In the last month a very cool thing has happened for me as an author and I am trying to figure out how it happened. I am hoping my readers will respond to this post either by posting a response here or sending me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will be entered to win a Kindle. I will announce the winner on my site on July 21st.
The questions I am looking to be answered are: 1. What causes you to buy a book--cover, description, etc? 2. What is your favorite genre? 3. Are you inclined to read a series over a stand alone? and 4. What do you think is most important--plot or characters? Also, please tell me a bit about yourself and reading habits if you would like. I am a curious author. :) Here is my story;
It is an open account of my journey as a writer.
I am posting this in hopes that if anyone is ever feeling down about their work, or life in general, that maybe my story will inspire them.
I started out being published in 2005 with the Penguin Publishing group. They put nine of my mysteries out. All of the books have had multiple printings. I took a second mortgage on my home (stupidly) and put all of it into marketing my books. You can imagine how that worked out for my family and me. I sold our home of eleven years a few months ago and moved into a new home, which has actually turned out better for us in many ways. I sponsored contests that included a B&B spa weekend in Napa Valley. I signed books at umpteenth book stores where at the most I think I signed two dozen books. I hired a publicist. I did everything that I thought was right in getting books out there. I was on 4-6 month deadlines, churning out books at a rapid clip that combined with all of the marketing and raising three children nearly sent me over the edge. There were a lot of personal painful issues as well during the past few years, along with really trying to succeed as an author. I lost my ex-husband who was still a friend and parent to our sons to suicide (if anyone is ever facing suicide with a family member, I wrote an article for the NY Times that may help http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/...suicide/),I lost my best friend to cancer, and am now the primary caregiver for my dad who has Parkinsons. I nearly gave up my writing all together when Penguin decided to not publish the 10th book. I really had reached a rock bottom place and found myself pretty depressed. I kept that hidden from everyone because people know me as "the happy nice girl," but being a successful writer had always been my dream since I was nine-years-old, and I felt that I not only had failed at that (even though books sold), but that I had also jeopardized my family's financial stability based on this dream. I went back to a day job with my family's business in hopes of paying back the debt I had accrued by risking everything on my writing career. Then, I found Joe Konrath's blog (jakonrath.blogspot.com). I also read what others were saying about e-publishing. I followed their advice. I had already gotten back rights on 3 of my mysteries. I also had three books I had written from the past that had never been published, but they are thrillers, so I chose a pen name from my kids' names never realizing at first the symbolism in the name: A.K. Alexander. I took those 3 books and had them edited and had good covers done. I took the three mysteries and had new covers done and looked at reviews on the books from when Penguin put them out, making tweaks where the past reviews said there was a flaw in the book. I put them on Kindle and nothing much happened. I sold maybe a half a dozen for a few months, then a little more, and finally a couple hundred on average a month.
Then something happened this past month and I can't completely quantify it. I wish that I could. My thriller "Daddy's Home" started climbing the U.K. charts It climbed steadily each day and hit #1 thriller, #1 romantic suspense, #1 psychological drama, and finally # 1 in paid Kindle sales! The book remained on the top 10 Kindle Paid sales for a couple of weeks, and has stayed steady in the top 50. My other thriller "Mommy, May I?" is now in the top 10 along with "Daddy's Home." My third book is just beginning to catch on ("The Cartel," along with my Michaela Bancroft series. The Cartel is my favorite book of all of the books that I have ever written, so my fingers crossed it takes off like the other two.
I am currently finishing the next thriller and have outlined three more. I am also writing a new mystery. I feel good again. I see a light at the end of the tunnel. I remembered how good it feels to write a book and discover readers enjoy it.
I guess my point is, keep at it, even when it seems like everything is a bit dark. Just keep writing. As writers, it's what we do best and it's what makes us happy. Do it because you love it and you want readers to find joy in it. It only took me twenty years and 14 books to get to this point. Who knew it would be due to e-books? I certainly didn't.
For links (free chapters, etc) to all my books, please visit my site http://www.michelescott.com
I hope you will take some time and let me know what works for you as a reader. It will not only help me as a writer, but I hope others as well. You never know, you may win a Kindle just by answering a few questions.