I always find it interesting when I hear about the latest overnight success in the publishing world. Because what you never hear about are the years (or even decades) said author has put into honing their craft, beating their head against desks or keyboards, collecting enough rejection notices to fill several museums, fighting off depression, balancing three or four "day jobs" or living in poverty. But the idea of the overnight success is as compelling as thinking you could one day win the lotto. It's that idea that often gets people to start writing in the first place. Those that stick with it for years with a dedication that borders on insanity are the ones you hear about--on occasion--with that coveted term:
But trust me, that success is always earned.
I certainly wouldn't consider myself in the strata of successful authors, though my debut novel hit the Amazon #1 category multiple times for Horror, even holding that category for over a month internationally in the UK. I'm not on some fast track to the stars nor do I make the rounds speaking at conventions, imparting my wisdom on those aiming to achieve the unachievable.
But I'm proud of what I have accomplished. Of finding an outlet for my creative pursuits. Of building an audience--albeit small--of readers who have connected with my work or writing style. Of winning a publishing contract through a now defunct program with Amazon. Of the friendships I've made along the way--both with other authors and readers.
I'm proud of the growth that's taken place since my first novel was published. Of challenging myself with every project I take on, to find a unique approach and never write the same story twice. Of conquering fears, writing through depression, and putting forth my best effort with every story, at least at the time of writing it.
I write because I enjoy it, not to be that overnight success. I write because it's the outlet that's taken me through to the other side of depression, conquering stories where I was able to explore those themes through my writing. I write because it's a part of who I am, and because I constantly want to be better. To me writing has always been a journey and never a destination. I hope it always stays that way.
My debut novel, HOUSEBROKEN, is aptly on sale this week by the publisher and available for just $0.99. The novel is my take on the home invasion trope, while adding my own unique vision of what that might entail. A hostage situation where there's no ransom and nothing the kidnapper's want, other than to observe the family they've moved in with. It's a book I'm proud of while being a book I would change immensely should I have written it today. But that's the great thing about writing--it's no longer my story. And while there are things I would certainly change there are other moments I would never have come up with where I am today.
I've been fortunate enough to have had success with other books since my debut, including with THE CREATION SERIES, which has reached the #1 category on Amazon in multiple categories. And as I look back on where things started, it's impossible not to get excited about where things are going. Where my journey might continue to lead. With a completed novel in my back pocket, a short story collection I'm looking to publish this Fall, and a second novel nearing completion, this journey isn't coming to an end any time soon. And while there's no destination in sight, I'm enjoying every mile that passes, every little accomplishment I tick off, every cherished reader who reaches out or discovers my work for the first time.
Because writing is ultimately about connecting with others. Displaying a vision and realizing it's shared. To those who have been a part of my journey, whether from the beginning or just in moments along the way, thank you. For sharing that vision, for entering these worlds, and breathing life into the characters I've created. And for the encouragement to keep me coming back to that blank page, one day at a time. And to those who may be considering starting their own journey, enjoy and celebrate every milestone along the way.