Almost seven years ago, I had a dream. I set out to write a book that could replace Twilight. The saga had ended. My book boyfriend was gone. The lady who wrote Twilight wanted to go to law school, and I did go to law school. If she could do it, I could to.
I understood it wouldn't be easy but like my husband tells me every day I'm stubborn. I started a blog to improve my writing and set out on a journey. (The blog did improve my writing. If you doubt that go read some of my earlier posts.)
I had some incredible years. I blogged 52 books in a year twice and loved it. Book stores offered me wine and sent me boxes of ARCs. I was on a first name basis with more YA bestsellers than i could count. And then there were rough times. A book I still love got 105 rejections. What I thought would be my break out novel wasn't. Each time I'd get up and write another book. Some disappointments led to a stronger MC and better writing. And some read like literary fiction where nothing really changed. But I survived.
And I lost some things in the process without even realizing it.
Those 52 books in a year twice? I learned so much from that. I was notorious for honest reviews with some friends asking me for reviews because a 3 from me was like a 5 everywhere else and everyone knew it. But agents and editors don't always like honest reviews from a tough critic. It was one of the first things to go, and it was something I loved. I connected to so many people through those reviews.
I gave writing advice often labeled something to the effect of "Unconventional Wisdom." There really wasn't anything unconventional about it. I said things that I think lots of writers have thought to themselves. And friends had even asked me about. But I said things that in a rocky industry you don't always say aloud.
Through it all the only constant in publishing remained the same: CHANGE. Now writing a review risks more than hard feelings. Amazon might come behind you and delete your author account. And where are books actually sold?
So because I became an author people in the book industry think I'm not entitled to an opinion even on a product I've spent money on like any other customer. And with the advent of self publishing "people in the book industry" is like every third American. Amazon will make sure I don't get an opinion. The average author sells less than 5 books a month--I'm not making this up. That is a generous estimate coming from a digital book insider--and let's face it. Traditional publishers are having some problems now.
Some loss in life you have to accept. Relationships end. People die. You put one foot in front of the other and move on. And some things you don't have to accept. Playing by the rules has led to the frustration and a desperate yearning for my old day job. I will write reviews. I will write positve reviews, negative reviews and mildly neutral reviews. If Amazon deletes my account? So what? If I ever manage to execute a book on paper the way it sounds in my head, they'll give it back and probably attempt to buy my rights through their traditional publishing arm. I will give unconventional wisdom, because I've come to realize I started writing to make me happy. As far as the book industry is concerned I care about two things: 1) the quality of the art that ends up in my Kindle cart. (I never return already read books. Even REALLY bad ones). 2) Helping people who have helped me more than once.
But here is the truth. Those of you who have been with me since the beginning probably guess most of this from my sporadic posting over the past couple of years.
Beth is back.
How has your journey been?