I’m not really a blogger, however, I thought I would write something about my journey to publish my first book at the request of one of my Facebook friends!
Let me take you back to April 2017. Now, before this, I’d been on a reading spree, devouring as many novels as I could through my Kindle Unlimited subscription. Low and behold, my first idea for a novel came along. I didn’t tell anyone I was writing it. I just sat down and started it. 10,000 words later, I realised this had the potential to be a full length novel. So, I sent it off to my aunt, who is a writer herself, and asked her what she thought. Considering this was my first real foray into writing a novel, I wanted to make sure I was on the right track. A few days later, I got an email back telling me I was on to something. What did I do? I kept writing. I finished the book on the 10th June. And let me tell you, it was the most incredible feeling I’ve ever had. Not everyone can sit down and write a book from start to finish. It’s a fantasy romance. I’ve always been very much into romance novels and fantasy is one of my favourite genres. I wrote a book that I would want to read essentially.
I was raring to get started on the next one, however, I had a huge event standing in my way. I was in the middle of planning my wedding for the 4th August. A rather important event in one’s life… marrying their best friend and the love of their life. Writing went on the back burner until a couple of weeks before the wedding when I started writing something else for fun, a contemporary, sexy romance (which I’ve never actually finished, but it was a stepping stone for the next steps). I feel like this taught me some lessons about writing and developing characters.
I’ll fast forward to September because between the wedding and the next idea, things were a bit crazy with post wedding business. My new idea landed in my lap and two weeks later, I’d written a novella, but in the midst of trying to finish this, a new book decided pop up in my head. Now, this idea just wouldn’t let me go. The main character practically demanded I write her story. I started this book around the 20th September and I was done by the 10th of October. 73,000 words in a genre I’d never read in nor ever thought I would write in – Sci-Fi. This time I sent this off to my aunt and also my dad, who is into Sci-Fi. In the meantime, I started writing the second book because this idea had now spanned into a trilogy. Not long after sending it, I had feedback. They both loved it, my dad particularly. He told me he’d forgotten it was a first draft and read it like it was a book he’d bought. This blew me away. I know they’re my family, but they’re also very honest and have never been ones for false praise. This spurred me on to keep writing.
Sadly, I found myself stuck not long after this at 30,000 words on the second book. It wasn’t flowing and I was burnt out. I’d been writing non stop for two months. I had to take a break, as much as it killed me not to write. Weeks went by and there was still no joy on the writing front. I was well and truly stuck on book two. So, I did what any good writer should do and read instead. My honeymoon was here and so I downloaded a fair few books onto my kindle app and off we went. Iceland for Christmas! What a treat! We had our whole trip planned out, tours, things to do and see and I was super excited. I wasn’t going to write. I hadn’t even brought my laptop. This was a holiday for just me and him.
Except that’s not quite what happened. It started off well. I read on the bus to and from our tours and we were having a brilliant time. But in the back of my mind, this idea was forming. The single thought going through my head – What would happen if you fell in love with a demon? – and I couldn’t shake it no matter what I did. So, my ever wonderful and loving husband said to me “Sarah, if you need to write, just do it”. And well… I did. Now, I only had my phone with me, so I had to make do. I wasn’t going to let it stop me. I only wrote when we were on the bus and before bed, but by the time we went home just before New Year’s, I’d written 14,000 words of what would become Demon’s Destiny.
This was going to be it. I knew I was on to something. It was my genre down to a tee – Paranormal Romance. The words flowed and I was on a roll. Having had a chat with both my mum and my aunt about it, I realised this had the potential to turn into more than just one book. I could create an entire world if I wanted to and fill it with whatever supernatural creatures I wanted. And that’s pretty much what I did. The next book idea arrived in my head. I was going to tell the love story of two characters I’d introduced in book one and despite not having not yet fully written book one, book two was flying out of my head at an alarming rate. It wasn’t long until I’d finished it and then I finally got around to completing Demon’s Destiny. It was time for book three.
I’d joined a whole bunch of groups on Facebook when I’d started writing the first book in my Sci-Fi trilogy and I discovered in the wonderful group that is – Inner Circle Writers Group, which was set up by my English teacher from school, that he was looking for submissions for some anthologies he was publishing under his small publishing house – Clarendon House Publications. I decided that I was going to dust off a short story I’d written two years prior and finish it so I could submit to the flash fiction anthology. Not long after the deadline, I found my story ‘Is This All There Is?’ had been accepted. I was over the moon. My first publication! AMAZING! Now, the next anthology I thought I’d try my hand at was Sci-Fi. I already had a pre-made world, so why not write something within it. A week later, I’d written a short story set along side my first Sci-Fi book and submitted it. So, come the beginning of April, my second piece of work was accepted and published along side many other fantastic authors, including my very own father! And I was working on book two of my Sci-Fi trilogy again, slowly but surely, I was going to get it done.
Now, in the midst of all this excitement regarding my first publications, book three of my series was proving to be difficult. My original idea wasn’t working for me and I was antsy. I hadn’t written anything for my series and I needed to. Now at this point, I’d already starting forming the idea for what was book four. I had the male lead and he was going to be brilliant. In a moment of clarity, I knew what I had to do. I scrapped my original idea and started writing what would now be book three. This book flowed and it was perfect. And not long after book three was done, I finished the second book in my Sci-Fi trilogy and the new book four came along. I was on a roll!
It was around this time I realised I had three books. The three books I’d decided I needed before I could start publishing. So, it was time for research. I’d already made up my mind to self publish these books so it was time I made sure I knew what I was doing. In mid April, I set up my own publishing house – Twisted Tree Publications. I sent off to the tax man to say I was starting my business and becoming self employed (although, I currently still hold down a full time job) and I applied for a business bank account. I was going to do this right. I set about working out ISBNs, how to be my own publisher and finding a cover artist for my books. There was a lot to do, but I was going to be methodical and get myself ready to publish.
The next month was spent contacting my chosen cover artist, booking in to do the first cover and working out how to format ebooks and paperbacks whilst trying to get book four written. But I came to a sticking point where I’d got the idea for book five. It was perfect. It was going to wrap up the series in the most beautiful way. And the temperamental male lead was demanding I write him. So, I was like fine. Book four was put aside and I smashed out 15,000 words in a short period of time. Then came the SLAM of the gates of my creativity. I was slightly burnt out with all the writing, trying to organise publishing the first book – formatting was a nightmare, writing the blurb was insanely difficult (but I got some help with that), finalising stuff with my cover artist and commissioning the next lot. Did I let this stop me? No. I pushed on through. I ironed out all the kinks and got myself back on track. Book four finally got written and I was happy.
I started dropping teasers for Demon’s Destiny as well as the title reveal. I was gaining some traction and it was exciting. People were loving the teasers and getting hyped over the book. Then the day came when my first cover was dropped on my lap and I just about almost fell off my chair. I was so excited because it meant that my plan to release book one at the end of June was GO! GO! GO! I immediately got it up on pre-order and did a cover reveal. EVERYONE LOVED IT! I was excited as hell. I’d nailed the blurb too – people were interested and wanted to read the book. I really felt like I’d got this. I set up a few promos with newsletters, learnt about how to use AMS (Amazon Marketing) and I was set. The days were counting down and I’d also managed to start working on book 5 again. Soon, I got the back cover for the book and I immediately got onto getting the paperback ready. I ordered the proof and it arrived two days before release day! Only a few minor amendments and it was ready to go.
Finally, the 28th came. I stayed up until midnight and saw it go live on the UK page. I was so excited, yet exhausted. The few pre-orders I’d got dropped and now, I know a few people are reading my book. It’s a crazy feeling. Words cannot describe how totally amazed I am that Demon’s Destiny is finally out after all that hard work! The most exciting part is this is just the beginning. The next book in the series, Vampire’s Kiss, will be out next month.
Thank you to everyone who’s supported me in this journey! I’m hoping beyond hope my book is a success.