A year ago today, I published my first novel.
I woke up early, jumped onto Amazon, and spent the whole day stalking my KDP sales page and flitting from one social media account to the other, liking Latte Girl posts and comments as I marvelled at how crazy it felt to know people were actually BUYING and READING my book.
Three hundred and sixty-five days later, I could sit here and write a post about how excited I am to have come this far, or how much I’m looking forward to the future of my writing, but just for a moment, I want to drop the mask we all have a tendency to wear on the internet and admit that for the past few weeks, I have been DREADING this day.
I won’t hide it; being an indie author can leave you feeling utterly hopeless. It can feel like simultaneously screaming into and throwing all your money down an endless void, with no actual assurances that what you’re doing is any less nonsensical than it seems. It can be draining- on your time, on your finances, and on your spirit.
The realization that Latte Girl’s anniversary was coming up hit me like a bucket of cold water. At first, all I could think about was how much I HAVEN’T done this year. I haven’t written as many books as I wanted to. I haven’t reached as many readers as I hoped I would. I haven’t come anywhere CLOSE to being able to make serving readers into a full time job, as I hope with all my heart I will be able to do some day. In many ways, I felt like this day was just a reminder of all my shortcomings.
But it’s not. In three hundred and sixty-five days, there are a lot of things I haven’t done, but there’s also so much that I HAVE. I’m an actual PUBLISHED AUTHOR who has sold actual BOOKS. I’m part of an ridiculously awesome community of writers and readers. I’ve formed connections with people who inspire and encourage me every day, and I have been filled with more gratitude than I can hold on so many occasions.
I know I’m not alone among romance authors when I say that some days, that Amazon Top 100 list seems like the be all and end all of achievements, like nothing else is ACTUALLY going to matter until I’m there, but I’ve realized that’s not true. I may be plodding along for years before I’m even within sight of that goal. I may never get there at all, but I know for a fact I’m not the same person I was a year ago.
I’m a better person. I’m a stronger person. I’m armed with new skills, new knowledge, and new friends. That’s not bad for my first year in this industry. That’s not bad at all.
My romance writing journey so far has been filled with an incredible range of insanely awesome people, and to everyone who’s had a role in it, big or small, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope we’ve got many more years and many more books ahead of us.