Updated: Jan 22, 2020
The big day is here... Heart Thief, my first novel, will be released on Amazon at midnight tonight! Heart Thief is a very special book to me. It was the first novel I ever finished (despite starting dozens throughout my thirty-three years), and it is the first thing I have ever published. Today I'll be taking a pause from my usual author tips and book reviews to reflect on the ups and downs of writing and marketing my very first book.
The Easy Part
I never would have believed that writing the book would be the easy part when I started this madness. Everything centered around actually completing a story for once. I am the type of person who becomes overwhelmed with ideas and dives into them headfirst, but I have real trouble holding fast 'til completion.
I have written dozens of novel-length fanfics over the years in a variety of genres including Glee, Supernatural, Highlander: the Series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Harry Potter. Ten thousand words a day would fly from my fingers when I could post chapter-by-chapter, gaining hundreds of reviews with each post to encourage my progress. But writing on my own... that took a whole new level of dedication. For the first time, I had to set a word count and force myself to stick to it. It wasn't easy (though it turned out to be the easy part!), but somehow, I succeeded.
The Embarrassing Part
My book releases tomorrow, but it isn't technically the first release. I completed the novel at the start of 2019, and I released it right away without editing or even a second draft! I then zapped out two more novels within two months, which I posted as well. Can anyone smell some stinky Mistake in the air?
My books actually didn't do as horribly as they should have. I made a little bit of money and I received no bad reviews, but I didn't get any good ones, either. I only left them up about a month before doing a re-read and realizing how terrible they were! EMBARRASSMENT OVERLOAD!
Like many first-time authors, I'd been so proud that I'd even written a book and so eager to get it out there, that I didn't look beyond the first draft. I ripped those things down real fast, though, wiping them away as much as I could as I set out to revamp them into something I could be proud of. At this point? You can hardly call them the same books, which tells you how important things like developmental editing are. I am now proud to call Heart Thief mine, and I look forward to flaunting it everywhere... Which takes me to the hard part.
The Hard Part
Baby, I didn't major in marketing for a reason. I'm an introvert, man, and I like my solitary confinement with the imaginary friends in my head just fine, thank you very much! Unfortunately, being an author is so much more than writing a book.
Since I don't yet have money to hire someone to market me, I've been handling it all myself. I had ZERO clue what to do at all until a book blogger stepped in and took me under her wing, explaining the "romance book community" to me and helping me sort through what I needed to do in order to even dip my toe in the water.
Even with her help, I am still mostly clueless and taking things a step at a time. Website, got one! Social media? Setup! Networking? Doing my best! It's a long process, but I have faith that I will figure it out and get my stuff out there for others to enjoy--my ultimate goal as an author!
I have no idea what the future holds, but I look forward to seeing how things have changed a year from now. What will I have accomplished? What will I know that I don't know now? Will I be as clueless as ever or will the blindfold have dropped off? I don't know, but I guess I'll find out!