One year ago, today, I self-published LOSING IT.
So much has happened in one year that I just… I…
Most days I’m too busy trying to catch up and do all the things I need to do that I don’t really think about how drastically my life has changed, but today is a day for retrospect. And it’s kind of overwhelming.
Before I started writing full-time, I was a high school teacher. I’d thought it would give me time to write, but I have this problem with over-committing, so I’d gotten myself pretty busy. In a move that likely made my father’s blood pressure spike, I decided to resign from teaching. I was working two other unpaid jobs in publishing in order to build my resume, as well as getting my Masters in Creative Writing. Both jobs promised to pay in the future, but I would have to get by with no paycheck for a while.
In my first month post-teaching, I wrote Losing It. Then I put it aside to go back to my Masters. I made it to the fall living off the last off my teacher salary and my savings. But as I approached the end of what I could handle financially, I decided to take a long shot and self-publish Losing It. At best, I thought it would buy me another month or two before I needed to figure out what the hell I was doing with my life.
Instead, it turned my world upside down.
In just over 24 hours, it hit #1 on B&N, and I was left pinching myself. The week that followed was the craziest, most stressful week of my life. And it’s been a wonderful whirlwind ever since.
In the last twelve months, I have:
- Written two books, two novellas, and started several other projects.
- Visited my book in bookstores
- Signed tens of thousands of signatures
- Traveled all over the country (and to two other countries) to meet my AWESOME fans
- Met long-time online friends and some fabulous authors
- No, seriously. I’ve met some amazing authors (and managed to keep my fangirl scream to a small shriek).
- Found an agent that rocks my face off, and the sweetest editor in the world, who cares about my characters as much as I do.
- Moved TWICE.
- Twitter and Facebook are part of my JOB.
- And I can now write full time.
It’s just absurd to think of how much has changed. When I wrote Losing It, I was adrift like Bliss. I didn’t know what I was doing with my life, and I was always feeling like I was the butt of life’s joke. To quote Bliss (and well, by extension me): “There’s only so many times you can handle someone asking about your fall back for when things don’t work before you start thinking that maybe the fall back should just be your plan.”
I wasn’t ready to quit, per say. But I was tired. And Losing It had felt like my last ditch effort to prove I could do this.
I guess, I just wanted to say… It’s been a wonderful year. All thanks to you guys. It’s still SO CRAZY when I see pictures of people with my books or talk to people online. It’s baffling to me that other people actually read my stuff, and they care. They care enough to drive hours to a signing. They care enough to write me awesome letters or make cool things for me. They care enough to take time out of their day to talk about my books.
I owe everything to you. Absolutely everything.
Seriously. I cannot even begin to describe how much I adore you guys. Everytime I do a Facebook or Twitter giveaway, I plan to only give away one copy. But then I always end up giving away two or three. I read your messages, and I literally battle urges to just give away all the free things! I feel the itch to say, “Of course, I’ll do a signing here and there and everywhere! I’ll just come hang out!” You all mean so much to me, and I just wish I knew a better way to give back. The signed edition of Finding It at Target is one way. Now, anyone close to a Target can snag a special copy.
But I know there are plenty of readers out there that aren’t anywhere close to a target. So, I knew I needed something more.
So in that vein, I stumbled across a website recently called Libboo
. The idea behind it is to reward the fans who go out of their way to spread the word about my books, as opposed to doing random giveaways where the odds are stacked against everyone.
Essentially, Libboo puts the odds in your favor (woot… HG reference, FTW). It allows me to put up rewards like free swag or signed bookmarks. Then all you need to do is open an account and spread the word about my books on social media via Libboo. You earn points or “buzzes” when people follow your links. Every week, I set a reward number limit and a threshold. This week (through Sunday), the first 20 people to hit 20 buzzes can win either signed bookmarks or one of my “Awkward people need love, too” bracelets.
Some weeks the rewards will be general, like this week. Or the prizes might be bigger and more selective– a giftcard for the top 5 buzzers or a skype hangout with me for the week’s top spot. The point is… no more gaining points on rafflecopter for a “maybe” win. Libboo is the best way I could find to pay you all back for how awesome you are.
I hope you guys will join me on Libboo. And if you have suggestions for rewards you’d like to see on the site, please do let me know in the comments.
So, cheers, friends! To our anniversary.
P.S. There will be a rather fun contest coming tomorrow in honor of year two in my writing journey (and you know… that book that comes out on Tuesday). 🙂 It will only last until release day, so don’t forget to check back.