An excellent, inspiring article by Ashlyn Chase. You don’t want to miss this one!
I’ve always been extremely creative. I missed the clues that I might enjoy writing…like loving my creative writing class in high school and even earning an A+ from a tough teacher, but like I said—Duh. I had already decided to pursue fine art, so I stubbornly stuck to that goal. But at Mass College of Art I discovered there were far more talented people than I, and we were all going to starve. LOL
Fast forward several years with twists and turns like marriage, birth, divorce, and I became an RN to put food on the table. In nursing, creativity is highly discouraged by doctors who want you to follow their orders to the letter. Sheesh. I needed an outlet!
I took a course in screenwriting. That taught me how to tell stories, but Hollywood passed on my romantic comedies. Oh well. I lived closer to New York, anyway. So I turned my ‘movies’ into novels and found where I fit in.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Well behaved women rarely make history.” Well, I don’t have to worry about that! I monitored my reading tastes to see what I might like to spend months writing. (Novels are a hellova lot longer and more difficult to write than screenplays.) I discovered that I liked reading the hot stuff! When I accepted this (and stopped blushing) I tried writing a steambath of a novel.
Back in the early part of this century, traditional publishers held the reigns. ebooks were almost unheard of. I had joined RWA (Romance Writers of America) and was trying the traditional route along with everyone else. I received a lot of good advice and continued to practice my craft, while submitting my first finished novel and getting a slew of rejection letters. Many self-published authors have missed this awesome opportunity to thicken their skin. There’s nothing like being told, ‘Thanks but no thanks’ to boost your self-esteem. (Pass the chocolate, please.)
Anyway, a fellow author who liked my writing but knew what I was up against, mentioned I might try epublishing. I didn’t know what it was. Heck, nobody did back in 2002. So, I looked into it and researched a few electronic publishers. I narrowed it down to three and submitted my manuscript. (Not the story that was rejected everywhere. By then I had taken the hint.) But I used what I’d learned from it and wrote a better book. I wasn’t letting rejection discourage me.
My ego finally got a boost when all three epublishers offered contracts! Oh my goodness. I picked one and began publishing. Let’s fast forward again. My ebooks were doing well. Reviews were positive and my romantic comedies were being nominated for (and winning) awards! I was having fun! Cool. I got from my readers what I didn’t get from a lot of my fellow writers. Respect. Epublished authors at the time were considered inferior. Erotica authors were considered the red-headed stepchildren. I was both.
Time to fast forward again. I kept trying to find a publisher that would put my books on the shelves at Barnes and Noble, make bookmarks for me, contract non-English translations…in other words, someone to make me world famous. LOL. I’m nothing if not a big dreamer. But it’s a funny thing about dreams. They won’t come true if you let them go. Eventually I wound up in the right place at the right time with the right idea. Lo and behold, I received “the call!” Yes. Editors used to call, not email. Some still do.
In 2010 my first mass market paperback came out. It was the start of a series. The series did well and garnered a spin-off series. The spin-off did well and they contracted another spin-off! Okay…we’re nine books into this thing (as of the August 1st 2017 release, Never Dare a Dragon.)
Are we done? Not by a long shot. I’m calling my Sourcebooks titles “The series that never ends.” I’m working on book 2 of another spin-off now. I’ll give you the run-down in easily digestible bites.
Strange Neighbors – the name of the book and series that started it all. Book 2 is The Werewolf Upstairs and book 3 is The Vampire Next Door.
1st Spin off series: Flirting with Fangs. Book 1 is Flirting Under a Full Moon; Book 2 is How to Date a Dragon; Book 3 is Kissing with Fangs.
2nd Spin off series: Boston Dragons. Book 1 is I Dream of Dragons; Book 2 is My Wild Irish Dragon; and book 3 is Never Dare a Dragon. Here, we’re up to date—publishing-wise.
3rd spin off series under contract: Phoenix Brothers. Book 1 is Hooked on a Phoenix. Finished and sent to my editor, waiting for the dreaded red pen. And what am I working on now? Book 2. Title? I don’t really know yet. I’m calling it Wing-men. I’ve rarely kept the titles I started with, so I’ll have to get back to you on that.
By the titles alone, I hope you can tell what I write. Light paranormal romance. And I’m not just an epublished or traditionally published author. Now I’m an Indie author too. The rights to several of my old epublished books have reverted to me. So, I’m updating, rewriting, and rereleasing many of these books, independently.
The roller coaster ride continues. I have an agent next to me now. She keeps me from screaming too loud or demanding the ride stop, because I can’t take it anymore.
Advice to the newbie… Yikes! Are you sure you want to do this? If no one can talk you out of it, no matter how many sensible arguments they throw at you, you just might make it. Ignore the haters and hang in there.
And if you’d like some company, I’ve started a wonderful conference for readers and writers that takes place in New England, smack dab in the middle of foliage season!
Wow…I’ve always been fascinated with New England. What a wonderful conference…I’d love to come. Maybe I’ll plan to do that.
Thanks so much for joining me today, Ashlyn!
Find Ashlyn here: