On 26th June 2011, I pressed "publish" on my very first book. I didn't tell a single soul what I was doing, mainly because I didn't have a clue what I was doing, or what to expect.
I sold 5 copies in the first day and my joy was unlimited.
Since then, I have released 7 other books of varying subjects and varying lengths. I started a blog. I joined goodreads. I got reviews; some good, some crushing. I joined this forum and I listened to what other people were telling me when they offered advice. I dispensed advice of my own.
I bumbled along making pocket money for months. My books were selling and were generally well-received, but I wasn't exactly setting the publishing world alight. My boss had nothing to worry about.
As I released more books, sales started to gain a bit of momentum. A short story collection released in Nov hit #1 in genre on Amazon and iTunes. Cue giddy screenprints.
I got a twitter following and even (gasp!) some facebook fans. I got interviewed on some popular blogs. I got reviewed on some popular blogs. I found a team of indespensible beta-readers. I got fanmail. [i]Seriously[/i]. Some of it was a little bit TMI, but it was fanmail nontheless.
I got returns, I offered free books, I took part in collaborative efforts with other authors. I beta-read for several. I am thanked in the credits of a number of books where I've helped with editing and period detail.
I've negotiated rights for cover images, I've worked with designers and artists, I've registered copyrights, I've dealt with the IRS (scary), I've been pirated (boo hiss) and I've had pirate copies taken down (woop!).
I got a pair of pet noids and however many times I forget to feed them, they just won't run away.
To say it's been a steep learning curve is an understatement!!
I've met some wonderful people, I've fumed about pissy reviewers and I've had the occasional diva tantrum.
This month I've sold over 1000 copies of a single book on .com alone. I've earned more with that one book than I have at the day job. My boss is quaking in his boots. It [i]is[/i] possible.
But I wouldn't have managed half of it without the invaluable advice and encouragement I've recieved from so many people on this forum. Too many to name, but you know who you are.
One year on, looking back it's been crazy-crazy, but I wouldn't change it for a second. Peeps, we're living the dream. We're [i]authors[/i]. Yes it's stressful and it's confusing and it's scary, but it's wildly exciting too. Sometimes we all get hung up on the negatives - it's easy to be pessimistic. Today is officially a happy day. Be cheerful - I am!
Now back to my WIP...that damn book just won't seem to write itself, no matter how long I leave it. Ladies and gentlemen, the #1 lesson I have learnt: books are not bacteria, they will not self-cultivate!
Congratulations on your success. You have done a lot of hard work and it has obviously paid off. We are living in a Renaissance for writers. We are all dancing in the streets, sleeping on roof-tops, perhaps drinking too much ale at times, but we have finally...been un-leased. You are an inspiration to your own. (-: