When I wrote my first book (The Guilt of a Sparrow), I still hadn’t told people I was writing. I joined NaNoWriMo, and worked diligently, but I was secretive and more than a little terrified. Writing was something I did for me, and I didn’t quite dare to think my work could be published. I met a couple people online, on the NaNoWriMo forums, and began discussing writing with them. It was through them I gained the bravery to share my work for the first time. We swapped what we’d written, and all the sudden I was a writer.
From there, I got the courage to share with a couple in-real-life friends. I did multiple rewrites until I felt I couldn’t do any more with the book. Then I started submitting to agents and publishers. Rejections were par for the course, and oddly not all the disappointing, because I never expected to be published. I found my book home with an indie publisher, who helped me along, encouraged me to keep writing, and taught me how to take the reins.
Now, everyone knows I’m a writer, and I’m always working on at least two or three projects at once. My last book (The Chapel) was sent to beta readers early on, and I was happy to get the much needed feedback. I have an editor I trust and love working with. I collaborate with an artist for my book covers. I know how to format my books for ebook and print.
A couple years ago, creating a website and managing social media seemed difficult. There was a learning curve to being an author where the marketing and promotion were concerned. Back then I would never have considered self-publishing. Too daunting. Too scary. Too many what-ifs. Now I put my own books out with pride in my work. I learned by doing, from asking questions, and by befriending other authors.
One of the biggest changes from book one to book five is me.
Did you know there was a time I was embarrassed by reading romance? Yeah, that was before I started writing it! I loved the books, and my ereader reflected this, but I never wanted to admit it to anyone. Then I realized everything I wrote turned into a love story, and I had to embrace the fact I LOVE romance. Reading it. Writing it. Now, supporting and promoting it. We’re a strong group of (mostly) women, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of!
I went from someone hiding the fact I even tried my hand at writing, to someone active in the writing community. I learned to brave the critics and put my work out there, because it’s worth it when someone finds a connection to my stories. I started out wondering if I could ever finish another book, to planning dozens more!
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo): https://nanowrimo.org
My editor: https://mybrotherseditor.net
How I format my books: https://reedsy.com