HOW I SHOULD FOLLOW MY OWN ADVICE

ADVICE

(Excuse typos. It’s been a long day but wanted to get this done before I disappear back into my cave to get Indebted #2 ready for release.)

So…I’ve been thinking of the best way to do this blog post. Started writing it, decided against it, started again…couldn’t be bothered. The usual procrastination.

But the past few days has solidified something that has been creeping over me for the last month or so, and either because I’ve made the decision in my heart, or because I’m seeing it happening for a lot of authors, I’ve decided to put it out there so it’s in black and white.

You all know I’m a huge advocator of positive thinking, chasing dreams, that whole spiel. I won’t repeat myself. Well, I’m not a hypocrite in that area; I do this the majority of the day and monitor my thoughts for positivity. HOWEVER, another key thing to keeping positive and successful things in your life is by believing they are there to STAY.

And I haven’t been doing that.

path

I’ve been killing myself chasing this dream I want SOOOO damn badly. I wake up every morning bouncing with joy for the chance to sit on my butt and fall into the imaginary world where I get to spend the day torturing, making love to, and playing puppet master to my creations. There is no better job than doing the one you were put on this earth to do. And it would never have been possible without the immergence of eBooks, amazon, the internet, and social media.

Technology not only enriched our lives with pen-friends half-way around the world who are now our best-friends and in constant communication with, but also created avenues for people who might never had had the opportunity to write for a living to flourish.

I’m one of the those lucky people.

luck

And despite the success I’ve found, I still don’t think I’m anywhere close to the trail blazers who went before me. I’m talking the complete originals who flipped the bird to the stigma that self-publishing was the cheap and nasty way out for ‘losers’ who couldn’t get a publisher, and made it the more preferred avenue. They are the Rockstars of my profession and I never get over the awe I feel when I get to speak to one of them.

Again, life made my dreams come true but not only gave me success in self-publishing, but also the opportunity to be published by a traditional house, Hachette. This large publisher has been nothing but supportive and kind to me, and I was also lucky enough to sign with an agent who goes to bat for me on foreign rights and all the other stuff that comes with a successful writing career.

All of that should make me jump for joy. I’ve hit the USA Today list three times, New York Times twice, and had the most amazing year of my life. I pinch myself and it still doesn’t seem real.

But it is.

I’m in a prime position to take my chosen path as far as I want to.

sabatage

So why do I feel as if it will end tomorrow?

Is it because I want it too much and it petrifies me to think of it all being over?

Is it because I’m afraid of making a wrong step and releasing a book that ruins my chance at making it?

Or is it because I’m terrified I’m going to lose everything I’ve worked so hard for in a rapidly growing market?

Probably all of the above, which is why I drove myself to the point of exhaustion, wrote so much I screwed up my eyes, didn’t exercise, didn’t talk to my hubby, and ate, slept, dreamt writing. I NEVER switched off. I was either on my laptop or tablet or phone. I was completely addicted to keeping my presence online, so no one forgot about me while the indie world exploded.

Needless to say that isn’t healthy.

Like at all.

And even though I KNEW that I was running myself into the ground, I couldn’t stop the deep-seated need to keep going. Just keep going. Keep sprinting. Never stop. I kept chasing an end goal thinking the moment I made it this crazy dream would be all over and I’d have to move onto the next thing.

But that’s WRONG.

Flat out wrong.

journey

I know I’m not the only author out there who sees how manic the indie world has become. How many awesome new releases are published every day, how many new authors are streaking past others, and how the mentality of scarcity is creeping back in.

I got sucked into it to.

I kept thinking if I don’t release another book in a week, I’ll be forgotten. If I don’t deliver a book that EVERYONE loves, I’ll be forgotten. If I don’t keep up my twitter and Facebook page four times a day, I’ll be forgotten.

If I don’t…

If I don’t…

The never ending carrousel of stupid pointless undermining worry that is ruining all my talk of positivity.

Know what I realized?

Yes, the market is a lot busier than last year, hell even last month. Yes, there are some amazing kickass books being released every second, and yes that means readers have a lot more delicious material to get lost in and less hours in the day to do it.

But is it a death sentence? HELL NO.

Only a fraction of the world actually owns a kindle or an eBook device. There are still more paperback sales than eBook sales and will continue to be this way for years to come, but there will also be more people joining the eBook revolution. Every birthday and Christmas, someone will be gifted a kobo or kindle and the joy of reading in Eink will be spread far and wide.

Not only does it mean MORE success for everyone, but more material for the reader.

stop

It doesn’t mean the market is going to implode in a few years. If anything, this is just the beginning.Sure there will be a huge influx of other talented writers and crazy good books that will stand out above the rest, but that doesn’t matter. Be grateful for them, happy for them, because ultimately it has nothing to do with me or you.

The only thing in my control is:

Write a damn good book.

Write quality not quantity.

Keep a good balance.

Create proper work hours and find down time to be more productive.

A good friend of mine, who I deeply respect has been going through the same soul-searching realisation I have. Unfortunately, her stress levels were worse than mine and she’s paying the price poor thing. But, all it took was looking at her daughter and realizing the most important thing. LIVING. Lili St. Germain wrote her own post about her decisions with her writing career which you can read here.

So…conclusions?

In the words of Jasinda Wilder, HM Ward, Bella Andre and all the greats…THIS IS NOT A RACE. IT’S A MARATHON.

race

Those words really resonated with me, and I really stopped to think. Yes, I’m freaking out to think that I’ll be yesterday’s news, but I’ve grown up a little and found that blissful thing I was missing –relaxation.

I’m relaxed now about my future, my goals and what I can achieve. I’ve relaxed knowing that as long as I‘m doing what I love, writing books that I enjoy, and interacting with readers who make my life a joy, I will ALWAYS have this. It won’t be going anywhere, because I was born to be a writer and I will never stop.

I can’t tell you how ‘centred’ and complete I felt when I finally let that conclusion sink into my soul. The stress of sprinting toward a non-existent finish line, the fear of not being online 24 hours a day, and concern of fading into the background just evaporated. I found my productivity went from 5,000 words every other day to 15,000 words a day, purely because I went back to my roots. WRITING. I’m an author. Sure, I run my own business and social media is just as important as getting a book out on time, but my imagination is where I find my Zen and I was able to get back to that happy place.

And because of that soul searching, I wrote the best book since I started this crazy journey. Ruin & Rule came together in four weeks. It was the easiest book to date to write, and I’m beyond happy to hand it into Grand Central today to start getting it ready for the market in 2015.

The joy I found from writing Ruin & Rule also reminded me of another important fact which I lost touch with.

Ultimately I write for ME. Not for the market, not for reviews, not for sales.

Tears of Tess was PURELY for me—and it’s my bestselling book to date.

Ruin & Rule was purely for me, too—I got rid of all thoughts of handing it into the publisher, because I knew I would self-censor like crazy and wouldn’t deliver the book I wanted. It worked. I LOVED writing that story.

true

And…as much as it will surprise some people, Indebted is just for me, too. Now, Debt Inheritance is my worst reviewed book so far. At the time it literally killed me. Split open my heart and I seriously wanted to pull the book and forget all about Jethro and Nila. But…time heals all wounds and makes big problems seem small.

Know what I realized? People can’t see the full story yet, so they have to review their feelings on the part of the story they can see RIGHT NOW. I get that. The topics are controversial subjects, and it’s a dark romance with taboo elements with some actions that won’t sit well with some people. But…it’s set in a setting that I’m in love with (old English estates) it has the rebel world of bikers, the seedy underbelly of diamond smugglers, the beauty and grace of couture and fashion, and a love story that is full of angst, betrayal and a slow burn that will all make sense in the end.

I very nearly pulled back from finishing this series, in fact I went so far as to scrap what I already had for the following book, but then I thought…I’ll write a bit more just for me. No one has to see it. I dropped all memories of bad reviews, and dived into the world that has only just begun. And I loved it.

I loved it so much in fact, I know I can’t stick to the original plan of each book only being a novella. I made an announcement on my Facebook page last week, saying each book in the Indebted series (up to 6 books) will be all full length of approx 250-300 pages. I didn’t expect many people to reply because hell, it seemed that not many people were enjoying the series. Turns out, I was unbelievably wrong. For every one person who didn’t like it ten did. That post went viral and had more comments, more likes, and more views than most of my posts for months.

And that was the final paper umbrella in my happy cocktail of positivity.

relax

Indebted is PURELY for me. It will always be written the way I want it with no input or fear of reviews. I’ll publish it for people who want to come along on the journey. The rights have already been sold for Italian translations and audio will be done on the first two books very soon—so I know there is a market for this twisted tale of debts and a storyline that makes no sense yet. However, I’m being selfish and keeping it all to myself. I will market it as controversial, I will publish every edition, and I will not censor myself, so be warned that Indebted will continue to be slightly crazy and full of questions.

BUT, in saying that I also realize it’s time for me to start to branch out. Dark Romance got me onto the map of self-publishing, and I will never stop writing gritty taboo subjects—it’s in my blood. But at the same time, evolution has to happen to all of us and I’ll be branching into other genres in the future.

You already know of Ruin & Rule which is an Motorcycle romance and Forbidden Flaws which is purely an erotic contemporary (it will still have a grey twist but the storyline will be more mainstream) and I have a lot of other projects in the works that will be coming soon.

If you’ve read this far, then thank you. I know it was a bit of a jumble of thoughts and probably doesn’t make complete sense, but it’s my way of putting it out there, so if I ever start feeling insecure of my place in this crazy world, I can come back and remind myself that as long as I deliver a good product, stay true to myself, and never stop learning how to be a better writer, failure doesn’t have any power in my future.

To all the writers out there, if you’re stressed, running around like headless chickens, ignoring your families to pump out another 1000 words before bedtime, or turning into an insomniac monster because you can’t unglue yourself from your tablet…

STOP.

Take stock of your achievements.

Pat yourself on the back.

Turn off your Wi-Fi.

And RELAX.

The muse and readers will thank you for it, because you’ll be around for a lot longer and will never suffer that dreaded burn out that seems to follow success. I was lucky to smell the smoke before I went up in flames, and promise to you and myself that I’m not going anywhere—whatever the future holds.

Pepper

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38 thoughts on “HOW I SHOULD FOLLOW MY OWN ADVICE

  1. Would you rather we leave a review for each part? Or review the book as a whole when it is complete?If you want each part reviewed as it comes out, I know I and am sure most of your readers would be glad to do it part by part, please laet me know!

  2. Kudos to you for keeping your family #1, choosing quality over quantity & realizing you have to appreciate what you have already achieved. I’ve read all of your books, even pd the high price for Destroyed to have it signed. Be proud of your work, you have many fans who love what you’re writing. Congratulations on having a career you love doing everyday, and thank you for putting out some kick ass stories!

  3. Thank God for writers like you,that poor their heart and soul into their writing. Who feel their people are so beautiful,they want to share them with the world. Who don’t write because they think their readers expect them to,but who actually love it. That love,that poors out in the pages and believe me,the love floods from your books! I don’t need social media to keep up with what you do,i might be a bit later in my reactions,but your blog keeps me informed of what matters most…..the things that matter to you. You will always have a loyal fan in me,a patient one, that waits for another one of your gems….

  4. I just want to say I freaking love you and your books. Never stop being you and writing for yourself. We love everything you put out or at least I know I do. I can’t wait to read more from you in the future 🙂

  5. If your goal is to Sprint towards a finishing line what will you do if you cross it? Will you stop and pat yourself on the back? Yes, keep running towards that goal but make sure that line is always being moved. If you cross it you have nothing left to aim for and your writing will stagnate. Don’t run full out in case you run out of strength or cramp up. And don’t forget to take on fuel as you need. I have only recently found your books. I’m working my way through them. I am loving them. Keep going, keep well, keep believing in yourself.

  6. Hi Pepper, I just wanted to say that your books have been my lifeline! You were born to inspire and to give hope. Yes, your books are fiction, but they give meaning to empty lives. I thank God for your words, I’m able to get out of the bed and move today. I can feel your love for life when I read your work, Please don’t stop sending your notes, I Love them ALL… I’m stronger and more in love with myself because of you. Waiting to read your next back. You are a gift from GOD!

  7. Wow, and a most gracious thank you for that post. While I dislike cliffhangers and waiting for a sequel release, I enjoy your books. I do fear, however, that I’ll miss the release of the next book because life happens. Please know your work is respected and new work awaited.

  8. Pepper, You are an amazing writer, your books have an incredible depth to them and I thank you for giving them to us your readers. You are THE best!

  9. Hi Pepper, I just wanted to say I love your books I have them all and can’t wait to read more of the indebted series. Tears of Tess is no doubt my favorite but indebted is right up there ad well. You are very talented keep them coming please.

  10. Thank you for letting us into your head and sharing your creatively beautiful stories with us. I’m one of your fans that loved Indebted. I don’t love Jethro yet, but I know if I keep reading that will all change. Just like in Tears of Tess, I wasn’t sure how felt about Q, but after reading more, Q became one of my most favorite characters of all time! So, I’m extremely grateful that you didn’t scrap the Indebted series! I can’t wait to read more about Jethro and Nila! You have become one of my most favorite authors of all time! THANK YOU!

  11. I’m not going anywhere as a fan. Hell I would wait a yr for on of your books to come out. I was hooked from day one reading Tears of Tess and haven’t regretted buying any of your books. I thinkyou need to do what’s best for Pepper Winters and no one else true fans will always be here. Enjoy life while your still young to enjoy it. It goes by fast. Dont stop living a life while making one.

  12. You truly are a breath of fresh air. There is a talent in your writing I can’t explain, but how you put a sentence together is just pure magic for the reading eyes! Whenever I start a different book you have written I simply cannot read it fast enough. I can’t put it down because I want to know what happens next. You have become my favorite author, not just because of your beautiful writing, but because of post like this. Your real, your not afraid to show your readers your gratitude, but also a slight vulnerable side in expressing your soul to us which is refreshing. Please keep writing for you! Thank you!

  13. This time ill write my coment in spanish my natural language.
    Es magnífico que hayas redescubierto tu centro y que no permitas que todo el ambiente exterior que te envuelve se lleve la magia que está dentro de tu. Tus creaciones son maravillosas. Tienes un Don que no todos lo tienen. Pero más que ello sabes que tienes el talento y pones la disciplina para crecer.
    Si has llegado hasta aquí es por tu talento. No te lo dejes arrebatar por el estrés.
    Sabes porque escribí en español, porque a los autores talentosos los seguiremos sin importar en q idioma publiquen así tengamos que acudir a traducciones o aprender inglés.
    Seguiré leyendo tu trabajo aun los libros salgan en un mes o en un año, porque lo bueno siempre se hace esperar.
    Lots of Blessings for you. Keep doing what you love the most and forget the rest.
    😘 Paola

  14. Dear Pepper This was like reading a confession and it almost brought tears to my eyes, it almost slayed me it was like looking into your soul and for you to have felt like this humbled me. I have read most of your books and enjoyed every single one, what you do is incredible to say the least, the pleasure and joy that comes from reading your books out weighs the stark reality of pain and tears and I for one would argue with anyone who disagreed. So Pepper you need to keep doing what you do best and sod the minority. I personally have been waiting with baited breath for Indebted 2 I am totally hooked as I was with Tears of Tess……To me you will always be an awesome Author Thank you. x

  15. I really just enjoy getting lost in your words. I think it’s funny how your posts always touch me and what’s going on in my life at that moment. You are stuck with me forever reading your books and waiting patiently for what you have written next. When I read Destroyed I found what sang to my soul with your words and I’ve read everything you’ve written since. I’m not always the more patient person but I find your posts help get me through. Your words are magical to me they touch the darkness deep inside and I can never thank you enough for it. Never apologize for writing for you, living for you and your family. I think it really says a lot about the person you are and how amazing, magnificent and magical your words flow through onto your pages. How a fabulous weekend!! ((Big Hugs))

  16. I am so glad to hear you write to inspire us to feel. I admit at first I wasn’t sure I was going to like indebted. I realized along the the way it was bringing every emotion I had in me out. I felt the hurt, the pain, anger, humiliation, desire not to keep fighting and many tears. I can’t wait for the next book to see where it is taking us. You do exactly what a good writer should. Make people feel! So glad you didn’t give up the series.
    Thank You!

  17. I love every single one of your books and I’m happy that you found your balance. Keep writing for you and we’ll always be there, ready for the next story! As things goes, if you’re happy we are happy..and I love that you interact so much with us and you’re honest with us. That’s what makes you the best!

  18. I really really don’t understand your former worries woman. You’re a goddess!!!

    People didn’t like Indebted should purchase each book of the series and wait for the last one and then read them. I don’t have patience and don’t know how wait, so I purchased it and it’s on my kindle waiting for the rest.

    By the way I love all the graphics you used in this post. Really beautiful.

    Take a weekend off, go to a date with your hubby, have a relaxing day (spa, meditation, yoga) and be happy. Your readers won’t leave you….

  19. I knew nothing about you, but read indebted and now jump onto you website weekly waiting for some updates. Yes your an author first, so please get back in your glorious cave of writing and get back to Jethro. Whist waiting I have read other books, yours and others. But my belly aches for Jethro and Nila.
    I too work in a cut throat industry – with the pressure of social media and all it’s many facets. Competition scathingly 2 steps in front of me and 2 steps behind me. At one point I just chose to never read it. To just do my work and let be. So hopefully you won’t even read this.
    I always say to myself , keep doing great work , show your work in the best way – there is enough consumers to go around.
    Now I’m forced to read indebted AGAIN tonight probably my 4 th time…… Just cause I love it !!!!

  20. pepper winters, i am not sure when you will be releasing the first debt. please tell me other then that you have shown me this part of myself i never knew existed and i love you for that-but sometimes i feel like i wish i didn’t know this part of myself since there isn’t a monster like me living in this world of mine.

  21. I completely loved how not only did you pour out all your fears and insecurities for us to see, but you also encouraged us along the way. Thank you for being so utterly human and letting us know that that is completely okay. I have only read your Indebted book and I have to say I loved it. It was way out of my comfort zone but I’m not sorry that I tested those limits. I am intrigued and held in suspense for how this story will continue to unfold. Until then continue to enjoy your marathon and we will follow along. Have a great one!

  22. Pepper, I never read your twitter or facebook page. In fact I closed down my facebook bc it was making me tense. I always was worried that I wasn’t keeping up and somehow wasn’t good enough compared to everyone else. So i don’t care if you ever do that again. I want you to keep writing books. That is what makes you great. That is why I get excited when one of your books gets delivered to my kindle and I stop whatever I’m reading and start YOUR book.
    Keep up the good work.
    Julie O

  23. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us and i’m glad that you found your center again. Family is the most important. And those that love your books will always love your books – no matter if someone reviews it negatively. Keep writing!!

  24. Pepper, I love your writing and can’t wait for everything you have coming. Stay true to yourself! Thanks for this wonderful post!

  25. I have loved everything that you have written to date, but by far, the Indebted book is my favorite. Who cares what the critics think?!?!? Listen to your fans! You are an incredible writer – I adore the way you pull together a story line and even craft seemingly simple sentences. Thank you for sharing your talent and passion with us!

  26. Pepper, thank you for sharing your heart. It makes your books that much more meaningful. My heart broke to learn that there almost wasn’t an Indebted series. I could not wait to get my hands on Debt Inheritance and I devoured that book in a day (and I hate reading cliffhangers… they make me crazy)! But I’m so glad I did. It was everything and more than I’d hoped for and I’m biting at the bit for the second book. The only other book I had read by you was Destroyed. It was spectacular! I had put off reading Tears of Tess for over a year, even though it got rave reviews. I knew Q would be this awful monster and I really didn’t think I’d enjoy the story, but after reading DI, I was like a junkie needing a Pepper Winters fix, so I took the plunge and dove head first into Tess and Q’s story. I’m soooo glad I did! I could have never imagined Q being a hero. All three books were a-maz-ing! Thank you! This is all to say that I appreciate your writing, your creative talent and your ability to take your readers to another world. Keep writing from your heart and for you and your fans will follow 🙂

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