The One-Year Mark

It was a year ago today I wrote a blog post about validation. I wrote it because I had sold the first copy of one of my books.

Some lovely person took a chance on a completely unknown self-published author and purchased this book. If I ever have the opportunity to meet that person, I will hug them warmly and pour buckets of gratitude upon them.

When I decided to take the road of self-publishing I had no idea what that decision would truly mean. After more than 60 rejection letters from agents that left me with a very slim hope that I would ever find one or that my book, Heart of Clay, would ever be published, I decided to see if there were other options out there.

I did research. I picked the brains of other writers. I talked over the options with Captain Cavedweller.

Then I decided to plunge ahead. What did I have to lose?

For me, self-publishing digitally was a relatively free endeavor with the hope that someone, somewhere, sometime would want to read what I had written.

The research I found encouraged writers to build their bookshelf wide and deep. That means unless you are one of the rare and few marvels who write one book that takes off like wildfire, you are going to have to write many books and if those books are tied together, all the better. Many books give you width. Series give you depth.

Since Heart of Clay was written and ready to roll out, I decided to create a series set in the fictional town of Tenacity and call the it The Women of Tenacity. I sat down and wrote Country Boy Vs. City Girl and Not His Type, giving me three books in the series. A few weeks before I was ready to go from wishing I was a published author to actually becoming one, I decided to write a very brief short story that would introduce the characters in the series. I titled it A Prelude and went about the process of getting it listed for free. My thought process was that if people read it and liked it, they would go on to buy the series. To  a certain degree, that little marketing ploy has worked pretty well. So has having a series of books to sell rather than just one.

A year ago when I held my breath, said a prayer and uploaded my books to Kindle, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords for sale, I didn’t publish just one book. I published a series with a short story.

Much of the information I researched indicated some some authors never sell a single copy of their book.That was devastating news.

As I sat waiting for the reports to show that first purchase of one of my books, I was in agony. Would I fall among those sad and tragic statistics? Would anyone want to read my ramblings? Would I have to give up this dream that has haunted me since childhood?

Then I sold the first copy, then another and another. Far from burning up any best seller list, I do, however, feel like a real honest-to-goodness writer now. Thousands of my “ramblings” have been downloaded in the last year and it is a gratifying and humbling thought that there are people out there who actually like what I’ve written. Who will come back for more. Who will share their enthusiasm for my stories with their friends.

The first year of this adventure into writing and publishing has been an emotional, exciting, frightening, thrilling ride that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.

My heartfelt thanks to all of you who have downloaded my books, purchased paperback copies, who have offered support and encouragement, posted reviews and challenged me to do better with every novel I write.

Thank you.

Here’s to another year of writing, growing, learning and fun.

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