After I obtained my very first publishing contract with Clean Reads (then called Astraea Press), the wind flowed beneath my wings! I took off. The writing just flowed; ideas came to me constantly; the contracts didn't stop. I would write a new book every three or four months, send them off to Astraea Press, and obtain a contract a few months later. They'd be out within 6 months from that. Then I took part in the Ubuntu line (African-style romances) of Decadent Publishing and wrote more books set in my own country. I ended up writing and publishing 4 books for the Ubuntu Line.
It was such fun.
But after a while, it became harder to write. The words didn't flow as easily. I think deep inside I knew they were no longer as much from the heart, that they were forced. But writing was my dream, I loved doing it, and I wanted to make a name for myself as an author. Bringing books out regularly was the way to do it, or so I thought. I tried to self-publish, hoping my sales would pick up then. It wasn't my most successful venture, even though I tried to promote my books and sent them to review sites.
I even wrote some erotic romance books under a pseudonym. I thought erotic romance sold, but I really struggled to write it. I felt naughty writing it - as though I was rebelling against the very strict religious days of my youth, but that wasn't a good reason to write a genre. I also wrote it to please my ex - an even worse reason! Now, in hindsight, I know that sweet romance is the genre that works for me, that flows naturally for me. The erotic books never sold as well as my clean romances. What's worse is that I feel so dreadful as I have been unable to maintain two personas and my erotic-romance persona social media account and marketing is totally non-existent. I know I've messed my publisher around terribly in that regard.
Then the divorce happened and my romance writing almost totally died. I thought it may be the end of it. I still wonder as I've struggled so much. I have to say I'm sorry to both publishers - Clean Reads and Decadent Publishing for letting them down once my divorce happened as my marketing efforts blew up in smoke.
I have managed to write Cat Therapy the last year. It's been great fun. And I'm quite pleased now that I only have one book to focus on for marketing. I realise, in hindsight, that publishing so many books in such a short space of time wasn't the best idea. For these reasons:
1. You have less time to do revisions, go back to your book and edit it when you've stepped away from it after several months. There's nothing worse than being too close to your book - a phenomena we all face just after writing it.
2. You have less money for marketing. And time!! Yes, time. Marketing is a big thing and takes a lot of strategy, time, and dedication. (I'm also pleased that now I don't have to beg my ex for money for marketing, which he always hated giving me. Now I am king of my own finances and can choose to spend on marketing when I wish without grovelling. I always hated the grovelling!)
3. You tend to become numb to the feeling of satisfaction at a job well done. When the books are just flowing out, one after the other, you don't have time to stop and smell the beautiful scent of that masterpiece you've brought out into the world.
4. You get too bogged down with all the admin and marketing that comes with your writing, that you have less time for hobbies and other interests.
But in the end, I take my hat off to those authors who can pull off regular releases and make a success of them. They are true entrepreneurs who have made an art and a business out of their craft! Well done to you. I just don't think that's my thing anymore, and that's all right.