Saturday, April 23, 2016

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! My 5th Year as a Published Author, Lessons Learned, Bruises Earned by @KarynGerrard #opinion

I was going to let this anniversary pass with little fanfare, but I thought, the fact I got this far deserves a nod of acknowledgement.

My first contract offer from a publisher was March 2011, book published May 2011. In the following five years, I have evolved a lot. You see, I am not a 'trained' writer. I didn't go to university, did not take creative writing classes, so to say my early manuscripts were a mess is an understatement. I want to thank Evernight Publishing and Decadent Publishing—to call out a couple—for seeing beyond the grammar nightmare to the storytelling beneath.

I learned with each edit, good and bad, and I got both over the years. It gave me the confidence to write longer stories with more intricate plotting and characterization. To submit to bigger publishers. Okay, not everything worked out. Ellora's Cave turned out to be a hot mess instead of a stepping stone to bigger things. Thankfully, I only have the one book with them and will be able to get back the rights soon. (bruises earned)

It was then I decided to leave erotic romance behind and try something more mainstream. What came out of the EC debacle is I had originally sent a second manuscript to EC and smartly turned the contract down as things unfolded in the hot mess department. I then sent it to Kensington Publishing's digital line. Why not, worth a shot. I mean, people better trained and with more experience than I were rejected, I had no expectations. (lesson learned, always go for it)

Well, damn. It was accepted. And they wanted to know what else I had. I wound up with four contracts from a publisher based in New York. With offices and everything! This I didn't expect. I waayyy out performed my expectations.

At now standing here at this point, with an unsure writing future ahead of me, it was time to 'take stock' and accept some truths.

I can't see me doing this for much longer, in fact, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. E-book sales are soft across the board. My best year was 2013. Each year has declined more. I am so glad I don't depend on these royalties for anything. Like food or utility bills.
Because I don't 'need' the money, I can write at my own pace, write for myself and not the market, and I do realize that's probably one of the reasons (my) sales have declined. I accept that, it was my decision. We all have our own paths, one is not better than the other.

Personally, I do this for me. And to indulge myself, I am going to focus on self-publishing for a time. If I attempt any new writing, I will be pivoting back to contemporaries.

Reflecting back, there were many different paths I could have taken the past five years. More successful paths. But I didn't, and I'm cool with it. Could I have done things better? Made smarter, more calculated decisions? Sure. But as things stand, I am just amazed after five years I am still doing this. I love writing. The other stuff like promo, publishers, edits, etc? Not so much.

But the love of writing is still there, pulsing inside me. So I will bang away on my keyboard when the mood strikes me, try not to let the back chatter, social media, sales, reviews, promo etc to overwhelm me.

After five years, I learned valuable lessons and earned bruises along the way. I am finally comfortable in my writing skin. Happy anniversary.

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