Wednesday, August 21, 2013

And the ride continues...

You know, when you have a dream or a goal, you build it up in your mind how it's going to be when you achieve it.  Part of what kept me working toward my goal of being an author is that I had envisioned how wonderful everything in my life would become.

Not really the case.

The reality?  It's been kind of anticlimactic.  Don't get me wrong, things have been exciting and honestly, it's like a roller coaster ride with amazing highs and terrifying drops and things speed up and happen faster than you thought possible and then it will slow down to a near stop.

I'm not a huge fan of the roller coaster.  

This has been my ride thus far:

November of 2011, I released/self-published my very first novel, "Jordan's Return".  It didn't do much sales-wise and I didn't do much marketing-wise but I was just happy to say that I had a book out there.  

November 2012, I released a little holiday novella called "The Christmas
Cottage".  It was a fluke.  I had planned on releasing it as a free read on Amazon to get my name out there until I released my next book.  A week after it was released, it was on the best-seller list on Amazon.  Now, here's the thing, I was so new to the game and so uneducated on the publishing industry as a whole, that I didn't pay attention to any lists other than Amazon because I honestly didn't think that anyone else paid attention to indie authors.  I can kick myself now because now I wonder if it had made it on to maybe the USA Today list or even the NY Times list because the sales were that high!

February 2013, I released the follow up to "The Christmas Cottage" with "Ever After".  I was still so uninformed with what the norm was for book sales that I just assumed that every book sold as well as the Cottage did and that was definitely NOT the case.  I was devastated by the numbers and although it did fine, it did not come close to the success that "The Christmas Cottage" had.
March 2013, I released "Catering to the CEO".  This book was a personal favorite of mine that I had written two years ago for NaNoWriMo and all I did was polish it up a bit and put it out there.  The sales on it were okay but again, certainly no competition for "the Christmas Cottage".  It's hard to say that I'm not disappointed because I am.  While I know not every book is going to be a bestseller, it's still a little disheartening when one book does so well and the next one doesn't.

May 2013, I released "Wait for Me" - book one in my first-ever trilogy, "The Montgomery Brothers."  I didn't do anything different with this book than I did with the others and yet it has been consistently on the Amazon bestseller list and hit #4 on Barnes and Noble!  Again, I could kick myself because I didn't think of the possibility of it hitting any other lists!

June 2013, I release "Trust in Me" - book two in the Montgomery Brothers set.  It didn't come close to the numbers that "Wait for Me" hit but it certainly held it's own out there on Amazon.  It wasn't a personal favorite of mine as a writer but overall the response to it was positive.

July 2013, I released "In the Eye of the Storm".  This book is KILLING me.  This was the book that was a top five finalist with an international contest through Harlequin (though they passed on publishing it), I had a New York literary agent sign me because of this book and then she couldn't sell it, I had a critique partner who just GUSHED over this book and yet commercially, no one wanted it!  So I got it back from the agent and released it myself.  It hasn't done exceptionally well; it didn't hit the levels of the first two books of the Montgomery Brothers series and barely eeked onto the bestseller list on Amazon.

July 2013, I also collaborated with four other authors on a contemporary romance box set called "Loving the CEO"; five books where our main characters are all CEO's.  This little set (which essentially is a collection of five books that have all been previously published as singe titles) has just taken off.  We have been on the USA Today bestseller list for three consecutive weeks and hit the New York Times bestseller list.  My book "Catering to the CEO" was my contribution and I cannot even begin to tell you how much I am looking forward to doing another set like this.  

August 2013, I released the final book in the Montgomery series, "Stay With Me" and in it's first week of release, I have hit the top 100 on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble .  I will be watching the USA Today and NY Times list more closely this time around because now I know that anything is possible!

I'm now in the middle of the book that I will release in September and working on the next box set that will be released in October.  I'm mentally and physically exhausted and much to my dismay, an Ed McMahon wannabe did NOT show up at my house the day that we found out about either the USA Today list or the NY Times list with a truckload of balloons or a slew of photographers.  The papparazzi are no where to be found.  I'm thinking that I'm all that and really, it's been like any other day.  

I've been nominated for THREE Indie Romance awards (but didn't win), I was interviewed by a local TV show (still don't know if it ever even aired!), had my book trailer for "Wait for Me" awarded an Oscar for best Indie Romance video book trailer,  and I've been able to essentially quit my day job and do what I love now as a career.
I'm sitting here now wondering if my appendix are about to burst, I have to go in to work tomorrow (I'm finishing up my office job - like the long goodbye) and life goes on.  In my fantasy version of my life when I hit these writing milestones, I whisk myself away on a vacation; I'm interviewed by the local paper and People magazine...and I'm about 25 pounds thinner.

The reality version is kind of boring...and not glamorous at all.

Bottom line is that it was silly to build it all up so much in my mind because while I'm not front page news, I am still proud that I have accomplished so much in such a short amount of time.  Why did I wait so long to start this???

Saturday, August 17, 2013

So how does a USA Today Bestselling Author celebrate?


I kid you not...I found out yesterday that the "Loving the CEO" box set hit the NY Times Bestseller List at #23!!  OH.  MY.  GOSH!!!  I was at work - my last day there - and came back from lunch and there was the email telling me that we made it.  I screamed, my co-workers screamed and then basically the rest of the day was a complete blur because really, who wants to work when you should be celebrating the culmination of a life-long dream???

So for now I am sort-of unemployed; I will be working 10 hours a week at the office until the end of the month and then I am a full-time author.  Never in a million years did I think that this was possible.  A year ago, I never would have thought that I would be sitting here today celebrating this success.  

To all of the fans who have purchased my books, I thank you.  You are the ONLY reason that I get to celebrate today.  You have brought me so much joy and I love interacting with all of you on Facebook on through the website!  I appreciate all of the reminders when there are mistakes in my books and all I can say is that I will strive to do better and have taken on a new proofreader.

And just because..

 Then in other news, sort of, the new book, "Stay With Me" is climbing up the Amazon charts!  It's been the best first week for one of my books ever!  This week has just been amazing.  Amazon had it up pretty fast and after some impatience on my part for it to be released on Amazon UK and Barnes and Noble, it's finally available on all three sites. Right now the rankings are:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

USA Today Best Seller!!!

So I'm sitting here tonight pondering life.  Unusual, right?  Not really, lately.  I've got a lot to ponder because there is still so much going on and it's such a time of transition that it seems like all I can do is ponder life!

The biggest news is that I am officially a USA Today Bestselling author!  That is
something to cross off of the bucket list for sure!  The box set that I did with four other amazing ladies, "Loving the CEO", hit the USA Today list last week at #77 and this week we moved up and are #56.  All in all, it's pretty darn exciting.  To celebrate last week I wore a tiara to work all day!  Every time my boss walked by my desk he said, "I can't believe you are wearing that all day".  Well, believe it, buddy, because I'm doing it again tomorrow!  

I released book three in my Montgomery Brothers trilogy, "Stay With Me" and it was my highest debuting book to date!  It released last night at 11:15 pm and by noon today it charted on Amazon at #1,932 and as of 10:00 pm this evening it is at # 892 in the overall Kindle Store!  That is just MIND BLOWING!!!

Then, because that's not cool enough, my author ranking on Amazon has blown up, too.   I am #35 out of all of the authors on Amazon.  I KID YOU NOT!  I am in the top 100 on five different sub-genre author rankings and I have to tell you, it's pretty cool when I see myself on a page with authors whose work I love and admire. 

Now for as exciting as all of this is, it's weird.  I can't quite put my finger on it but's not quite what I was expecting.  It's fun and exciting and yet the reality is that it seems to only be fun and me.  I don't know what I was expecting but the response from family and friends has been a little disappointing.  I'm not really an attention whore or someone who has to always be in the spotlight but I just was expecting, I don't know, a little more enthusiasm from people at what I have accomplished.

I'm being petty, right?

And I hate that!  I  don't want to BE petty but it would have been super cool if my husband would have gotten me flowers to congratulate me or if someone in the family called and was like "Oh my god!  Good for you!"  But it's been kind of quiet.  That's not to say that no one has been excited.  My co-workers at the office have been amazing.  They indulge my giddiness and I know that I am going to miss them all so much because over the last two years they have become family to me.  They have celebrated, laughed and cried with me and supported me in ways that I never expected.  It's going to be hard to not see them on a daily basis.  

I bought myself flowers.  I made myself a collage of all of my books - Frank suggested that I have it framed and so I did.  I love looking at it.  I'm treating myself to dinner out tomorrow night with a friend.  I may treat myself to a pedicure.  Is it wrong to be excited?  I mean, this is the culmination of a LIFE LONG dream!  I wrote my first short story when I was in the third grade and from that point on I knew that I wanted to be a writer!  Now, here I am and I keep looking around for people to jump up and down with me when I reach these milestones and for the most part the response has been kind of lackluster.

But it's okay...I am going to celebrate me and keep trying and reaching for new goals and milestones.  I made the USA Today Bestseller list with a group project and now my goal is to reach it with a single title.  I'm making a full-time career out of my writing; I'm taking control of my life and loving it.  

I want to encourage everyone to pursue your dreams!  You are never too old!  There is a commercial out there (and I can't remember what it's even for) but the tag line is "Not everyone hits their stride in their twenties" and to that I say a big AMEN!  Ashton Kutcher made an acceptance speech this week at the Teen Choice Awards and normally I am not a fan of his but so many people were posting the link to the speech that I decided to take a look.  Here are the highlights and I think it's something to really live by:

1. I believe that opportunity looks a lot like work.
2. I never had a job in my life that I was better than. I was always just lucky to have a job. Every job I had was a stepping stone to my next job and I never quit my job before I had my next job.
3. Steve Jobs said when you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way that it is, and that your life is to live your life inside the world and try not to get into too much trouble. But life can be a lot broader than that when you realize one simple thing, and that is that everything around us that we call life was made up by people that are no smarter than you. You can build your own life that other people can live in. So build a life. Don’t live one; build one.

I worked hard for this opportunity to be an author and all that I did before this helped me get to this point and I am building my life my way rather than by what anyone else tells me I should be doing.

What is your dream?  What is your passion?  Are you doing it?  Are you encouraging those that are?  Have you high-fived anyone lately because they are taking a chance and doing their best to live their dream? 

Look around - live, love, encourage...