Friday, April 23, 2021

Six Years In: My Writing Career

Though I have been a writer all my life, I consider April 23, 2015 my birthday as a professional writer, since that's the date my debut novel was published. So, this seems like a good day for a little trip down memory lane, now that Writer Samantha is 6 years old :-)

Samantha's Professional Writing Career (So Far)

I finished my first novel on June 20, 2012. It was called His Other Mother, and is best categorized as women's issues fiction. It took me four years to write that first draft, and about another year to complete the revision to get it submission-ready. It was a dark story, and it took a lot out of me to write it, but it also proved that I could finish a novel. I'm still proud of me for getting that far. 

So far, His Other Mother is not published. It got close a few times, but no publisher took it on, and after a while, I shelved it, chalking it up as the book I wrote to learn how to write a book. Maybe I'll revisit it someday and revise it again, improving it with everything I've learned since, but right now, I'm content to leave it alone. I've got newer projects I'm more passionate about right now.

Finishing His Other Mother was hard enough that I bribed myself through the end of the process, promising myself that I could "write something fun" if I just finished this project. That's where Going Through the Change comes in--what could be more fun than Menopausal Superheroes? 

I finished the revision of that book in December 2013 which shows I got faster. From idea to submission-ready in only one year! My commitment to a daily writing habit was paying off. By August of 2014, I had signed my first book contract!

I had an exciting eight months or so of edits, cover approval, proofreading, mood swings, marketing ploys, etc. (while I also worked on the second book in the series) And then in April of 2015, just a few days before my forty-forth birthday, my book-baby was born! 

And here I am with my first box of my own books ever. That smile says it all. 

I worked hard to get to the word out about that book, querying book bloggers, arranging for review copies, writing 26 blog posts about it for the A to Z Blogging Challenge. and planning a book release party at Flyleaf Books that still glows in my memory as one of the best days of my life. 

My family and friends were there, including my writing community in the form of critique group and other generous souls who helped me on my journey. My mother-in-law made beautiful fancy cookies for the guests. An author-friend Nathan Kotecki made the very generous offer to serve as my "Phil Donahue." He interviewed me and facilitated a question and answer session that made me feel so very famous. 

I'd had a taste of the author life I'd always dreamed of and I grabbed on with both hands! I started attending conventions (Atomacon 2015 was my very first one) and serving as a panelist and author guest. I won an award for that first book!

I worked my butt off to get books two and three in the Menopausal Superheroes series out in 2016 and 2017 and wrote a between-the-novels novella for a special collection. I suffered through the first ever bookless book-launch party for book 2.  I survived the dreaded revise-and-resubmit process for book 3. 

At the same time, I kept writing short stories and tried to squeeze in some time to work on my other ideas and projects. And then . . . I hit my first serious snag: my publisher :-(

It's an old story, especially with small publishers: things fall apart. I won't dwell on the story here, since I'm happy with where I've ended up, but you can read this details in this blog post if you're curious. 

I was so deflated . . .but I was also very lucky. I got my rights back without much trouble. Because I'd been building contacts and relationships with writing colleagues along the way, I was able to make the leap to a different publisher and get all three novels re-released with a couple of months. 

Since then, the Menopausal Superhero Universe has expanded and been re-released with gorgeous new covers. Three novels, two novellas, a set of short stories, and a collection of all those shorter works in a single volume. 

Novel number 4 (working title: Be the Change) is with the editing team now, with a planned release for late 2021. I'm contracted for a fifth novel in the series for 2022. I still LOVE this characters and have a wonderful time telling their stories. 

So six years in, I'm loving my writing life. The community, the creativity, the small-scale fame and fortune. I'm so thankful to have had the opportunities I've seen so far and can't wait to see what the future brings!

1 comment:

  1. I'm so happy for you! What a ride it's been. Isn't it amazing to look back and think about how hard you've worked and how far you've come in just a handful of years? Congratulations on your success!!