Long ago, in The Land Before Publication, I blogged regularly about my writing life. The ups, downs, in-betweens... conquering the demons of Doubt & Despair despite ongoing rejections and a host of other roadblocks to selling my first novel. I wrote about craft, developing stories, my daily life. I also celebrated the writers who sold their first books in a regular feature. DIGGING OUT OF DISTRACTION kept me going, brought me friends from all over the world, and eventually, after I sold my first novel THE MAVERICK'S RED HOT REUNION to Entangled Publishing, I compiled many of those posts and self-published them in a book by the same title along with developing an interactive workshop that I've presented to local writing chapters, at regional conferences and at the Romance Writers of America's annual conference. You could say... "you've come a long way, Christine." BUT... I haven't. I still struggle with the same distractions, the same doubts and fears, and battle the ongoing noise in my post-publication world.
Fast forward from what we in writerly world like to say THE CALL. Or in my case, THE EMAIL from my future editor at Entangled Publishing. I sold! Woohoo! I freaked out about delivering my first ever novella after that but I did it! I wrote more words, but I wasn't gaining traction. THERE WAS SO MUCH TO LEARN about publishing after I published. Before I published was a lot like before I had the Career Girl. Exciting. A time to plan. Decorating a baby's room. Baby showers. Reading How To Books. Then along came my girl... and it was a whole new world and a lot of what I thought I knew about raising a child had to be revamped. Personally, I think she raised me... forced me to grow and change in so many ways. And I'm so glad!
That's what selling and publishing a book is like to me. It hasn't been a Jackpot score at the casino experience. It's more like pulling the slot lever at a penny arcade and not getting too many lucky sevens in a row. The first two years out were tough. But I learned. I grew. I discovered marketing and how much I totally stink at it LOL. But I keep trying to learn how to do it. I self-published a few books, then decided to go all Indie to gain control over my time two years ago.
I busted my tush. But you know... I started feeling like it wasn't fun. The constant chasing of the trends, the evaporating money (that's a blog for another day), and the loss of real connections with people I trusted in real time began to take a toll on my happy writer heart.
I wanted to have fun again! Writing was a chore, not a passion I pursued. Yes. I know... this is my career... really, it's a business without a real business model because who knows why some people have breakout hits while most of us keep plodding along? At first, I thought I'd missed the friends I'd made along the way. We're all busy, most of us are published which means we're working even harder now than before, and the opportunities to gather and meet have dwindled. But it wasn't just that... I missed the fun of crafting stories because I was too busy figuring out where they'd fit and who might actually spend money to read them.
Then I got invited into a cool Kindle World featuring bodyguards and suspense and everything changed thanks to Elle James and THE BROTHERHOOD PROTECTORS. I stepped out of my comfort zone. My critique partners, Pam Mantovani and Carmen Falcone, helped me get through the struggle of finessing a suspense plot into a romance.
I'd never done that kind of writing before. The challenge was daunting, scary... could I pull out a bodyguard story with a suspense hook all in under 30,000 words? And you know what happened as I finagled this story and wrestled with the problems I had crafting it? I rediscovered the fun in writing!
I released my first romantic suspense FALLING FOR HER BODYGUARD January 11, 2018. It's my 10th book and a milestone for me. But more than that, it's a book that saved my writing soul. Truly saved it. What's my takeaway? Well, if you want to have fun writing in this crazy business, try something new and don't worry about marketing and all the other competitive, ugly noises out there. I'm definitely going to write more bodyguard stories.
I'm also revamping DIGGING OUT OF DISTRACTION. This will primarily be for my writer peeps, but I know there are readers out there who might be curious about what goes on in a writer's head... well at least this writer's head.