I was just looking back at my post, 2015 Writing, Knights and Chasing Dreams. Back then I was getting ready for the launch of my debut novel — The Du Lac Chronicles. It seemed a lifetime ago, so much has happened in the past year.
2016 was when I stopped dreaming about becoming an author and actually became one. It was an incredibly daunting experience — putting myself out there and choosing to go it alone. Was I mad? What was I thinking? I can remember the doubts that swirled around my mind. What if no one buys my book? What if it sucks? What if? What if? What if?
I am sure that sounds familiar to many authors and would-be authors out there. I was full of doubt, but I had to know… I had to know if I could do this. So I pressed that button on the 28th February 2016, and I became a published author. This had been my goal for so long and now I had done it. It was then that I abruptly came to the realisation that this wasn't the end of the journey — far from it — this was only the beginning.
I wrote The Du Lac Chronicles so that it would be read. This book wasn't going to go anywhere if I didn't promote it. I came into this knowing very little, and with a very small budget, but I realised if I didn't get smart about this then my book was going to sink and that would never do — I had spent too many years writing it. So I had to get savvy, but that is no easy thing. There were times when I felt like I was banging my head against the wall — why was nothing working? But then I would have a moment of insight and very briefly I would fly. And then it was back to the drawing board again. I still don’t have a magic formula, but I have now drawn up quite a list of things that don’t work in the confusing world of book promotion! I will get there in the end, I am very positive about that. I know it is a very steep hill to climb, I get that, but I hear that the view is worth it once you get to the top and I am determined to see it.
The one thing that has blown me away this year is how other authors want to help. They are happy to offer you advice and mentor you for free. I wasn't expecting that. For the most part, other author's don't look at you as the competition, it is more like a club — we are in this together — type of atmosphere — Let’s help each other as much as we can.
I now find myself surrounded by author friends from all over the world, who I would never have met if it weren't for me publishing my book. They say an author's world is a lonely one. Have I got news for you...!
So here I was, steering a bus that I sort of had control of and I came to the conclusion that publishing a book was all well and good, but I wanted to be a bestseller in my genre,
"Just like that…" as the late comedian Tommy Cooper used to say.
Tommy Cooper - Just Like That
Not quite how it works in the publishing industry, I'm afraid. But you know what, I did it. The Du Lac Chronicles made it to the #1 spot in the United Kingdom, America, Canada, Australia, Germany, The Netherlands, and Italy. I took a moment to reflect. But, being me, my eyes were drawn to the top #100 in the Kindle Store spot. It is a dream for most authors to get there, I mean come on, there are over 6 million Kindle books on Amazon, who wouldn’t want to be in the top #100? I needed to come up with a plan and it took a long time to work it out, and even then I wasn’t sure it was going to work. But you know what? The Du Lac Chronicles made it into the top #100 in the free Kindle Store in America, Canada and The Netherlands. Even now, writing that down, I find it hard to believe — I really did sell that many books. Not too bad an achievement for a girl who didn't know anything about Amazon or marketing a book a year ago and who doesn’t have a large budget to throw into advertising.
But then something else happened that I wasn't expecting. I had readers messaging me on Facebook and Twitter telling how much my books reminded them of Game of Thrones and then the comparison was bring made in reviews left on Amazon and Goodreads and I was like....okay! I am still lost for words when I read reviews like that, which may come as a surprise to some!
To cap it off, The Du Lac Chronicles has started to win awards.
While all this was going on, I released an interim-novella ~ The Pitchfork Rebellion and then on 6th December I released the second book in The Du Lac Chronicles series ~ The Du Lac Devil. The Du Lac Devil received a 5* review from Readers' Favorite.
Likewise, this blog began to fly. When I wrote my first blog post back in 2015, I can remember thinking, what on earth am I going to write about? How am I going to come up with new posts ever week? 254 posts later, and 178,121 page views... I have discovered, to my delight, that I actually have an awful lot to say and I want to thank you for reading because a blog is only as good as its readers.
I have had some marvellous guests come onto this blog, and Wednesday's “Author's Inspiration” has been a huge hit. I don't know about you, but my reading list has gone through the roof because of it. There are so many great books out there — I want to read them all!!
So what next?
I am going to keep chasing that dream and learn everything I can about the publishing industry. I have started Book 3 in The Du Lac Chronicles. Yay! Unfortunately, one of my characters is giving me a little bit of a problem, it seems he wants in on the action, and I am having a tough time saying “No” to him. If you are a reader of my books, then I am sure you can guess who I am talking about! I really should stop fighting him for creative control. It is a losing battle — I know he will win in the end! But you see, if he muscles his way in, then that is okay. That is why I love being an Indie author — I have the freedom to write about what I want and say it the way I want to.
All that is left for me to say is a great big thank you to those who have supported me this past year by buying my books, and reading this blog. You are incredible. I really, really, appreciate it. I hope you have a peaceful New Year, and please don't forget to pop back in 2017 and say "Hello" every now and then. Just remember to bring that cup of coffee with you! Stay cool! xxx