Two Years & Six Publishing Contracts Later…

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Yes. I know. I took forever to get back here – you can punch me in the face now. But I spruced up the joint, and brought in a new theme to signify that I am committed to blogging here at least once a month. Mostly.

To be honest, I never thought when I started this blog that my alter-ego’s pen name (she writes erotic romance for those of you who are just tuning in) would become a viable source of future income. No – EL James and I are not exactly hanging out at swank luncheons just yet, but I can actually see the potential. Especially given the recent turn of events.

First I’ll do a quick recap. When I last left you, I was working on turning in my third manuscript for my ER publisher. I had also recently become inspired to write a sci-fi/dystopian mainstream romance that I would actually want to submit using my real name *gasp*. When I say submit – I mean seek a literary agent, but anyway, that’s off in the future still.

Then life hit me like an IED that came out of nowhere. I won’t go into the gory details, but personal crap took me down like a wrestler on crack. How many other similes can I come up with? I’ll leave it at those, and just say that my inspiration to write came to a complete halt. I wrote a total of about a thousand words in the span of three months. During that time, the publisher was sort of hoping I would actually turn in the second part of my series, especially since the first one was coming out in March. Oops. My editor told me not to fret too much, as the second one wasn’t on any specific schedule yet. So at least I hadn’t completely destroyed the first real writing opportunity I’d had in my life. Yay me.

Then the strangest thing happened. It typically wouldn’t be thought of as strange, except it was the last thing I was expecting to happen to me. I woke up one morning a couple days after book one in my series came out, and there was an email from the marketing dept. of All Romance ebooks. Odd. Why would they be contacting little ol’ nobody me?

I was on the bestseller list.

*choke*. They gave me a little badge and everything. Sure that this must be some sort of horrible prank, or misguided error, I went to their site, and there I was sitting at #8. *double choke*. And on from there it went. It climbed up to #1 and stayed there for a week. ( I had to take screen shots – as I feared it may never happen again) In the meantime, it made it to #2 in one category, and #3 & #5 in two other categories at Amazon. It hit # l at Amazon UK in the gay romance category, and stayed there (with a few intermittent drops as new releases came out) for close to a month.

No one was more shocked than me. Now, I don’t how shocked my publishers were, but they suddenly had a renewed interest in my alter-ego. More importantly, I suddenly had a renewed interest in writing. The best thing that came out of all of this is that I cared again. I’ve worked for years to get out there as a professional writer, and I was not going to let the crazy curveballs that life thonks you on the head with screw it up for me.

I also have to mention  – not in a false humility way, but it is true – that a lot of my current success has come from being in the right place, at the right time, writing the right genre. There was a lot of luck involved as I couldn’t have predicted it. I couldn’t know that the 50 Shades thing would be so epic and far-reaching. Although I researched publishing houses before I chose the one that I sent my first piece to, I had no way of knowing that they would like what I wrote, that I would get the best editor ever, or that they would suddenly become aggressive and pro-active in promoting their authors. Something that few publishing houses of any size do.

You see, the best news was yet to come.

About a week ago, The publishers set up an appointment to speak with me about my career with them. (More gasping and choking) I spent hours making notes and practicing how not to say something incredibly stupid. Having little luck there, I just hoped I wouldn’t completely annihilate my credibility as an author – or human being – and still maintain a future with them. I’m happy to report that my dumb comments were kept to a minimum, and they are now working with me to brand my author name, put in place PR strategies to promote the upcoming release of part 2 of my series ( I cracked that bad boy out with 33k words in 3 days – at the end of it, I was seriously having an out of body experience), and to keep me to a regular writing schedule with hard deadlines. This was all proposed to me, and I happily accepted.

Fortunately, a couple months ago I finally, once and for all, stepped down from manager to assistant manager at work. This has afforded me about 8 -10 extra hours per week for this madness.

As a writer, this has been an amazing journey for me. On a personal level, I am so grateful that I’ve been pulled up out of the tarry fetid swamp I was drowning in just a few months ago. For others out there, all I can say is keep pushing through. You never know what goodies might be waiting for you around the corner.

 

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2 comments on “Two Years & Six Publishing Contracts Later…

  1. So first… CONGRATULATIONS. I am not in any way shocked by your success, but I’m extremely proud to say I knew you when. 🙂

    I’m not sure what to make of the wrestler on crack comment, but whatever that blip was (and I hope it was a blip…) in your life, that it is now wrestled to the ground and taken care of.

    And for what it’s worth, since you don’t use this blog to promote the works of your alter-ego, AND because your alter-ego may be helping to pay some bills now here and there… then I’d say you shouldn’t worry about keeping up with your blog here. (As much as I’d like to read what you write for purely selfish, selfish reasons! LOL)

    If your intention is to continue building up your alter-ego, you could do a fun, campy blog under her name and have your fans come and visit you there and make comments, ask you questions about the characters and all the naughty things they are doing. 🙂 Heck, if it helps you continue to build your audience for your books, why not, right?

    I imagine you’re going to have to make a decision pretty soon about whether or not to market yourself under your real name vs. your alter-ego’s name, even for a mainstream romance novel. Because if your alter is selling tons of books, then why wouldn’t those sales help promote a mainstream romance too? (Then again, I am not a marketing person… you may already know the answer to that.)

    My head is sort of spinning with your post though…like, for instance, you wrote 33K words in 3 days and turned in the mss to your editor? Uh… yeah, holy crap.

    Good work, my dear. I cannot help but wish you all continuing success from the extremely hard work and sweat equity you are putting in to make this happen!

    XOXO

  2. Great to hear from you Carol! I’ve been keeping up with your varying publishing successes – and exotic trip plans!
    Actually – I do have a blog under my alter-ego’s name – the primary reason its difficult to keep up here 😉 And as much as I’d like to not be me any more (harharhar), I do plan on writing mainstream and memoir in the future – and the ER name won’t help me. If you get big enough (*fingers crossed*), you can always use “Wren Andre writing as so and so”, but the main reason for different names is to avoid buyer confusion. You wouldn’t want your teen YA fan buying your alter-ego’s raunchy mommy porn. Or disappoint a reader who buys only one type of genre, and assumes your latest release is EXACTLY like all the others. I was even advised by my publishers that if I were to write another genre within erotic romance, to pick a different name just for those – so go figure!
    I’m not giving up here yet, primarily because I need to have an outlet to work through all of my memoir tales – decide what works, what doesn’t, and what I’m willing to write about. In the meantime, I’ll give updates now and again, but I really hope to just share some of the craziness that brought me to this stage in my life.
    Thank you for all of your support and well wishes!

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