Nearly two years ago, my first book came out. What an amazing feeling to get my first book contract. I was over the moon. My dreams had come true! Yes, I felt nervous what people would think of my book out there in the big wide world, but I knew doors had opened up to me of endless possibilities. I wasn't far off.
Getting published opens the door for more contracts. You learn from the editing process, your writing improves and other publishers see you have a presence out there already. It gives you credibility like a graduation certificate or a CV with job experience inside.
The first year after being published was a whirlwind for me. I wrote several more books and within the year, had another five out. I didn't expect it to happen so fast and felt overwhelmed by the new responsibilities that went with promo, marketing and editing. I tried to slow down in my writing, but if you love something and can't stop doing it, how do you slow down?
Well, the last year has been the complete opposite to the previous year. It's been a very frustrating year for me. I've started writing under a pseudonym in a different genre and wrote three books under her name. I sent in those books in the last quarter of last year and the beginning of this year. I also sent in Book 2 of The Creators series - a book called "The Dance of the Firefly." The edits just didn't come. I waited and waited. Checked my emails, and waited. I was so used to a flurry of activity - the fast and efficient processing of my books into the world. It didn't happen. I decided I needed to write more books for "Kathy," so I wrote a Christmas novel (book 3 of my Weddings Girls Series) and a Halloween novella. Of course, I didn't think - those would only be able to come out in the last quarter of the year because they're holiday romances. I certainly didn't plan that well. But I really did want some holiday romances as they're fun to write and promote on specific times of the year.
Well, I've recently found out that my books will all be coming out round about the same time this year - two years after my debut novel came out and one year after my last novel came out. That means a whole year without a single new release. When I realised that, I was devastated. Since September last year, I've written seven books (including two novellas) but not a single one will reach the world until September this year. It's very hard to feel like you've disappeared into oblivion for a whole year. It's not good for your fans or regular readers.
The other thing that makes me really nervous is how will I keep up with the marketing of six books coming out in the space of three or four months? I don't know how it's going to work, but I have to just do it.
Some days, I wonder if I should go the self-publishing route. At least then I have control over the times when my books come out. I can have regular releases and not explosions followed by complete stillness. But I know I'm not ready. I need to work with editors more, I don't have the finances to hire a cover designer (although I could try a hand at it myself) and I like having the backing of a publisher to promote for me and just give me credibility until I've made a solid reputation in the writing world.
I have to say though that I'm amazingly excited for the last part of this year. Waiting so long for a book to come out, it almost feels like my debut novel is coming out. It's been so long. Am I ready to welcome six books into the world?
Oh, I've just remembered something. I also have a short story coming out in a fall anthology in October. That means more promo. And one thing did happen this year which just broke the pain a little bit - my short story in the Astraea Press Valentine anthology came out. Not quite the same as your own book but it did give me some joy. Was lovely to read all the other stories too. You can buy it here: Amazon
I think the biggest lesson I've learnt from this year is patience. I was spoilt in my first year of publishing - having five books out in one year. I don't think that's the norm. I think it happened because Astraea Press was pretty new then and their publishing schedule wasn't very crowded. I believe the same about my first Ubuntu novel - the line was new and I got in nice and quick. Things have changed. I've learnt self-control and discipline. I've learnt tenacity. I keep on writing even when I see no immediate fruit for all my hard work. I've learnt to put my health and my family first and not allow the writing to become my obsession. It's been hard but a valuable lesson.