It Was Ten Years Ago, Today...
On the 8th August 2011, five days shy of my 30th birthday, I pressed 'publish' on Amazon for the very first time... and vanished!
(Sorry, couldn't resist a nod to Quantum Leap, there).
Five pen names - two of which have been abandoned completely; two of which are on hiatus for the moment.
26 books - most of which are novelettes/novellas.
So, what have I learned?
I have learned, I am terrible at marketing. Absolutely terrible. I've never been comfortable with that side of being an indie author. I am trying to change that, though. I'm only now just starting to grow my mailing list after completely ballsing up my first attempt, years ago.
In fact, I'm treating my next publication as if I'm new to self-publishing. I'm following advice from the people who know what they're doing, and actually implementing the changes.
Another lesson learned, and dealt with, to a certain degree, is accountability. It is so easy, as a self-published writer, to succumb to procrastination when it comes to deadlines and finishing manuscripts in the first place. My computer is full of unfinished stories about pensioner detectives of the supernatural, or survivors of Lovecraftian-type monster attacks. Will they ever see the light of day? Who knows? I hope so.
Back to accountability: In late 2019, I met another writer (hello, m'dear!) who has become a very good friend. We often send each other our work to look over, critique, help with stumbling blocks, etc. In fact, it's thanks to them, that my vampire novel, Jockula, hasn't been abandoned and will be published within the next few years. Also, I'm utterly jealous of their writing skills (they had the audacity to win an award or two for their work and very recently had one of their short stories accepted for publication), so that's motivated me to up my game, considerably.
A third lesson learnt is to not be so down on my own work. This, I suppose, ties into the marketing issue already mentioned. Spurred on by the aforementioned jealousy of m'friend, whose background is in writing plays, I wrote a short one-act play in early 2020, and actually sent it off to be considered by a theatrical group in Australia. My play was short-listed! But... the pandemic hit and theatres closed, and the project was abandoned. However, the group got in contact later in the year and offered me the opportunity to write an audio drama script for their new project. That turned out to be 'Grimloch'. I must admit, that was a big boost to my self-esteem that a) my play had been short-listed in the first instance, and b) the Grimloch team had liked my writing enough to seek me out for their new project.
I've also recently entered two writing competitions for the first time ever, which is exciting and nerve-wracking in equal measure.
So, what will the next ten years bring? What will I have published, or be doing, on the brink of my 50th birthday? As The Curator once said, in Doctor Who, "Who Nose?" I know I'm going to be publishing two volumes of weird short stories in the near-future (Volume 1 will be available from 4th Oct 2021 with Volume 2 coming in 2022), and then I'll be focusing on Jockula - I honestly can't wait until it's finally published and the titular character is introduced to the world.
If you ever bought, downloaded or reviewed any of my work, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Sometimes it's quite scary seeing something you've created out there - you wonder - hope - that someone, even just one person, will take enjoyment from it. I hope I keep creating content that entertains you.
See you back here in ten years, for my 20th anniversary as a writer (or, you know, you can just come back next time I put up a new blog post!)