I woke up this morning like I do every morning — groggy, thirsty, and wishing I could stay in bed a little longer.
Then I realised it is my second anniversary in publishing and I felt less groggy for a few seconds before rolling over and going back to sleep.
In all honesty though, today is a pretty cool day to reflect. Not to blow my own trumpet, but I can’t believe how far I’ve come in two very short years since the publication of my debut short story, Something in the Cellar. In fact, the brief version of this post goes something like this: Despite being inherently lazy, I’ve published seven novels, a best-selling episodic serial, novellas, short stories in the last two years. Oh, and I’m making a living doing what I love, there’s that, too.
I don’t like to get bogged down in reflection too much. I’m all about looking forward, working on the next project, publishing, working on the next project. But I must say, it stuns and amazes me that the guy who struggled to finish a 1,000 word short story just over two years ago regularly triples that in a single day now. I’m proud of who I’ve become: one of the most prolific writers on the planet.
Okay, maybe a tad hyperbolic, but there’s no getting away from how proud of myself I am. So well done, me! You’ve had a good two years. Onwards and upwards!
Highlights of the last two years? Hitting the top of the Amazon charts with What We Saw was pretty cool. The slow-build success of Dead Days has been cool. Hitting “Publish” every time I finish labouring on a project is also very cool.
But the real highlight? It’s you. You, the readers. You’re the highlight.
Whether you read my advice blogs or whether you enjoy my fiction, whether I know you in real life or whether you’re the other side of the planet, I wouldn’t be where I am without you today. So thanks, readers.
Two years ago, I vividly remember feeling like I had to make an excuse for being a writer, and more specifically, for independently publishing.
Now? I’m proud to be a writer. I’m the hardest working person I know, even if I do work from the comfort of my home. As for independent publishing? I like control over my work. I like nice royalties. I like being able to publish what I want, when I want. Why should I make an excuse for that?
Over the last two years, I’ve learned how much I love writing. Like, I knew I loved it before I got into it as a career, but now? I honestly couldn’t live without it. I am addicted to it. If I were a cliché machine, which I so am but let’s keep it quiet, I’d say writing is my drug. But it is. It really is. If I go longer than a day without writing, I go crazy. I can’t watch a film or read a book without thinking about how I could take what I’ve learned and incorporate it into my own works. Writing has changed my frame of mind, for the better.
Just remember: I haven’t always been like this. I haven’t always been able to write lots every day. If lazy-bastard me can do it, then so can you.
It’s also worth noting that over the last two years, lots has changed in publishing. We’ve had Kobo-gate, Amazon Affiliate terms changes, the rise and whatever of KDP Select, Amazon vs. Hachette, the erotica cull, Kindle Unlimited. And it’s easy to get bogged down by these developments. But I always find it helps me to just get my head down and write. Ride the waves of change (see, another cliché).
Because for all the business changes in the world, without words, we can’t publish a thing.
I’ve learned so much over these two years of publishing. I’ve learned that I’m still awful at getting into a routine. I’ve learned that nobody in the general population actually thinks there’s such thing as a ‘writer who makes money’. But through these teachings, I’ve kept on writing. Kept on learning. Kept on enjoying myself, entertaining my readers.
Because that’s what I am, and what all writers are. We’re entertainers. Sure, the landscape around us might change from time to time. Our circus might have to relocate.
But we’ll keep on entertaining whatever happens, wherever we go.
What next? Well, I don’t want to treat this as a milestone going forward. That’s the topic of a whole new post. I just want it to act as a reminder to myself and whoever’s reading that dreams really can be achieved (cliché alert) if we get our heads down, work hard, and be willing to learn. Maybe this time next year I won’t be making a living writing. Maybe this time next month, I won’t be.
But now’s good. Now’s all that matters. And I’ll still be writing away, no matter what.
As a thank you for your support, and a commemoration of this two year anniversary, I’m offering my third novel, Dying Eyes, absolutely free for three days only. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it back in the cold winter of 2012.
Cold winter isn’t a cliché. It’s just a fact. Right?