Today I want to talk about my publishing journey for #writerwednesday. I’ve been publishing books since 2005. I can’t believe it’s been 15 years since I first had a story accepted for publication!
Although I didn’t publish (or should I say I didn’t have anything make money) until 2005, I’ve always been a writer. Isn’t that what most writers say? As a child I was always composing stories. Always living in an imaginary world. Maybe that’s because I grew up an only child. Had to make my own fun. I didn’t write anything through my early teenage years, until I discovered the wonderful world of X-Files fan fiction.
When I was 17, I loved The X-Files. In fact, I’m still an X-Files geek. I got back into writing by composing X-Files stories on my electric typewriter (oh yeah, I had one of those. Very annoying to make a typo and use correction fluid). In my stories, Mulder and Scully definitely had a lot of romance.
After that I moved into fan-fiction about movie characters – specifically Vin Diesel’s Riddick from Pitch Black (love an ambiguous anti-hero). I published this online. Long story short, I got a fan base and won some awards. This made me realise I wanted to write original stories. I am ashamed to say that I turned one of my fan fics into an original and submitted to a digital publisher – Ellora’s Cave. I loved their books. They introduced me to super steamy romance back in the early 2000s and I wanted to write for them so much. It was promptly rejected for being too tropey. My first rejection.
I moved on to reviewing romance for a couple of review sites and in 2005 saw an open publishing call from a new digital publisher, The Wild Rose Press. They were looking for novella length romance in a number of categories. I wrote and submitted The Invitation – a Christmas themed paranormal romance. Back then I was all about paranormal romance. I devoured every paranormal romance I could get my hands on. I still love to read it, but my tastes have changed.
The Invitation got accepted for publication by The Wild Rose Press. Yah! I was over the moon. I was finally a ‘real writer’. I would be making money from my books for the first time, and that feeling was amazing.
The story got some good reviews, but the sales were minimal to say the least. Undeterred, I wrote 2 more stories for The Wild Rose Press – A Conqueror’s Destiny (historical fantasy romance fiction) and Devil’s Dance (a contemporary BDSM lite romance).
Devil’s Dance was my longest novella at around 30,000 words and I found I loved writing daring erotic romance. I really liked it, but the same problems occurred with Devil’s Dance. Minimal sales. Sales aren’t everything, but it was really disheartening.
Although I loved working with The Wild Rose Press initially, I got pushed from editor to editor when my regular editor left and I lost my passion for publishing. I left my work with The Wild Rose Press and stopped creating anything new. I just didn’t have the heart. In 2010 I got my rights back and the copyright reverted to me.
Between 2010-2011 I dabbled with writing. I worked on a dark futuristic romance thriller (that I am hoping to publish next year) when I saw an editor call from Carrie Jackson of Ellora’s Cave. She was a new editor looking to acquire super sexy romance. On a whim, I submitted Devil’s Dance. She loved it, really loved it, and signed me up as a new Ellora’s Cave author.
Oh my god. Ellora’s Cave were my dream publisher. I’d been reading and reviewing EC books for years and now I was working with them. I was ecstatic. We changed the title of the book to Beg Me, as well as major revisions and expansion of the storyline.
Digital publishing rocketed at this point (this was before the Kindle took off). Beg Me debuted at the highest spot for a new author on the indie site ARR. My sales were huge compared to The Wild Rose Press.
I started writing again. Next came a few novellas – At Their Command, Wicked Game, Darkness Comes, Fourth Time’s a Charm, Owned by the Night. The Invitation got republished. Again, my sales rocked. My working relationship with Carrie as an editor was amazing. She just got me. My style. My ideas. I loved working with her. I’d heard rumblings about Ellora’s Cave – late payments etc- but I was riding high. Surely such an established e-publisher would be fine.
When I pitched an idea for a BDSM trilogy, Carrie acquired all 3 on a proposal.
Claiming Ruby released and my sales exploded. I was seriously considering giving up my day job and writing full time.
And then in 2014 the bottom fell out of my world…