The end of the year is creeping up on us and I always like to take time to review and reflect.Looking back over the goals I wrote for myself this time last year, I think it’s fair to say that 2017 was surprising and so, in the interests of posterity, I have jotted down the main events month by month.
January 2017 – the story so far . . . Having decided that the only way to progress my writing career is to invest in it, in December 2016 I engaged an editor to give me a report on the Mummy’s Girl, the book that I had published under my pseudonym, Lucinda Fox. This was all about confidence building. I thought it was ok but I needed someone in the know to tell me. So this is what happened next.
JANUARY: The editor likes Lucinda’s book, suggests I change the title and gives me a list of agents to submit to. I change the titles and the covers of both Lucinda’s books. I don’t submit it.
FEBRUARY: I speak to another editor about what I hope will be my first book published under my own name, Postcards From a Stranger. She is mildly encouraging but still think it isn’t ready. I decide to park it. In the meantime, I sent The Mum Swap to four agents. (As I write I am still waiting to hear anything!) I learn how to build a website and revamp my own including book reviews and a book group forum which I hope might attract readers. ( It doesn’t!)
MARCH: After coffee with an old and trusted friend, I have an epiphany about clear thinking and decide to focus on one thing at a time. I then discover that 1 in 4 books sold in the UK in 2016 was sold-published. I make the difficult decision to abandon the traditional route to publishing and go it on my own as an independent author. ( Read about it HERE.) Lucinda publishes The Dream Team.
APRIL: I study. I watch videos, I read blogs and I listen to podcasts. I absorb everything I possibly can about independent publishing. In the meantime, I get editor 1 to review Postcards. She loves it and makes almost no changes.
MAY: I commission a cover for Postcards and then set up a preview which readers can get by signing up to my mailing list. I have some postcards printed and my brother and I traipse round the county delivering them to all and sundry.
JUNE: I redo all the covers for Lucinda for the second time this year. I quietly publish Postcards. Early readers ( mainly friends and relations ) are complimentary. I don’t believe them.
JULY: I arrange a book launch in a pub in Ilkley, invite lots of lovely and supportive friends and read from the book. It’s terrifying! (Watch me doing the reading HERE!) One evening, whilst my husband is watching Game of Thrones, I get an odd email from someone claiming to be at Amazon Publishing saying how much she likes Postcards. I assume it is a scam.
AUGUST: The Amazon thing turns out to be real. The editor is very interested in the book and asks me if I have anything else. I send her the first draft of The Thing about Clare. Then everyone goes on holiday. I start a new manuscript and wait.
SEPTEMBER: Finally I hear from Amazon Publishing. They offer me a three book deal with their imprint Lake Union with an advance and everything. I accept and wait for the contract. I research whether I need an agent and decide that I’ve come this far on my own wits and so go it alone.
OCTOBER: Quite independent of the Lake Union contract, Amazon Kindle offer me a month’s promotion which I accept. Postcards rockets up the charts reaching number 12 in the whole UK Store and Number 1 in it’s category. It stays in the top 100 for two months. I receive an All Star bonus for having one of the best selling kindle books in the UK. Also two other publishers approach me to offer me a deal.
NOVEMBER: With the contract signed, I am itching to get going on the edits of Postcards and Clare but I have to wait. I finish the manuscript that I started in the summer. I get another All Star bonus for November.
DECEMBER: As my ‘intensive’ edits are due to start this month, I race round getting my Christmas sorted to free up time for when we get started. However, the start date changes to January 2nd 2018. I am currently waiting.
So there you have it. My year. It’s been amazing. As I write this on Boxing Day 2017 I have sold 14,399 ebooks, 303 paperbacks and had 3,307,496 pages read under Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited programme. If you had told me when I was writing my plan for the year that this is how things would turn out I would never have believed you . . . and yet here I am.
So what will next year bring? Well hopefully Postcards and Clare will be published under the Lake Union banner in ebook, paperback and audio book and will be translated into various languages and I will write book 3 which is currently just a mess of ideas in my head.
If you’re reading this and you have a book in you n( or any other burning ambition for that matter) then I say just do it because sometimes dreams do come true.
Thank you for coming on this journey with me. Here’s to the next twelve months. I’m off to write my plan for 2018!