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It's been... a year...
I think I can speak for all of us when I say that 2020 has been a dumpster fire. I keep wishing for it to be over, but frankly, I'm worried about 2021 walking in like, "Oh, you thought that was bad? Hold my beer."
I hope this email finds you healthy and happy, or at least not completely consumed by the weight of the world.
Assuming you signed up for my newsletter because you're interested in my writing and not my worldview, I will keep this update focused on what's been going on with me. More specifically, what's been going on with my books and my writing. Although, you probably know by now that my views are easily obtained on any of my social media platforms, because I am not one to keep my opinions to myself.
But I digress...
As many of you know, after having had it up to HERE with self-publishing, I made a very difficult decision back in June to take all of my YA titles down. At the time, I was beyond frustrated, completely worn out, and disappointed doesn't even begin to cover it. In all honesty,. I was hurting. I felt like a failure, and after ten years of trying and failing, I just couldn't figure out what else to do. I just wanted to walk away from it all and call it a wash. I can't tell you how many times I've daydreamed about leaving the publishing world altogether, just deleting all my social accounts and disappearing into the ether. *Poof* But that's not realistic, and it certainly wouldn't bring me happiness in the long run as I am, first and foremost, a creative person, a writer, an artist. Walking away from this passion because it's not panning out how I hoped would only be biting my nose off to spite my face.
On one hand, I know I should be quite proud of my accomplishments. And I am, so please don't get me wrong. Eleven books written in under a decade is not a small feat. I know that. I do. But... at some point, I also want to earn an income off of my hard work, and my goal with self-publishing was to do just that. So, nearly ten years into this journey, not making an income feels like a slap in the face. I know many people are content with writing because they're passionate about it and not trying to monetize, but is it too much to want to contribute to my family's income? I don't think so. But I wasn't contributing. In fact, self-publishing often costs me more than it brings in, so you can imagine my frustration after doing this for nearly a decade and feeling like I have nothing to show for it. Passion only takes you so far, you know?
Which is what brought me to pull my YA books in June.
If you're not aware, I also write adult romance under a pen name, which is important to this story because I have four self-published YA novels and four self-published adult romance novels, bringing my total to eight books for sale. (You'd assume I'd have *some* income off eight books, but you'd be wrong. I made $2.04 in May, and that was a big month, and that's not counting any fees I may have incurred. Hahaha, punch me.) Anyway, after I pulled my YA books, I gave myself until the end of this year to keep my adult titles live and turn things around for my career and *essentially* my income. I had my first novella set to release in July, so I just wanted to see if that would do anything for my sales.
And, just like that, it was as if the universe saw that I wanted to give things one last push and dropped a free marketing course in my lap. (In truth, my longtime friend Ayden K. Morgen shared the course and I happened to see it pop up on my news feed.) And then another course popped up. And then an advertising webinar. And then it snowballed, and I am now part of two Facebook groups I had never even heard of before, groups that are filled with people who are actually making money off self-publishing, who know how to market and advertise, where to list their books, how to basically DO this whole self-publishing thing. I'm exposed to more resources through these groups, more courses, more webinars, more tips and tricks. For the first time in these ten or so years since I began really writing, I feel fully supported. Am I overwhelmed? Yes. There is SO much to learn, SO much I didn't know, and SO far to go. But, with each little baby step, I am making changes, and I know I can do this.
I am learning how to market and advertise my books, how to successfully go wide with my books ( which means selling them on every possible platform), and how to get readers to come back for more. Things that may seem simple to some but were completely foreign to me are now becoming part of my business plan. Frankly, just having a business plan is new and uncharted territory for me.
After I took that initial advertising course, and in the spirit of someone who desperately wants to be the type of person who addresses problems head on instead of running from them, I quietly submitted my YA books back onto all platforms and started to advertise them. I began learning how to get more clicks and hopefully someday turn those clicks into lifelong readers--the ultimate goal. So, if you were following along, and you saw me pull my books in a moment of complete despair and frustration, I am happy to tell you that my books are all back up for sale, and I am giving this one last final push. I am hopeful that I can do this. God knows I've been trying for a long, long time, but now, after having taken the courses and watched the webinars, and put the blood, sweat, and tears into not just the writing, editing, and polishing but also the marketing aspect of self-publishing, at least now I'll know I truly did give it my all.
In short, I am just so so grateful for the people who have helped me along over these last few weeks, grateful for the knowledge I've gained and the things still left to learn, and hopeful--finally hopeful--for the future of my self-publishing career.
Related: If you haven't yet noticed, DIVIDE got a makeover! In hopes of fitting with the genre aesthetics, I did a little research and updated the cover to be more reminiscent of the rose theme in Beauty and the Beast, and I'm hoping that makes for a more eye-catching cover. So, ta-da!
(Have you read DIVIDE yet? If not, CLICK HERE to grab a copy)
Currently on submission...
In case you didn't know, I am currently four months into being on submission with my favorite novel to date: CRUSHED. This is a story that has spent quite a few years in revisions as I worked with my agent to truly create a book that I could be proud of. CRUSHED is a F/F YA contemporary romance that I would pitch as a mash-up of Grease and Mean Girls--an idea that came to me in the shower (the best place for random creative bursts, apparently).
After feedback from my agent. I started revising CRUSHED in 2017, and after many adjustments, we went on submission in April of this year. Being on submission is HARD, friends. I am quite full of self-doubt as it is, but as each day passes and I don't get "the news" I'm hoping for, I fall deeper inside my own rabbit hole of doom and gloom. But, I believe in this book. My girls are strong, and their love story is even stronger. I can't wait to share them with all of you.
When seventeen-year-old Renata Carpenter hijacked her stepdad’s classic car, she hadn’t planned on totaling it and landing her best friend in a cast from hip to heel. She definitely hadn’t planned on being sent to a work program in New Orleans as punishment. And she certainly hadn’t planned on falling in love. But Ren’s summer of forced manual labor has a bright side: her name is Brit, and she’s everything Ren never knew she needed.
First love becomes first heartbreak when their summer romance comes to a crashing close earlier than anticipated. Adding insult to injury, Ren’s break-up with Brit is followed by a big move to a small town.
As if starting senior year completely alone isn’t bad enough, Ren soon discovers that the Hell on Heels mean girl who rules Sun Ridge Prep with an iron fist and a vicious tongue is none other than her first love. Too bad this Brit far from lovable.
But Ren knows the girl beneath the façade, and she refuses to give up on rekindling their relationship. Secretly, the girls pick up where they left off, falling deeper in love and risking it all to be together, but when their affair is exposed by Brit’s boyfriend, Ren and Brit are faced with the ultimate choice: love or acceptance.
Because they certainly can’t have both.
So, there you have it! My favorite book, and the one that will hopefully see my traditional publishing dreams come to fruition. Fingers crossed!
EVER is FREE on ALL platforms!
Yes! You read that correctly! Your eyes are NOT deceiving you! EVER, the first book in the Ever Trilogy, is not only now live on all platforms, but it's also FREE on all platforms! Be sure to CLICK HERE to download your copy today... and tell all of your friends!
And, as always, if you read a book, please review it. Authors need your reviews.