Today marks the day that I hit that ‘publish’ button on Amazon, and sent my very first book, The Necromancer’s Apprentice out to the world. It was very frightening as I came to realize that this was no longer a childhood dream. I had achieved one of my many goals in life, and it felt good.
Sales were slow at first, and I didn’t know what to expect. I advertised on social media sites and readers/writers forums. Of course, I was a new fish in this giant ocean, and I knew as an unknown author I wasn’t going to be the next Amanda Hocking, as much as I had secretly dreamed. I was writing in a very niche genre (gothic fantasy). It was discouraging at first because I didn’t see the results like everyone else around me had seen with their books, but that didn’t stop me from writing or promoting myself. I did book signings—lots of them. My very first book signing was at a local Starbucks in town. The owner there was very nice and welcoming of local authors. I was scared at first, sitting there all alone dressed up in my gothic dress, wondering if anyone will stop at my table. For a while, no one had, but then, little by little, people started to get curious about what was going on in my little corner. Then I had my first sale. After signing my name in my book for that first customer, I knew that I’d finally reached that point that I could call myself a real ‘author’.
That was 2011.
Now, three years later, The Necromancer’s Apprentice has received many reviews, features on blogs, and in 2013, won first place in the Royal Palm Literary Awards. This was a pinnacle point for me as an author, because I’ve never had my work recognized like that before.
I look back on that long road I’ve traveled in the self-publishing world. Thanks to the internet and the power of networking, I’ve learned so much about the industry, and have grown, by writing several more books after The Necromancer’s Apprentice. I’ve learned that writing is not just a hobby, it’s also a business.
My story isn’t like others who have sold millions and/or quit their day jobs from becoming an overnight sensation. I never had any of that. Perhaps I never will. But that doesn’t discourage me. I have a day job, a good one that I enjoy. But of course, I’d love to get to that point where I can live off my writing. Who doesn’t want to work from the comforts of their home? But realistically, I’m the other 99% whose writing is not paying for itself. But that’s okay. I’ll still keep writing. Even if I have 100 books out, and I’m still not able to live off my writing, that’s okay. When I initially got into this writing business, I never figured I’d make enough to ever quit my job. I just wanted to share my stories with the world, and that’s what I’m doing.
I love getting fan mail, and I’ve gotten just a few since 2011. But I’ve kept every one of them and on those days I feel discouraged, I go back and read those emails. It motivates me to know that there are people out there who enjoy my writing. I actually have fans! I’m a nobody, and there are people out there who like me!
This writing business has been a long world, and I, in no way, consider myself an expert. A wise man once said, “a master never stops learning.” As long as I keep writing, I’ll keep learning something new, whether about the craft, the industry, or anything else. The day we think we know everything is the day we realize we know nothing. As an author, I am hungry for knowledge about the art, the industry, and ways I can better myself. I go to conferences and ask authors as well as readers. I regularly ask questions in some of the writing communities I’m a part of. I try to give back to the community whenever I can, helping other authors who are just starting out, giving them tips so their journey won’t be so rough and scary as mine had been.
My personal thanks goes out first and foremost to my God for giving me this special talent to write. Without Him, nothing is possible. To the GothNoWriMo program, because without them, I wouldn’t have had the courage to write The Necromancer’s Apprentice, and I wouldn’t be where I am today. The NaNoWriMo program, because without them, I wouldn’t have had the drive and the ‘kick in the pants’ motivation to write more books. The Kboards community, because I’ve learned a wealth of information on that site when it comes to writing, and have many friends with readers and authors. My critique group, The Dragon’s Sandbox, because without them, I wouldn’t have learned so much more about the finite details of writing, nor would I have developed thick skin to take harsh criticism. Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank my readers every single one of you who took a little time out of your busy schedule to check out my work. I’ve achieved my goal in sharing my writing with the world because of my readers.
For a limited time, The Necromancer’s Apprentice will be on sale for 99 cents. Tell your friends, if they haven’t read the book yet! Help spread the word! Here’s to many more years of more books and more great readers.