An overnight success.

Sounds good, right?

Yet before I sold over 1.5 million books, I had twelve years of rejection from traditional publishers and two agents who could not sell my work because it was deemed to be too cross-genre (I’m sure it was at the time - I have never been one to fit into a box.) I had several nail-biting occasions when one book or another was taken to final acquisition meetings and then fell at the last hurdle.

I was a wreckMountains of rejection created a rollercoaster of emotions but I just wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Finally, tearing my hair out after facing more rejection, I decided to self-publish my first novel Taunting the Dead. If I could sell a respectable amount of copies myself, maybe then I could get a publisher interested. It was time to find my audience.

Was it the right time, right place when I published my first ebook? Was it luck, or sheer grit and determination never to give up? Was it the fact that if no one ever paid me a penny, I would continue to write regardless? The writing was a part of me.

Even though it is more mainstream now, in 2012 self-publishing was frowned upon. Yet, it’s what some authors do now full-stop. Because they can. There are many choices available. So I really dislike all the stories around most writers being these poor souls who don’t earn money. This isn’t entirely true as I know a lot of people who are making a good living from their words. 

In my opinion, there has never been a better time to be a writer. There are LOTS more opportunities now than there were when I first started to write IF you are willing to put in the work, learn your trade, persevere and keep on going. Because, well… let’s face it, procrastination is easy and working hard isn’t.

You might have heard me mention Start Write Now before. It was going to be a consultancy business. I was aiming to help writers kick fear's ass and see projects through to the end. I had a new six step plan to finishing your first book all lined up. Then I was going to write a series of non-fiction books, launch a writing course, have a Facebook group, a membership club even. It was going to be great! 

But for years I came up with excuse after excuse. The timing was never right. I signed another book deal and was going to be too busy. I didn’t have any free time. I’m not work shy, but do I need to add even more work to my already busy life? Besides, who would want to read my blog? What could I teach anyone?

And then wait! Maybe, if I turned a negative into a positive, I could flip things round a little. Could I plan better to reach more goals? Could I learn new techniques to help me manage my time better? With the right mindset, how much more could I achieve? Could I see this project through to The End?

You get the picture? It was fear that was stopping me. 

Or so I thought....

I've finally realised that it's because I don't want to start a new business alongside my writing. As well, every time I sit down to write about writing, I hate it. I even have 40,000 words of a Start Write Now book written. 

I'm happier writing fiction. I love writing fiction. And I think the moral of this story is that you have to find your own definition of success.

Even though I still wrestle with self-doubt on a daily basis, my message is always about finishing what you start, and never giving up, no matter what. After all, imagine what I would have missed out on had I not pressed ‘publish’ on December 8 2011 and launched Taunting the Dead...

I've added a few blog posts, sharing some of the writing advice and tips that I was going to use for the book, to my blog. The posts are  under the category of Start Write Now.

I'm happier writing fiction. I love writing fiction. And I think the moral of this story is that you have to find your own definition of success.

Click to Tweet