I had always had a big imagination but was never sure if I could put pen to paper and write anything, little own a whole story or novel. I was going through a difficult time in my life and marriage and I needed something to do, something fulfilling. My children were my world but there was something missing from my life.
I sat down with pen and paper and starting forming characters and a basic start to the story. Then Spoilt (now Rich Girl) was born. I wrote the first draft in two weeks at around 40k words. Once done, I decided to write a second book in the series and then more ideas flooded in and I wrote a lot of first drafts in a couple of months. The hard part was to come.
I wanted to see if anyone would like what I've written, whether other people would like my stories so I did some searching and found the Authonomy website which was run by Harper Collins. In brief it is a peer to peer site where people can read your work and offer advice and back your book. Using this advice I was able to add words to the count and polish, polish polish! I learnt so much from the experience.
There was also an incentive to finish in the top five at the end of the month, to obtain a review from a Harper Collins editor with the dream they would first want to read your whole manuscript (we only post a few chapters) and two, would love it enough to offer a contract and obtain my dream. The first did happen to me and I received a great review. It meant that maybe I could find people who wanted to read my book/s.
I then tried agents but wasn't successful. Back then there wasn't self publishing and if there was it wasn't what it is today. Finding a publisher traditional or indie was the way to go. As I really needed an editor, I knew I would need a publisher if I was going to become published.
Then came Night Publishing. They were an indie publisher starting out. On their website you could post your first chapter. They would then choose one book and have the public choose another to go head to head. Then people would vote and the person with the most votes was published. So that is how I became published by winning the pole! Spoilt then became my first published ebook.
Back then Amazon would choose books to offer for free as opposed to doing it yourself now. Spoilt had over 100k downloads and made No. 1 overall in the Free Bestsellers list in the US and No.2 in the UK. I received over 100 reviews and it gave me confidence to keep going. Although none of my other books have achieved the same success, it was a nice feeling at the time. :)
As indie publishers struggled, Night closed shop. I then went with another indie that also couldn't continue. Then I found Tirgearr who have published seven of my books.
I have self published seven myself and plan to bring out the 15th in July.
I learnt so much from both indie publishers, my time at Authonomy and from reviews I have received.
I'm now trying to put my work 'out there' as much as possible to find readers who I think could enjoy my work as much as I love writing them.