Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Celebrating 25 books in 24 months

June 2017 marks two years since I began self publishing the accumulation of novels and stories in my house. It all began with a free two copies of my 2014 NaNo novel Medea that I finally got off my butt and self published through the winner's goody offered by CreaeSpace that year. The offer was extended and I decided to just go ahead and get my two free copies and be done with it.

I was disappointed with how the two books looked- not with CreateSpace, but with myself, because I really didn't know anything about self publishing at that point. Kelly, my computer and techno savvy then 23 year old daughter began instructing me on how to put together a better book- and I went on less than a month later to re-do the book, giving it a more professional appearance. occurred to me that a print book was smaller and easier to shelve than a binder, which my dining room and a tall cabinet in the den were crammed full of, not to mention three log drawers in file cabinets in the den...stories were literally taking over the house!

I began putting together story collections (Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales, The Sweet Hearts Collections, and Christmas stories), and then focusing on the novels that I was suddenly churning out, having discovered that I could write full length novels in 2011.

I basically have self published a book a month, plus one. And there are currently 3 more novels about to come out, two already in the final proof stage, the third in the revision, almost ready for first proof copy stage.

Some days it's overwhelming to look at all the stories and the in=process novels still littering the dining room, but I can see gaps in the rows of binders in stacked milk crates, and have condensed the number of binders in file boxes stacked behind the dining room table. I think I'm making progress...but some days it's discouraging to see how much there is left to sort through, organize and do something with.

I have. more or less, been writing my entire life, but the majority of material that I have to sift through has accumulated since the 1990's. Earlier stories will probably just sit in the file cabinets quietly suffering abandonment until someone at some future time rediscovers them.

I feel that I have begun to accomplish some goals in my life- that once all this has already written material has been tackled and dealt with that I will be able to move on and publish one or two novels a year. It doesn't help that I am still writing. I write a NaNo Novel every year (since 2012), and occasionally a couple other novels during the year that make it into print, plus annual Christmas stories, Halloween stories, and now a dozen or so ghost stories for a recurring event at the local indie book shop I am involved in. I'm still writing while still trying to catch up and deal with everything I've already written.

At the two year mark in my journey of self publishing- I look at all the novels and collections I've created on my own in that time. I reflect back on all the work I've put into designing the books, and recently redesigning the majority of them to make them look and read even better. I do everything myself (well, okay, Kelly shares the proofreading and assist with adding headers and footers and the page numbers because I haven't mastered that yet, have maybe done it on my own one time out of 25) from write the books to designing them inside and out, publishing them and sort of marketing them and promoting them. I work full time so this is my other full time job. I haven't made much money with this one, but writing has always been my hobby, not something I ever expected to make any money on. I write to entertain myself, my family and friends. That I can entertain other readers is kind of a scary thing because you're basically throwing your heart and soul out there in front of total strangers- some chew you up and spit you out but I've learned to let that go because everyone is different and not everyone has something nice to say. I have been fortunate in receiving mostly good reviews of my work. I have also been incredibly astounded to have had a novel shortlisted in a major award contest recently. (And that was before the novel had undergone its final revision and all corrections had been made!)

In two years I have gone from obscure hobby writer to recognizable author (in my home town and surrounding towns). I occasionally get a fan letter or email. They usually make me cry. I'm just like that when someone takes the time to contact me and let me know they enjoyed what I've written.

I'm doing things I never thought I'd be doing. I'm a fairly private person...rather reclusive when not at my day job, staying in my house and writing. But now I attend local author events, participate in a recurring reading event, and have even begun laying down the groundwork of a different kind of author/writer group.

In 2011 I wrote my first novel. In 2012 I wrote my first NaNoWriMo novel. In 2013 I wrote the novel Kelly had been waiting for since 2003 as my NaNo novel. In 2014 I wrote Medea as my NaNo novel, expanding a short story I'd written for Kelly when she was in elementary school, and growing it up to young adult/new adult level for her. This was the first novel I self published under the pen name Victoria Bell, which I do not use anymore. But Medea was the novel that got me into self publishing all because of the free goody awarded to winners that year donated by CreateSpace- 2 free copies of my NaNo novel.

I've advanced as a writer/author and developed some self confidence in my own ability to tell a story. I have always been riddled with self doubt holes like Swiss cheese.

Two years- 25 self published books (plus one young reader book)- I'm pretty satisfied with what I've accomplished so far- and proud of myself from taking that first step forward out of total obscurity.

Other than all this, I really don't have much else to say about myself except I give 100% in my every day job as a medical secretary(where my work is helping patients obtain medications, durable medical equipment and home services, etc.)  and do the same when I come home in the evening and sit down to write after dinner nearly every night.

I'm not sure what lies ahead as I begin year three as a self published author...we'll just have to wait and see!

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