A year ago, I was still a lesser-known indie author. I’d gone about the whole enterprise the “wrong way.” I’ve been a writer my whole life and, a few years ago, when a close friend of mine told me about the ebook revolution (yes, you might ask what the hell rock I’d been hiding under), I checked it out. Oh, I knew about ebooks—I’d even had one published under another name with another publisher. I just hadn’t realized how HUGE ebooks had become!
I still didn’t as I naively started checking things out. You see, I’ve always been a writer (oh, I already said that, didn’t I?). All I ever wanted was to be read. And I wanted to write (of course). So I learned as much as I could, made my own damn cover, figured out how to format my own damn books, and clicked “Publish.” I wasn’t smart like a lot of these newcomers I see. I didn’t network first. I didn’t market first. I just thought, “If you write it, they’ll read it” (eventually).
So, last year about this time, I’d started experiencing a modicum of success. The first book I published with Amazon (you might have heard of it) was Tangled Web. It got a little bit of notice, but it was more a slow burn kind of thing. After it had been out for a year, I had sold over one thousand copies, and I was told by traditionally published authors that that was good.
Good enough for me, I figured, because that meant that I was being read.
Oh, I was, and I had the Goodreads reviews to prove it. Lots of people HATED the book. No, I don’t think hated is too strong a word. Yes, when I started out, I didn’t even know about Goodreads. Told ya. I was pretty naïve jumping into the indie author arena. But I had faith in myself and I’m driven.
And I wanted to be read.
So, the fall of 2012, I published the second book in the Tangled Web series, and I’d only done it because a reader asked if I would consider writing a series. Everything But exploded. It got me on some of the top 100 genre lists on Amazon (not enough to make me a “Bestselling Amazon Author”) and it also put me on several top 100 Amazon author lists. That was enough for me to realize that, yes, people were reading my books.
Frankly, I would still be publishing even if I only had forty readers. The need to write is that strong. It’s as strong as eating and drinking. Sometimes stronger, I realize, looking at my empty water glass and not getting off my ass to fill it, because I still have more to say here.
This time last year, I was writing a book I called Bullet (you might have heard of that one too). I posted teasers and excerpts on Facebook and Twitter here and there, and a reader whom I consider a friend now told me she thought this one was different—lots different—and she just knew big things were going to happen.
Oh, man, was she right. I clicked publish on Amazon, and not long after, Bullet gave me the title of Bestselling Amazon Author. Bullet was in the top 100 of all Kindle Paid on Amazon for five days straight. Not bad for a little indie author who had no fricking clue about how to market herself. I still don’t, and my heart’s not in that sh*t. I want to write. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. I don’t want to pimp myself here, there, and everywhere. I just want to write and, yes, I want to be read. So there’s that.
But the new year—let’s talk about that. I have so many things on the writing front that I want to do, and Bullet did help with that. I used to work a full-time job and teach college classes full-time on top of that. Bullet gave me the freedom to kiss my teaching job goodbye (and it was at a time when I would have wanted to bail anyway), allowing me more time to write. I have constant ideas, which can be a blessing and a curse. Unfortunately, I have to focus on one at a time. Here are my (hopeful) plans for 2014 (and beyond):
- Get Fully Automatic ready to publish. No brainer here. That shouldn’t take too long.
- Finish writing the next Nicki Sosebee book, Fake. I had meant to have it done a year ago (and it’s already one-fourth of the way written), but those Bullet boys have had me in constant writer hangover and it was hard returning to Nicki. Some tough things are going to happen in this book too, and I think I’m avoiding them. But I need to get on it!
- Begin the Wishes series. The first book will be Be Careful What You Wish For, and it’s going to be based on the short story of the same name found in Quickies. Readers demanded to know more of Jessica and Kage’s story, and who am I to argue? So I’ve had their story rattling around in my head for months. It’s ready to be transcribed to paper.
- On the Tangled Web front, I have partially written Seal All Exits. Really need to get that one done too, but it’s a hard one. You’ll see why when you read it. Heather has a few demons I didn’t know about until I started writing. She’s a tough cookie, but it’s hard for me getting inside her head.
- In the Bullet arena, I still have Zane and Nick’s books to write, and I know their stories. Again, just a matter of getting them down on paper (or computer, as it were). Their stories won’t be as dark and gritty as Val, Ethan, and Brad’s, because their stories will take place later in the timeline.
- Bullet related…I will be doing (at some point) a spinoff series, thanks to Feverish. Again, lots of readers demanded more Jet and Emily, and I’m not going to argue. So I’ll write their story on tour, and then the book after will be Brian’s story. After that? Well, Last Five Seconds has two other band members, so who knows?
- Other stuff! Yes, the strange ideas! I don’t want to give too much away, but I have an idea germinating for a SciFi novel…kind of dystopian—the stuff 1984 and Brave New World are made of. But, lest you’re nervous, it will still be ME writing it. Sex and cursing, and—if I can figure out how—rock and roll. Then there’s this zombie novel I’ve been inspired to write. No, no zombie love. Gross! But the zombie apocalypse, yes, and how it brings two people together who otherwise never would meet. Sex? Hell, yeah! Cursing? What do you think? Rock and roll? Well, nostalgic remembrances, I’m certain!
I think I have plenty on my 2014 plate to keep me busy, but this list looks like I’ll be busy for a few years. Seriously. Nicki probably has another four or five books before she’s done. I was on a road trip a couple of weeks ago. When I’m by myself on a trip, I crank the radio and write in my head. I had a revelation of the last Nicki book. I hadn’t “seen” that far in advance until that bright shining moment and, oh, my God. I think I see the end. Still, she’ll keep me busy a little longer!
My friends, I wouldn’t be writing this post right now if the last year hadn’t been as great as it has been. You have given me what I asked for—someone(s) to read my books. So, for you for the coming year, I wish happiness, peace, and contentedness. And know that I want to continue to write for you. I appreciate and love you very much and am proud to be your author.
Now, for that glass of water…