As a recently divorced mother of three daughters, I found I had no true desire to date or put myself out there. In short, I didn’t believe in love anymore. I believe I married in the first place because I was in love with the idea of love, not because he was my happily ever after. I simply was too naïve to question if we would suit. We had great moments and learned to love each other but our happily ever after came when we divorced 15 years later as we parted ways after working extremely hard to make it work.
But as the world of JAFF opened up to me, I realized there was a great deal in store for me in this world of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. Basically, I had been starved for romance and suddenly there were hundreds of books available, online communities, and endless possibilities available to me to see magic come alive on the page. I read just about everything I could get my hands on. Some days it was 2 books a day. Around the time that I had read 50 variations of the same story, I realized that the characters had taken on an entirely different role for me. They were no longer fictional characters. They were alive; even having conversations with me. I knew them so well I found myself saying “Elizabeth would say this” or “Darcy would do this”.
Mr. Darcy’s Promise was written in less than 2 months. What a glorious feeling to finish a project like that. I thought I was done with writing. Then a great plot came for Pride and Persistence and I knew that I’d write another. Again, I thought I was done. Then I heard a metaphor about a blacksmith and the purification process of silver and suddenly I was writing again. To Refine Like Silver will be published in November. By this time I had published Mr. Darcy’s Promise and had gotten some good advice from a fellow author. She said that a great author can work a scene from a single character’s perspective instead of jumping heads and telling the reader what each character is thinking. (Thanks for the advice Kara!) Basically she told me to “show” them what to think, not “tell” them. So I felt challenged. Could I write another, this time limiting myself to this better form of writing style? I knew I wanted to try. So Hope For Mr. Darcy was born. I was only 1/3 the way through writing when I realized I had more plot than the pages of one book would allow and so book 5 was planned. I took about a month off when I finished Hope for Mr. Darcy and then wrote Hope for Fitzwilliam and finished it, ironically, 2 years exactly from when I first attempted to write the first novel.
Along the way, I attempted to get traditionally published but also took a class called, “How to self-publish your book” which was the best investment I could have made. (By the way, if any of you are interested, the teacher, Stacy Damalski, is having another class in Park City, Utah on June 21 and I have her contact information if any of you are interested.)
So why the story? Because they say that improvement and growth cannot be estimated unless it is measurable. So I thought I would throw some statistics out at you.
· I wrote 5 books in 2 years with the longest break from writing being about 2½ months.
· My website, www.heyladypublications.com has had 40,000 hits in 18 months
· I have hit top 100 Regency romance on Amazon.com in the first few days of publication of both my books and got as low as ranked #10 in top selling Regency romances
· My best overall Amazon sales rank was in the high 700’s
· I have a wide stretch of opinions on my books, some 5 stars and some 1 stars but on average my books are 4 stars with over 50 ratings on each book, with the majority being 5 stars (Thank you for all those kind reviews!)
· I have written about 560,000 words in those 2 years
· I average 2-3 blogs per month, meaning I’ve written over 50 blog posts in 19 months
· I had to retire my laptop because I had abused it so wretchedly
But really, what is in a number? I do not need numbers to see the growth that occurred over the last 26 months of writing. It is inspiring to see the power that they hold, but it is what they represent that matters. The truth is, I LOVE to write! If I only sold 10 books, and a single person thought it was entertaining or helped them, then it all would have been worth it.
I write for fun, but find it balances the crazies in my life and makes them manageable. Writing and self-publishing your work can feel like a full-time job, however, I have never been paid so well – and I am not talking about royalties from Amazon. The rewards of doing what I love are infinite. After all, they really are just numbers.
What magic pill for your soul is in your medicine cabinet? As a nurse, I’m telling you, take your medicine. Trust me, the side effects from taking your magic pill are worth it. You can take it scheduled or PRN, either way, you will thank me after you do.
Hey Lady Publications