It's hard to believe the year is already over! Today I want to take a moment to look back at 2014, one of the best years of my life -- which is surprising considering the previous year was one of my worst.
Most people don’t know this, but I was incredibly depressed in 2013. I hid it pretty well (I think?) but it was a rough time in my life. There were days when I could barely get out of bed. I had zero desire to write. I pushed people away, including my friends and family. Some days I just grabbed my dogs and cried into their fur for hours.
It was a dark time, but instead of letting that depression take over I decided to make a few changes on both a personal and professional level. And as 2014 dawned, I resolved to take control of my life again.
2014 was the year I decided I didn’t give a crap if I ever got traditionally published or not. I’d been trying for over 2 years at that point with no success (despite the hard work of my agent) and I was burnt out. But I had faith in my writing and my stories, and I had friends who were successful with self publishing, so I started to look into other paths.
For NaNoWriMo 2013 I wrote a book just for fun and just for me, and it made me remember the joy I’d once felt while writing. In 2014 I wanted to self publish it as New Adult romance, but I was hesitant. I worried I was making a huge mistake, and that if I did this I’d never be able to sell a book the traditional way. Also, up until that point I’d considered myself only a YA science fiction/fantasy writer, and worried switching to a different genre and age group would be a problem. I did a ton of research, asked a bazillion questions, discussed things with my agent, and ultimately took the plunge.
That book, More Than Music, came out in June 2014 and completely changed my life. I became a debut author, achieving one of my life’s biggest dreams. It sold thousands of copies, which baffled me because it meant that strangers were buying my books and not just people I knew. I learned a lot, made a ton of mistakes, and discovered there is no greater feeling than connecting with readers and hearing they loved your book and are excited for your next one.
Then a crazy thing happened: my agent sold one of my YA science fiction books, plus a sequel. Turns out, self publishing a New Adult romance had not barred me from traditional publishing at all. If anything, it was the opposite: editors liked my New Adult book, and they appreciated that I was building an audience of readers on my own. It’s amazing how once I gave up on my dream of selling a book to a publisher it actually came true.
With my love of writing reinvigorated I was super productive in the second half of 2014. I wrote and published More Than Exes, wrote More Than Comics, and started three other books. On a personal level, I became much happier too, and every area of my life greatly improved. Thanks to hard work, lots of support from others, and some good luck, I managed to crawl out of my dark cave of depression and create the life I wanted.
So thank you to everyone who read my books (even if you didn’t like them), everyone who supported me in my decisions this year, everyone who gave me advice or listened to me whine or answered my questions, and everyone who went on this amazing journey with me. I couldn’t have done it without all of you, and I can't wait to see what 2015 brings.