Twelve months ago I was in a bad place. The New Year was looming, I had some personal problems that were kicking my behind, and my writing career was not progressing the way I'd hoped. Then, on Jan 2nd, I received a late night phone call from America. It was Joni Labaqui from the Writers of the Future Contest. The story I had entered almost four months previous (and which, to be honest, I had forgotten about) had reached the final 8 of the quarter. Ms Labaqui assured me that my story was really good and that I was a talented writer. I almost cried. As it happens, the story didn't make the all-important Final 3 but shortly after I went on to sell it to Realms of Fantasy Magazine*. [*That's another story.]
Anyhoo, this episode taught me a couple of things. One, I can do this. I've "got the chops", as they say. Two, I started telling myself to stop waiting around for things to happen. Make your own opportunities. At the time, I didn't quite know what that meant. Surely a writer has to wait for that all-important publishing deal, right? That was my dream, wasn't it? Since the age of ten I'd been dreaming of being a published full-time writer just like my hero Stephen King. (Yeah, I read Firestarter, Pet Semetary, Cujo and Thinner about that time - go figure.) But back in January 2011, I had an epiphany moment.
Sometimes, we have to adapt our dreams.
I'd been following the blog of Mr Joe Konrath and his trailblazing adventures in the world of self-publishing (or indie publishing for want of a better term, but to be honest the terminology is unimportant). Things were changing. The publishing world was changing. Hell, the world was changing. With the advent of ereaders like the Kindle, the Nook and the Sony Reader, the way people read was changing - and at the same time, the way writers got published was changing, too. Writers suddenly had the autonomy and the freedom to write what they wanted and publish it how and when they wanted. With publishing platforms like Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords, writers were able to reach potentially vast audiences. I'm not going to detail the various arguements for or against self-publishing because, in the end, every writer has to weigh up the pros and cons for themselves and make a choice. Personally, I am proud to say that since March 2011 when I self-published my first ebook, I have sold over 20,000 ebooks. In the process, I've received really good reviews, some great feedback from readers, and most importantly, I've been given a real sense of purpose in my writing. I can't wait to get the next book out to readers. And the next one after that.
I've never felt more excited about doing the thing I love most.
May I wish you all a happy and prosperous 2012! May all your dreams come true.