This time last year I was in shock. I had just hit the publish button on Promise Me Darkness and people were BUYING it! Buying my book!!! Crazy! I remember telling my husband that if only fifty people read my book, I would be happy. You see, I had never let anyone read anything I wrote. I was too terrified of being ridiculed. Yes, I had written my whole life. I still have notebooks full of stories that I wrote as a little girl and teenager. (My mom just found an elementary school workbook where I wrote a whole conversation between two characters in the margin. Needless to say, I didn't pay attention in class very much. I was too busy daydreaming.) But to let someone, even a family member, read my stories...uh, no. Over the years I continued to write, but I would hear terrible things about trying to break into the publishing business. I cringed when I heard what others were going through. So I would put my writing aside and focus on raising my babies.
Then one day something happened. I just decided I was going to publish a story. I was watching the rise of the e-books and the self-publishing industry and I thought, "Here's my chance. I could do this." If nobody bought and read my book, at least I could say I did it and had tried. I was too consumed with writing and reading not to.
So I hit the button. Maddie and Ryder's story went live. I never submitted to an agent or a publishing company before. Only ONE person had read Promise Me Darkness before it was published. I did not do one smidgen of marketing. I had exactly one follower on Facebook. But I just threw PMD out there and crossed my fingers. That night, I was a nervous wreck. But within an hour, sixty people had bought the book. My husband and I stared at the computer, in shock. What was going on? Was this for real? That same night I started to receive emails - "I can't find it on Apple." "When will it be on Kobo?" I couldn't believe what was happening. People wanted my book. (Now, I do know that my graphic artist, Sarah Hansen, posted the synopsis a week or so earlier and there was some interest from that, but I was still surprised at the response.) Regardless, I don't think I slept a wink that night.
Fast forward...PMD hit the New York Times and was on USA Today Bestseller List two times. I made the top five on erotica for Amazon U.K. I sat besides people like E.L. James on Amazon's bestseller list for a while. This was all a huge deal for me. HUGE. I went from hoping to sell 50 copies over time to selling 100,000 copies. I think my friends were more excited about it then I was because I was still in a dream state, waiting for someone to shake me awake. I couldn't believe it was happening to me...the girl that had been too scared to let anyone read one sentence of what she wrote. That girl was now selling books seriously.
That day my life changed. THIS was what I was meant to do. All those late nights...all the nights I spent reading or writing as a teenager instead of hanging out with friends...all the hours I spent as a child daydreaming about other worlds and fictional characters...it all came down to this - the moment I hit "publish."
I owe so much to the readers. SOOOO MUCH! They are the heart and soul of this industry. They decide what is good and what isn't. They keep me going when I am tired or motivate me when I am feeling uncertain. I just have to say from the bottom of my heart...
"Thank you for one amazing year."