This morning, safely snuggled in my bed in the camper, I listened to the thunder (something we haven’t heard in months) roll across the sky. It was four-thirty in the morning, and I knew, with the pounding of the rain on the metal roof, more sleep was not in the picture.
I let my mind wander over the edits I needed to get done during the day, when it hit me. It was one year ago today that I was offered a contract for Riding for Love. I’m on my annual camping-by-myself week. Each year my husband hauls the camper to my favorite campground, backs it in (I believe men are born with a backing-up equipment gene that women are not), helps me set things up and leavesme for a week.
At this time of the year the campground is nearly devoid of campers. The first night there were thirteen campers out of 120 sites. Last night things were busier with seventeen campers. With the quiet, I can get a lot of writing done. Over the years I’ve written or worked on four history books, finished my first romance (which turned out to be my first romance published), and written or plotted out several others. I bike and hike and enjoy the solitude – except for those characters’ voices in my head all the time.
This year I’m camping during the exact same week as last year. I remember it was on the second day of my stay last year and I was eating breakfast while reading through e-mails on my husband’s i-pad. (This year I have hot spot on my phone, so I can use my laptop to connect to the internet. I love it.) Anyway, I was scrolling through the e-mails when I came to one with the message: “I have good news.” I opened it up, read the first line and started crying. Soul Mate Publishing wanted to publish Riding for Love. I believe I’ve written about this before, but what a feeling. I still get giddy thinking about it.
Edits take time – but time with a deadline. Edits make an author a better writer. When a manuscript is sent to a publisher, you believe you are sending the best book possible. Then you get your changes. I don’t know how many times I smacked myself in the head (literally and figuratively) over comments for changes. How could I have missed simple spellings, POV changes, and plot twists that didn’t make sense? And I’d say 99.9% of the time, my editor was right and the changes made for a better book.
I’ve come to realize promotion is a pain in the neck, but a necessary evil. It takes a lot of time promoting your book, especially when everything about promotion is new. Time that a could be spent writing the next book. Time for blogging, websites, giving speeches, contests, getting reviews, deciding what sites to promote, setting up author pages, etc. Since Riding for Love is currently only available on Amazon for Kindle, book signings are not an option.
As a rather quiet, shy person, I found it difficult talking to strangers about being an author and my book, but strangely I’m finding it the best way to promote it. I’ve talked to people at parks, swimming pools, camping, at the doctor’s office, airports, festivals, standing in line at conferences, and other places I can’t even remember. I try to keep business cards on me at all times. (I won’t mention the stack left in my shorts that went through the washing machine.)
All-in-all, this past year has been exciting yet frustrating at times. A huge learning curve. A roller-coaster ride of emotions. This coming year will be the same. With a short story, “A Year and a Day,” being included in a Christmas anthology with Soul Mate Publishing, another romance with another publisher (waiting for contract), a children’s book coming out this spring and five months for tax season stuck in there to disrupt my writing, it should be interesting. Do I regret being published? Heck, no. Would I do it again? Heck, yes. Do I think the next book will be easier? I only wish.