It’s my 5-year anniversary in the publishing business. It’s hard to believe. Without getting cheesy, I’ve been reflecting a lot lately over the last few years and how they’ve shaped where I am today. I am forever grateful to my day job for helping with the foundation as I learned so much about writing and marketing. And of course, huge thanks to those who have carried my books in their stores, hosted me for signings, and TO YOU THE READERS for taking a chance on my work. It’s really been a whirlwind, and while there are always struggles to go with the celebrations, I wouldn’t take back a single second of it because it’s how much I appreciate where I am today.
In the past 5 years I have:
- Gifted, Donovan Circus book 1 (May 2012)
- Burned, Donovan Circus book 2 (December 2013)
- Hunted, Donovan Circus book 3 (March 2015)
- Ignited, Donovan Circus book 4 (October 2015)
- A Reaper Made (October 2014)
- Witch Hearts (October 2013)
- Heroes of Arcania trilogy
- SuperNova (June 2016)
- Fortune’s Favor (July 2016)
- Unbreakable (August 2016)
- “The Two Ringmasters” short story in The Peculiar Lives of Circus Freaks anthology (April 2017)
- Public Speaking: This is a big part of my resume now, thanks to this career. This includes classes and workshops at various conferences, moderating or participating on panels, and solo opportunities to talk about a variety of topics in regards to self-publishing, marketing, social media, and more.
- Conferences and signings: I won’t list them all, but I’ve been lucky to participate in dozens of events that connect me with other authors and readers.
- Started Roanoke Author Invasion: now headed into its 4th year, I’m honored to bring so many authors and readers to my city. I love hosting this event and am so proud of its reputation of welcoming all into the fold, because I hope that’s how people see me in the publishing world – friendly and helpful.
- Become Director of Roanoke Regional Writers Conference: while this one is more of a regional event, it’s one that has really helped me in networking and growth in the Roanoke area. I get to meet amazing writers (especially those outside my genres which can be a breath of fresh air sometimes!) and/or help those wanting to learn.
- Set goals: Learning to set goals was a new one for me – by setting goals, I can work backwards to see how to reach them, which in turn helped me better understand marketing. It all goes hand in hand, like it or not, and is so much more than just publishing a book and waiting for it to sell like crazy. Setting goals and marketing plans for each title have really helped me not just get where I am, but become stronger in my career for the next title, and the next.
- Author Connections: I have met some of my very best friends thanks to the book community. We help each other through everything – the mundane, the frustrations, the exciting celebrations – and I am so lucky to surround myself with quality people who have my back as much as I have theirs. Even introverts need besties!
- This Blog: I am so glad to have met so many people who stop by to read my blog, whether they’re looking for tips or pep talks. I’m always surprised when people bring up something they read here, and so touched when they tell me that it helped them move forward to the next step in their process. MAN, that’s humbling.
So, what about the next 5 years?
- My hope is to release the 5th and final book in the Donovan Circus series this summer (aka SOON!).
- I have at least another 3 book ideas I’d like to work on (including one that’s nearly done with the first draft), with one to possibly query due to timely market needs
- Public Speaking:
- I’ll be speaking at the Virginia Writers Club Symposium in Charlottesville, VA this August!
- And I will continue to add on these opportunities to my resume. I love speaking to people on topics I’m passionate about, and helping other writers with their journeys is incredibly gratifying.
- Big goals. Now that I know how to set them, I can attempt to hit or even surpass them. Without going into too much detail, I’ve got a couple things lined up later this year that will hopefully be great for the writer career. Such as…
- Hit a USA Today or NYT bestseller list
- Branch out into new genres (I’ve forever wanted to write a murder mystery, possibly cozy, in addition to about 150 other ideas)
- Attend more/new events = more author friends! New readers!
There are always more goals to add to the list, but rather than being afraid to try or overwhelmed, I’ll simply take it day by day and keep putting words down. And that’s the real thing, right? At the end of the day, writers have to write. We have stories bursting in our minds and hearts and no matter how you publish, or you have 2 readers or 2,000, putting great stories out in the world truly makes it worth it. So, here’s to my first 5 years in publishing – and here’s to many, many more! Cheers, friends!