to Latoya Smith at Grand Central for contacting me and working with me the past month and thank you to Erica Silverman for talking to me in the early hours of the morning and not ripping my head off with all my questions, fears, and hesitations.
Not only is goal three coming true but I’m having the best time of my life. I’m living my ultimate dream and not a SECOND goes by that I’m not grateful for every little thing. Every reader. Every blogger, reviewer, retailer. I don’t know how many times I repeat thank you to the universe on a daily basis for how much I’ve been given, but it isn’t enough because I’ll never stop being in awe of what came true.
The moral of this long post is your dreams will come true without you noticing—it’s only when you stand back from the big picture—that you’ll see it happen. If you want to design your own future then write down you goals and imprint them on your soul. Buckle down for the ride, be prepared to WORK both mentally, spiritually, and physically, and never forget that it will happen as long as you don’t meddle. Don’t feel jealous of others success. Don’t feel disheartened. Don’t grumble or stew over something that makes you upset. Stay in your happy bubble and fill it with thankful hope because then you’ll be powerful enough to make your dreams come true.
It worked for every mega star from Einstein to Isaac Newton. You just have to believe in it. Oh, and if you haven’t read Napoleon Hill Think Rich Grow Rich you really need to.
So, that’s my story of how it took not one year (which is the timeframe people will see from publication to success) but six years where I repeated my goals over and over like a mad man for my dreams to come true.
Thank you to everyone for reading this very long post.
Thank you to everyone for enjoying my books and being such an amazing support.
Oh, and there is a giveaway going on for a signed copy of Monsters in the Dark boxset. Link is HERE