It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… 2015 sucked. And it was awesome.
On this day one year ago, I was an unknown and unpublished author (im)patiently waiting to hear back from the three literary agents I had queried for The Soul Summoner. If you’re unfamiliar with the publishing process here’s a super-condensed 101:
- You write a book.
- You send letters to agents trying to interest them in your book.
- You get rejection after rejection after rejection.
- If an agent is interested, they might read your book.
- If they read your book and like it, they might offer to represent you to publishers.
- Then agents try to interest publishers in your book.
- And occasionally a publisher is interested enough to publish it.
Last January, I was at step two in the above process. I never heard anything back from two of those agents. But on February 5th I got a message from the third one. They loved my book.
Two hours after that conversation, I got a phone call from my doctor (at dinnertime, which is never good) that went something like this, “We think that lump on your neck is cancer. I’m sending you for more tests first thing in the morning.”
I made a LOT of very emotional phone calls that day. And, unfortunately, I received my cancer diagnosis a couple of weeks later: Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stage 2.
So much for publishing. Ugh. I had to try and not die and stuff.
In the middle of chemo, I decided to bypass the above process altogether and self-publish another book of mine. Maybe you read it. It’s called The Bed She Made. I self-published for two reasons:
1. I needed to start finding some fans who might eventually buy The Soul Summoner when it was published.
2. Honestly, I was afraid I might die and never see my books in print.
Well…something quite unexpected happened. The Bed She Made hit #1 in New Adult Women’s Fiction on Amazon and held the #1 slot in ChickLit on Wattpad for months. Wattpad gave it an award in November, and this month it will break a million reads. Oh, and between free and paid sales on all the major online retailers, it’s been downloaded around 50,000 times. I still can’t believe that nonsense.
I finished chemo in June, then went through three weeks of daily radiation treatments. In September, I started receiving offers from publishers who were interested in FINALLY publishing The Soul Summoner. BUT…I turned them all down and self-published it as well.
WHY? Am I now suddenly opposed to traditional publishing? Absolutely not. At the time, however, none of the offers were better than what I could do on my own.
And I was right. Two weeks after The Soul Summoner’s release in November, this happened:
The Soul Summoner hit #1 in Psychic Suspense and Paranormal Suspense. And check out who was in the #2 slot!
Now, I had to tell you that story to tell you the next story…you know, the one where Stephen King took a picture with me holding that screenshot up there:
The whole story is coming this week with pictures and video from my night with Stephen King and John Grisham. Stay tuned because you might even win your own autographed copy of Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham!
And as for my health, I KICKED CANCER’S ASS.
2016 has certainly started off with a bang! I can’t wait to see where this journey goes.