So here is the almost obligatory end-of-the-year reflection post. But this has been a momentous year for me: It was a year when I finally decided to ‘go all in’ on being a writer, no matter what. For some reason, I’ve always been embarrassed about my need to write, as if it were some kind of mental illness or frivolous indulgence. I would usually tell people I was meeting for the first time that I was an editor or an English tutor, but rarely admitting that I also wrote fiction, and that, really, was the meaning of my life. Many people are weird when they meet writers, they either clam up (because they think you’re going to correct their English, or worse, write about them; I won’t do either), or they become overly effusive and want to be your best friend (and won’t buy your book anyway). It’s just easier to say, “Oh, I work at that learning center in Powder Mill Plaza.” But I finally made a true commitment to my vocation, even though it has resulted in a significant drop in income, to my husband’s dismay. But he understands. Ah, who needs money anyway! I’d rather have a handful of nice reviews on Goodreads or Amazon.
So here are the things I am humble and grateful for, in this last week of 2015:
–Thank you to Elissa at Pronoun Publishing, for working over the Christmas holiday to pull my book from the dark depths of the Erotica category, and placing it in a more appropriate slot: “College and New Adult”
–Thanks to the first few reviewers of my book, none of whom were friends or relations of mine: Andrea Stoeckel, Pauline Evanosky, Lynn Wachtel. Those first few reviews on Goodreads were, I believe, crucial in pumping up the entries to my Goodreads giveaway and boosting my list of prospective readers (the ‘to-reads’) to up over 175. And I’m not forgetting dear sweet Emily, my nephew’s significant other, who was the first ‘to-read,’ clicking the button during dessert at my sister’s Thanksgiving dinner!
–I’m grateful to have discovered the Net Galley service, which I used for promotion in lieu of Kirkus: So instead of one review (that a lot of folks would probably not take very seriously), I have the chance for many. Over fifty reviewers downloaded my galleys, and probably more—I haven’t checked in a while. But I would definitely recommend this service to any other writer looking to promote their work, although with one caveat: Be absolutely sure you’re submitting the best work possible! Net Galley reviewers do have a reputation for being brutal and honest. Also, it’s not free, but I think it’s the best $500 I ever spent.
–I’m grateful to all who actually read my blog. And folks do read it: My analytics show a healthy stream of viewers every single day. I’ve been pleasantly surprised when I attend a party or some other function, and someone mentions it. I’m surprised at who reads it, too! But thank you, all, and I’ll try not to let you down.
–My Goodreads Giveaway ends at midnight on December 31st, and to the lucky 30 readers who will win a copy of my book, congratulations! Thank you for entering! I am preparing those books to send out immediately on January 4th, via media mail, so it might take a week or so. Hope you will enjoy reading the book, and please do leave feedback if you can.
–Now I have sold a few copies of both formats of the book, although as a former agent of mine would put it, “it’s not flying off the shelf.” One look at my Amazon ranking will tell you that. But I am grateful to all of you who have purchased the book so far. And a quick note to my own family members, beyond my parents, husband and daughter: Not giving out free copies this time around! If you want it, you’ll have to go out and buy it! But I’ll sign it if you do!
–And to my own immediate family, my husband Frank and daughter Francesca, thank you for putting up with me during a crazy year; thanks for putting up with a messy house and unwashed dishes and not commenting on the garden gone to hell; thanks for your unending support and love, without which, I could never have finished this book.
And so Happy New Year, one and all. This is my last post for the year, and with the new year comes a new project, and a new focus, so stay tuned.