I remember being terrified and excited and overwhelmed - not much has changed there.
That month - May 2012 - I was bravely preparing to self-publish my first novel Mr Right and Other Mongrels. I had no idea what I was doing. I didn't know a single person in real life who had uploaded a work of fiction to sell online. I knew almost no one (certainly here in Australia) with an e-reader. I knew nothing.
What a gift ignorance can be.
If I knew how much I didn't know I probably wouldn't have jumped off the cliff. Ask any indie author and they will talk about what a steep learning curve it is. Not only that just when you think you know what you're doing the rules change. I've had to unlearn and relearn things many times in the last few years.
Forget what you knew yesterday - it's wrong today.
I often think "Monique, you lazy chick. You're just not doing enough." (I'm not that kind to myself, I'm a little judgmental, not so great at celebrating the fabulous.)
So here is what I have achieved in three years:
- I've written and published six full length novels and one novella under two names.
- I've contributed to two charity anthologies and had a piece in a non-fiction publication.
- I've had a novel included in an international author box-set.
- I've written another five novels that will be released this year.
- I've had over 100,000 copies of my novels downloaded (sadly they haven't all been paid for but 100,000 plus people have a copy of my books).
- I've hosted countless authors on my blog and kept it running for three years.
- I've handled all my own marketing and PR.
- I've hired cover designers, editors and book formatters to help make my books look good.
- I've guest blogged all over the internet.
- I've done signings and author talks, both of which terrify me.
- I've made hundreds of new friends, both readers and writers.
- I've given loads of advice and support to authors looking to head down this path.
- I've kept going when I wanted to quit.
I've done this on my own, I certainly haven't done it all right. Some things I've done I would undo. Some day, some moments, some choices would be best erased.
Still, today I choose to focus on the positive. The list of what I have achieved looks pretty good to me right now.
If you know another author like me who is alone, starting out and fumbling in the dark then - be kind to them. They probably don't talk about their journey with you because they are pretty sure you're not that interested but listen to them, support them, buy their books, leave them reviews...it does matter, at least to them.