When I wrote Did I Mention I won The Lottery, I published it straight onto Kindle. I didn’t submit it to a publisher or an agent because I had read so many stories of rejection, about how hard it was to find someone willing to read an unsolicited manuscript and the difficulties of finding anyone willing to take a chance on an unknown author. So I published via Kindle and felt very pleased with myself for having an eBook on Amazon. A few years later I published my second book and a few weeks ago I launched my third.
And for the longest time I have felt vaguely embarrassed at daring to call myself an author. It was almost as though I had cheated, I bypassed all the traditional methods of publishing by using the Kindle route. I would never voluntarily tell people I had written a book and if my husband announced that I was a ‘writer’ (which he frequently did) I would apologise and make sure everyone knew that my books were ‘just eBooks.’ After all I wasn’t a real writer, I didn’t have an agent, I didn’t have a contract and I didn’t have a publisher.
Shortly after my second book was released, Google Your Husband Back, something happened. I still don’t know how it came about, but suddenly I realised that people were buying my books. Not only were they buying them, but they liked them! I had long since stopped checking every night to see if I had sold a copy or received a review and after a few months of neglect, I checked my Kindle account and found to my astonishment that I had rocketing sales and fantastic reviews.
I was shocked. Delighted, but shocked. I had already started a third book but strangely the discovery that my previous two were a success made me terrified of releasing another. What if the first two were a fluke and my latest offering made everyone realise I wasn’t a real writer at all? What if I got the dreaded review, ‘Such a disappointment, this is the worst book she’s written’? Instead of being inspired to write more, I spent months unable to face the thought of exposing myself to failure and not writing a word. Eventually, I finished Did I Mention I Was Getting Married. Pressing the publish button was traumatic, far more so than previously because then I hadn’t imagined that readers in their thousands may choose my book.
The first review seemed to take forever to arrive but eventually it did – and it was a 5 star, followed by another and another and another. I started to breathe again and after a long hard think about life I had to accept that it was unlikely to be three coincidences, maybe I could actually write?
I still don’t have an agent or a publisher or a contract. But I do have a book that is currently # 1 in Contemporary Romance on Prime, #6 in Contemporary Romance in the Kindle store, # 12 in Contemporary Romance Books and #80 across the top 100 Kindle paid books whilst my latest book after only a month is already #69 in Contemporary Romance in the Kindle Store. So maybe I am a writer after all. I am self-published and in many people’s eyes that automatically makes me a lesser being than a traditionally published author. I am rubbish at self-promoting my books, shy about blowing my own trumpet, a novice at social media and need to learn how to recruit reviewers and followers. But my books are being read and enjoyed by thousands and that’s all that really matters.
So, no more wriggling with embarrassment and squirming under scrutiny. From now on, I am a writer, self-published and proud of it!