Today marks an important date to me, and not just because I released Born a Queen yesterday.
One year ago at 6 PM, I got off work at my seasonal position and, as I’d told the assistant manager at the time, I quietly left with no intention of ever going back due to the mess the job had been. I was frustrated and infuriated, and I’d had a random idea bouncing around my head for the previous two days that was distracting me from my project I had in mind for Nanowrimo 2016 (National Novel Writer’s Month, for the unfamiliar), so at 7 PM I started writing the basic idea, just to get it out of my head.
I wrote 1,711 words that day. That was the original opening of Ancient Ruins, which was simply titled ‘Dungeon Story’ or some such at the time. This wasn’t a story intended to be published, it was the product of pure frustration and a rather dark outlook at the time. I look back and am amazed, though, for that story turned into something almost unimaginable to me. I’ve written three books, four if you count Born a Queen‘s re-write.
I only decided to publish Ancient Ruins sometime toward the end of November, after I’d essentially finished the book, save for my editing passes. You’d be amazed at how incredibly bad the book was in sections, and how much had to be revised. Names changed, plots warped… it was an interesting time. Yet even so, I didn’t have any clue what what in store for me. See, I did my research on self-publishing, and according to everyone I’d seen talk about it online, I was told to expect to sell 10-20 copies of my book in the first 30 days, if I had a hit on my hands. Since I told my friends and family about the launch on January 18th, I expected that most of the 5 sales I got that day were them. I only had about 15 people in the email chain I told about it, so that was that.
I’d already started Spells of Old on January 12th, but I dawdled a little, watching the first sales trickle in happily. I can’t tell you how incredibly excited I was the first day I got 10 sales in a single day. I couldn’t believe it when I realized that, as of the end of January, Ancient Ruins had sold 78 copies. That was 5 times the number of people who I’d told about the book, just about. It was almost 4 times the number of books I’d expected to sell in the first 30 days, in the first 2 weeks.
February 7th, I believe, everything changed for me. Sales started to climb, and I was in shock, trying to figure out what had happened. I sold about 1500 books that month, and with all the reviews coming in I started to panic, because I didn’t expect that kind of success, not with my first novel. I tried to find advice, especially when an audiobook producer contacted me about getting Ancient Ruins recorded as an audiobook. I found my advice, and put my nose to the grindstone, trying to get out Spells of Old, then Halls of Power. Finally, we have Born a Queen, an older story that’s gone through a veritable furnace of reworking. It’d be recognizable to someone who read the original, but major elements that worked when it was written for me and no one else have been changed.
This past year has changed my life entirely. In all honesty, I expected until that point to be working a series of dead-end jobs for the remainder of my life. All of you readers have changed my life.