I blinked and it’s flown by. Five books. Two signings. No sleep.
I’d planned to do a short blogpost to celebrate one year of pressing that alluring publish button. I’d planned on celebrating with a brief ‘Happy Release Birthday’ with a few giveaways and updates—that in itself would’ve been more than enough reward to look back and reflect on what the past year has meant to me and how amazed, humbled, and ecstatic I am. But the icing on this fabulous cake that has become my life was Debt Inheritance hit #84 on the USA Today and #24 on the NYT Bestseller lists. On the very same day that I pressed publish a year ago. Surreal? Yep!!!
Now, I find my small post isn’t enough to celebrate such a monumental achievement or to put into words how blown away I am. So, I’m going to do another lengthy blogpost on the writing side of it, along with the mental side that turned my world upside down and I KNOW has the same power to turn your life any which way you want it.
If you follow me, you’ll know I’m a huge advocator in visualization and positive thinking. This hasn’t changed, nor will it. EVER. Because I’ve seen results. I don’t care how it works—only that it does. By visualizing the future you want you’re more focused, driven, and less likely to get distracted.
With that said, let’s begin. <3
15th July 2013
Tess Snow and Q Mercer jumped very rudely and abruptly into my head. I had been writing other characters but they just shoved their way in there and I couldn’t do anything else but write their tale. I’ve said before that Q was sly and mysterious the entire time I wrote that book and didn’t know him until the end and the epilogue, but it was great fun being in his head in Quintessentially Q.
Tears of Tess was my fifth novel. I’ve written Urban Fantasy and Contemporary all sitting unloved and gathering dust. But I fully believe that I had to write those books to fully grow as a storyteller. They were huge learning curves for me. For someone who flunked English class and left school at 16, I had to learn the very, very basics and I will admit I had a lot to learn.
First thing I recommend you do, if you’re wanting to publish and don’t know where to start (which I didn’t know about until 2 years into trying to write) is join QueryTracker. They have like-minded authors, all looking for Beta Readers, and to share their tips and goals. It’s scary to trust a complete stranger with your unpublished manuscript, but I know without a doubt I would never be where I am without putting my faith into one amazing author on there.
She in turn introduced me to other like-minded writers and our group grew and celebrated each success as each of us either went on to self-publish, signed deals with large houses, or diverted our attention into different genres. My advice to you is—join a networking site. Get talking. Get sharing. And leave your emotions at the door. Critique—honest critique—will hurt, this is after all your baby, but if you find someone trustworthy, then their advice is priceless. Listen.
28th August 2013
I pressed that publishing button after spending the month of July and August building up my online presence. I did nothing amazing or fancy. I opened a blog, Facebook page, and twitter. I shared teasers of my work, friended like-minded authors and readers, and slowly built up my brand. Your brand is very important to have established BEFORE you press publish. Also, if you can afford it, investing in yourself is a huge need. I spent about 1500USD pushing Tears of Tess in advertising cost. It was a gamble, but one I was willing to take.
Needless to say, Amazon decided to play chicken with me and I when pressed publish sick with nerves, they made me wait and wait and WAIT. 27 hours they made me twirl my thumbs before slowly releasing the book on all platforms. I have no idea why they took so long, but it might’ve had something to do with the warning in the blurb about non-consent. (Amazon are devils for censorship, so be careful what you put in your synopsis.)
The success that Tears of Tess had blew my mind and to this day is still my bestseller. I will never be able to thank the bloggers who friended me, or the readers who helped pimp my work. Word of Mouth was key in that book and I wish I knew how to replicate it. All I can say is be so grateful for every sale, be kind and generous, and be happy.
16th December 2013
I finished writing Quintessentially Q and released. It hit top 100 within hours of its release and I was once again blown over by the amazing readers and reviewers. But then it sank. Hard and fast. Christmas and holiday season. I thought it would be a perfect time to sell with people buying gifts and getting ready for a break from work, but it was the opposite. Everyone was super busy buying family presents and having panic attacks over dinners and parties. Sales continued to suck until early January, which, without any pushing or promotion, sales suddenly climbed high and stayed high for a few months. My advice—don’t publish over the holidays.
Quit working on my other ‘adult jobs’ and embraced my dream to write fulltime.
7th March 2014
I finished writing Destroyed and released a week late due to the headache that book caused me. I won’t reiterate what I wrote on the nightmare of writing that book but you can see the post HERE. That was the book that, even though it almost killed me writing it, brought two things into my life which I will be forever amazed by. It hit the USA Today Bestseller list and caught the attention of Latoya Smith at Grand Central Publishing.
25th March 2014
I went to my first ever signing which was amazing, terrifying, totally wicked, and blew my mind with people wanting my autograph—ME? I couldn’t wrap my head around it.
5th April 2014
Latoya Smith at Grand Central contacted me about buying the rights to Destroyed and other works. I went into self-publishing purely so I could write the books that were in my heart, and to have a large publisher agree to let me continue to write what I loved but wanted to help place them into bookshops around the world was just jaw-dropping.
30th April 2014
I signed with Erica Silverman at Trident Media Group who held my hand during the deal made with Grand Central Publishing. I did a post on that HERE
3rd June 2014
I finished the Monsters in the Dark trilogy and published Twisted Together. It was bittersweet and rather stressful. I was lucky enough to get pre-orders through Amazon but that blessing turned into a bit of a curse as the book I thought would be about 80-90,000 words turned into 173,000 words. All done in 5 weeks. I don’t recommend that. LOL
4th July 2014
I had my second signing in Edinburgh which was incredibly amazing. I met some extraordinary people, partied with readers who I adore, and got to rub shoulders with some insanely talented authors. I went to that signing expecting a few people…30-40 max who would come and see me. So my jaw was on the floor when my line never stopped. I didn’t eat until 3.30pm. I couldn’t even go to the loo because the line never stopped. I was given gifts and so humbled I couldn’t comprehend that THIS was my life.
16th July 2014
Latoya Smith unfortunately left Grand Central but I was taken under the wing of Amy Piermont and Lauren Plude (executive editors and head of the Forever department) who have been the most amazing advocates of my work and I’m very excited to deliver the books that will be released with GCP in 2015.
18th August 2014
Released Debt Inheritance (Indebted #1) This was actually the hardest of my releases to bear, purely because the readers who loved Q really didn’t like Jethro. It really hurt to think I let them down, but I’m hoping I can turn them around with the next installments. The motto of this story—you think as a writer each release will get easier, but it’s the EXACT opposite. You have expectations to fill, characters to do justice. It only gets harder. I can honestly say my easiest release was Tears of Tess, purely because no one knew me.
28th August 2014
I’ve just been told by my agent and publisher that Debt Inheritance hit #84 on USA Today and #24 on NYT. I’m beyond amazed and so grateful. 🙂 So that truly does wrap up a year of awesomeness and I hope it never ends. I’ll be writing for the rest of my life and hope I’ll continue to have an audience who enjoys my work.
So that’s the year summed up in a nice little bow. I can say I’ve worked harder than I’ve ever worked on anything in my life. I’ve written for 28 hours solid with no sleep, I’ve spent money on advertising that didn’t work, and almost given up on books that got me on the USA Today list. Every day I wake up and write. My eyes are suffering from staring at a screen all day, and my brain will NEVER switch off so relaxing has pretty much flown out of the window. But I wouldn’t trade a single part of it. My dream came true and I’m going to love every tough, painful, ecstatic, overwhelming, joyous moment of it.
And I only have you to thank xxxxxxxxxxxxx
What’s coming up in the future?
I can’t say much as I’m still waiting permission from Grand Central to release the titles and details of the two books being published with them. However, I have more Indebted to deliver, two motorcycle club books with an alpha male called Arthur Killian who I hope you’ll love as much as I do, and then a few different projects from my usual darkness called Forbidden Flaws and Ribbon. (They’ll be Grey Romance with an emphasis on sexy)
Dates, links, and covers will all be shared soon.
Before I head back into my writing cave, I want to say another big, HUGE, thank you for following my career and enjoying my work. I hope you all have an incredible day and that your dreams come true.