So, I know. It’s been approximately 23,392 years since I’ve posted here. I didn’t mean to stop blogging, but one day, I realized I hadn’t thought about The Preppy Leopard for some time.
There’s the standard stable of excuses–I started a new job. I started helping my church with some of their social media and blogging. I tore my ACL and had surgery. I went to Reykjavik and then Madrid and then Paris then Munich then Rome.
For people who know me in real life, this is a bit of old news. I sold my first book a few years back to an indie publishing house, and it didn’t do as well as I’d hoped. (There was a lot I wasn’t happy with during that whole process, but it definitely helped me learn what works and what doesn’t work.)
That was a hard lesson for me to learn. Most things I’ve done in my life–success has always come easy. You work hard; you produce quality products; and people respond.
I learned quickly that publishing was not like that. So much of it is luck and timing and the right person reading your book at the right time.
Last month, I did something really scary. I published a second book on Amazon. On my own. Using my own money.
There used to be a bit of a stigma about self-publishing in the writing world. I know I thought that as I went through my English program at GMU. Self-published authors were the ones who weren’t good enough to land an agent/traditional publisher.
But, man, times have changed. It’s a different world–where Amazon is king and Bookbub is the king maker. If you can get your book on a Bookbub list and then hit high categories on Amazon, success is almost guaranteed. On Amazon, no one can tell which books are traditional and which are self-published unless you squint and read the book’s details down at the bottom. Publishers no longer control the gates to Border’s and Barnes & Noble because…those stores really don’t exist anymore. (There are no more mega-chain bookstores where I live–and I live in a huge suburban area right outside of DC.)
I digress. I might write more about the publishing world at a later date, but really, today, I wanted to tell you about my books.
They’re fluffy, happy, YA books. I pitched the first as Gossip Girl (only with celebrities), and I was inspired by tabloids (of all places)! As someone who grew up with Lindsay Lohan (metaphorically, obviously) and loved all her movies from The Parent Trap to Mean Girls, I was so interested how someone as bright, beautiful, and talented as she was could spiral downward so quickly. (And, she’s not the only one. Then there’s Britney Spears and Amanda Bynes and all the others who crashed and burned spectacularly.)
I wanted to write that story–about a girl who has everything and gets her fifteen minutes of fame…what happens to her? What scenario could propel her to spiral down?
The next book is the one I published on my own. It’s not a direct sequel, but while it does contain characters from the first book, I wrote the sequel to standalone and have a complete story by itself.
The inspiration behind this one was a little different. I loved cheesy teen movies growing up (and I still do!)–ones like She’s All That or Mean Girls. In almost every single movie, the romantic plot is about a girl who might be unpopular or awkward or wears glasses (the horror!) and therefore, no one loves her. But fate intervenes, and the quarterback falls for her, and by the end of the movie, he’s dumped his cheerleader girlfriend and then lives happily ever after with the nerdy girl.
I was always curious in what happened to that cheerleader. After every one else gets their happy ending, what kind of ending does she get? She lost her boyfriend; she was probably humiliated in some way (they always are in movies); and the social ramifications are huge in high school land.
This is a big part of my life now–I hope to keep writing and sharing stories with the world, but the idea of self-promoting seems so foreign to me! (My parents always taught me to let others praise you before you praise yourself.) But, I think there’s a good balance to find–sharing your passion with people isn’t wrong. (And it’s not like I’m standing here telling you I’m the best author ever–I’m far from it!)
I know some of you have been blog friends since the days of Ruby Woo Loves You. Some of you came here from my epic fridge tutorial. And some of you have become Instagram and Snapchat and even Facebook friends.
There are few things you could do that would mean the world (THE ENTIRE WORLD!) to me:
- Sign up for my mailing list. This isn’t something I’ll ever use to spam you (or sell to a third party), but instead, I will use it to let you know when new books are coming out, share freebies like short stories or previews, or share some of my current favorite reads with you. Building a good mailing list is a HUGE foundation for a self-published author, and I hope to make it into one of my strongest marketing tools.
- Like my Facebook page. I’ll be sharing more frequent updates here about signings or sales. (Also, it makes me more legit when I’m applying to different signing events or when other authors check out my page.)
- Review, review, review! Reviews on Amazon are HUGE for indie authors. Not only does it influence new readers to check out books from an author they don’t know, but the number of reviews has a huge impact on the kinds of promotion I can do. Even a star rating and a few words count towards the ultimate total. (Goodreads reviews are great too, but not as great as Amazon!)
- Then, obviously, the last one, is the almighty one-click buy on Amazon. Buy the books–I hope you love them!