In a few weeks, I’m launching my next book in the UltraSecurity Series: Dama X. It’s been three years since my first book, A Surefire Way, released and over a year since I wrote an UltraSecurity short story for an anthology, A Very Paranormal Holiday.
This is the era of quick book releases. If you don’t have several books out a year then you’re irrelevant, forgotten, not hitting a best selling lists. Readers’ attention spans are limited. Their memories are short—and with good reason. The internet, primarily social media, hits them everyday with free books, books sales, debut books, new best sellers. Everyday they open their email to author newsletters, open Facebook to authors selling their books, and open a web browser to find ads popping up from Amazon for “also bought”: If you like this author, then try this one. Readers who bought this book, also bought this book.
It’s a full-time job to market a book. It’s a full-time job to write the book. Then having a day job on top of everything … well, you get the picture. It’s easy for an author to fall down the rabbit hole of self-doubt when seeing book after book being released by other authors, who have other jobs and even children. I started to wonder if something was wrong with me. Maybe I’m not cut out for this work.
But, no. That’s not it, because if I wasn’t writing, I’d be … I don’t even want to think about it because it isn’t possible for me not to be writing. I’ve been writing stories since I was a child and I’m not stopping now.
As my husband said to me, “It takes as long as it takes.”
My goal isn’t to hit the best selling list—right now. My goal is to write and publish books I’d like to read and offer a different type of story to readers. When I released A Surefire Way, I wasn’t sure if there would be a market for it. I used it as a testing ground to see if there were readers for this superhero romance genre.
Happily, I found there was.
I started Dama X at the end of 2013. I spent nearly two years writing and rewriting, researching, plotting with critique partners, and then rewriting more. In October 2015 I finished the draft and sent it to my critique partners. I inputted their feedback and sent it to an editor for line edits. Unfortunately, the editor had health issues, which bumped our deadline, but she did a bang-up job and returned the edits to me at the end of April adding several substantive editorial comments, which caused more rewriting to many chapters and made the story even stronger. (It’s interesting how different readers find different things to address within the story!)
Once again, I sent the manuscript to my critique partners to beta read and ensure I didn’t introduce any other errors. I received their comments this weekend and am re-reading the story and making their suggested changes. I also asked a Spanish-speaking friend, whose family is from Mexico where part of the story takes place, to check the Spanish phrases used by my characters. Next week, it goes to the proofreader for one last review before publishing it.
Phew! A lot of work goes into building a book. It really takes a village to publish one—and I’m grateful for the effort of my critique partners and beta readers for seeing me through to the end.
I’m releasing my short story from the anthology as a standalone right after Dama X. I’ll do some promotion; however, over the past three years, I’ve learned my limitations. I can’t write, work my day job, and market at the same time. Marketing takes precious time away from my current goal—to write and publish books. It may not be what the industry expects, but that’s okay. There will always be a time to market my books; there will always be opportunities to focus on marketing. But I first need to create quality stories to market.
Once the July releases are over, I’m working on the next UltraSecurity book, Mistress of Alternate Routes, half the first draft is written and the story plotted.
It’s shaping up to be an exciting summer. And I’ve never been happier to allow myself to just write.