This month, Amazon is celebrating indie authors published through Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace, and is encouraging us to share our stories and why we love being indie authors. Here’s (part of) mine.
I’ve always been a voracious reader. From a very early age, one of my favorite things to do was find a quiet spot and curl up with a good book. Sometimes, I’d make up my own stories, or write myself as a character into my favorite TV shows (Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Emergency, Star Trek, etc…) As an only child (and not a very popular one at that), both were a great way to escape into a world of my own choosing, where dreams became reality, if only for a little while.
When I was in middle school (around 5th grade, I think), some kids took my notebooks and read my stuff. Everyone knows how cruel kids can be, so suffice it to say the experience didn’t win me the kind of attention anyone wants. It was mortifying.
Fast forward about fifteen years. I’m older, out of college, working as a software engineer and married. I’d gained back some of the confidence I’d lost all those years ago and turned back to writing. It was like a drug to me. A beautiful, soothing, inspiring natural high. It was so good, in fact, that I knew it was what I really wanted to do.
Traditional publishing was the only option then. I sent out query letters to agents and contacted publishers. I knew it wouldn’t be easy. Aspiring authors were a dime a dozen, and making a living by writing wasn’t likely, but I tried.
Many authors will tell you how they kept pushing forward, ignoring the nay-sayers because they believed in themselves. I’m not one of them. I stuffed my rejected stories into manila envelopes along with my dreams of becoming an author and put them in the back of my bedroom closet.
For over twenty years.
Life went on. I had kids, built a house, did wife/mom/daughter/programmer stuff. And yet, whenever anyone asked, “If you could do anything, what would you do?”, my answer was always the same: “Be an author.”
So I started writing again, but in secret. I’d stay up late and get up early, hunched over my laptop in the dark. I’d jot down notes and ideas on scraps of paper and work out plots and characters in my head while doing mundane tasks. But I refused to share them with anyone. I loved my stories, but if someone read them and didn’t like them, it would take all of the joy out of it for me (again). And by this point, I needed writing in my life.
And then in the summer of 2014, my software company was sold (again). After 27 years as a programmer, I could no longer count on my job as a source of income, and I needed to have a Plan B. Of course I thought of writing. Things had changed. eBooks were a thing, and authors no longer needed agents and traditional publishing houses to get their stories out to interested readers.
If you read my books, you know I’m a big believer in fate and that things happen for a reason, so I took it as a sign. There would never be a better time, nor would I ever have a better opportunity to try.
I subscribed to a group who supported and helped indie author wannabes like myself, and on August 24th, 2014, my first book, Five Minute Man, was released. To say that it was a scary time would be an understatement. But the early results were encouraging enough to try again. And again. And again. With a hard drive filled with dozens of stories I’d written over the years, why not?
Now, as I’m preparing to release my 25th book, I feel like I am finally exactly where I should be. And to everyone who ever ridiculed me or rejected me along the way, I say, thank you. Because everything that happened – including the bad stuff – has brought me to this point.
Every day is still scary. Yesterday’s best seller is exactly that – yesterday’s, and what if no one likes what I put out tomorrow? There aren’t any guarantees, but that’s okay. There are no guarantees in life, not in any profession, and I am finally doing what I have dreamed of all my life.
This month, Amazon is celebrating self-published authors with their #PoweredByIndie campaign. I can’t tell you how proud and honored I am to say that five of my books made it into their “Powered by Indie: Celebrating Great Writing: Romance” category.
(If you’d like to check out some of the books included in the Powered by Indie celebration, you can go to the Amazon Powered By Indie Landing Page by clicking HERE.)
It may be called self-publishing, but I didn’t do it alone. None of this would be possible without your support. Thank you for reading my books. For posting reviews. For your kind words and encouragement on those days when I just know I’m am the worst writer ever and am ready to give up.
Living the dream,