In June of 2012, I signed my first-ever book contract. I didn’t sign another until March 2021.
In between, I learned my own hard limits as a newbie author as well as the boundaries of the publishing industry and some of its uniquely antiquated systems. I scaled the steep learning curve of self-publishing in the mid-2010s, picked up a few things about being an indie author, and realized that I’m not all that great at it in terms of making a viable living. I confronted the bugaboo known to me as short stories and published a tidy half-dozen with various presses.
It’s not a lot, compared to some, and it is a lot compared to others. But anyway, I try to avoid comparisons. For me, this has been my path.
In 2018, I got an idea for a novel, something totally different than what readers knew me for. I didn’t consider myself a fan of the sub-genre and I’d never written anything like it before. I’d even read something at that time that said domestic suspense had been overdone already.
But the idea wouldn’t let me go. The main character kept tapping at my brain. And anyway, I don’t write what I think will sell. I write whatever grabs hold and won’t let go until I make something out of it, something resembling a good story. (This might be related to why I’m not a bestselling indie author, come to think of it.)
I’m nothing if not ambitious. I will swing for the fences because why not? Whether I dream big or keep it “realistic” isn’t related to the outcome. It’s just a dream, a wish, a desire. Having them doesn’t cause me pain or embarrassment. Neither does failing.
Oh, I know there are plenty of people who’d have me believe that dreaming big without the ability to back it up is only foolishness. But I don’t think anyone needs to prove their dreams. They’re called dreams for a reason. They’re lovely stories we tell ourselves. Stories to keep us inspired, to keep us going when the things around us conspire to keep us small. Where’s the harm in that?
So of course I let myself dream with this book, way back when. What if I finally secure an agent with this book? What if I sell this book at auction? In a pre-empt? For six figures? What if this book wins some prestigious awards?
To date, only one of those daydreams has come true. That doesn’t make any of the other dreams invalid. And since hope springs eternal, I still dream of the one that might yet come true.
It’s a wonderful feeling, to be present to our dreams without expectations. It’s also a wonderful feeling to work to make them reality. It is for me, anyway. I don’t love rejection, but I do like the challenge.
And along the way, I am absolutely enjoying the ride.
If you’d like to follow along on the promotional train—or even help boost!—the links are below. I’ll add to this list as posts or podcasts go live and as recordings of live appearances are made available:
CrimeReads essay || Burlington Public Library event with Hannah Mary McKinnon & Katie Tallo || IG Game with Kelly J. Ford, part 1 & part 2 (because tech issues—gah!) || Live interview for Mystery & Thriller Mavens with Sara DiVello hosted by Murder By The Book || IG Game with Jane Pek || Chicks on the Case guest post || The Wickeds guest post || Twas the Night Before Book Launch with Vanessa Lillie || Behind The Pages post || Dru’s Book Musing: A Day in My Life || CKUA Radio interview
(Click here to order my IG Games guests’ books)