I have been asked dozens of times, "How did you do it?" By "it" people mean how did I become a signed and bestselling author with an amazing publisher and a producer working to get my young adult fantasy series, The Necoh Saga, made into major motion pictures.
People are often shocked that my response isn't a giggle coupled with, "It just happened!" Instead I tell them that I hustled my ass the entire way and I'm still hustling!
If you're wondering, "What does she mean by hustling?" I'll tell you...
First, I joined a critique group. We exchanged 20 pages from our novels every other week. The other girls in the group had already written their novels. I was the only one writing as we went along. With their help and support, I finished my first novel, Grishma, within six months. I spent countless late night hours writing and editing my work. I also spent hours reading articles and blogs about writing, publishing your first novel, how to find a publisher, etc.
While working on Grishma, I got on my Twitter account and began following other young adult fantasy authors and publishers who specialized in young adult fantasy. Through an amazing author friend, Skyla Madi, I found Limitless Publishing. She linked us in a tweet and within a week, I had signed a contract for a three-book deal for The Necoh Saga.
After signing my contract, I got right to work on my second novel, Ayla. In between working as an Early Childhood Special Education teacher, writing, and editing, I knew I needed to get started on self-promotion. I tweeted regularly, set up a Facebook author page, made connections with other authors, and created a website. I also scoured the web and looked for bloggers that might be interested in reviewing my books. This took a lot of time! Seriously, I spent hours and hours and hours!
With the release of my second book, I began to study the sales of my books and what the latest trends were in the literary world. My publisher also noted that the hottest genre had changed to contemporary romance and sports romance. So I thought, why not? I took a break from The Necoh Saga and started on Impassioned, the first book in The Hard Love series. While working on Impassioned, I continued to tweet, post regularly on Facebook, and connect with people reading my books. I also began looking for an entertainment lawyer and for producers interested in optioning The Necoh Saga for film.
Ever heard the saying, "It isn't what you know, it's who you know?" Thanks to my Twitter friend Dory Benami, I found an outstanding entertainment lawyer, Matt Jacobs.
Then, I changed my focus to finding a producer. After speaking with everyone from John J. Kelly, the executive producer of the upcoming mega blockbuster, Divergent, to Mark Ordesky, who is famous for his work on The Lord of the Rings films, to virtually unknown independent filmmakers, I found the perfect producer for my project! Markus Goerg, from Heroes and Villains Entertainment. His excitement for The Necoh Saga rivals my own and I couldn't have found a more marvelous person and company to work with!
So, at this point, lot of people would say, "You did it! Now you can take a break, right?" Wrong! I'm still hustling! This week, in addition to serving as an Intensive Intervention Teacher for Children with Exceptional Needs, I've worked on the third novel in The Necoh Saga, created over 20 different promotional banners and pictures for the release of Impassioned, tweeted and posted updates about my books, writing process, etc. multiple times a day, wrote extended synopses for Grishma and Ayla, completed an interview for an author spotlight on an awesome blogger's website, spoke with my author friend Apryl Baker about the crazy idea that some authors think they can get their book published and not have to do anything to promote it, and setup an upcoming book signing event. My slate for next week is already filling up as well.
What's the moral of this post? If you're a writer who has yet to be published or a bestselling author, you need to hustle to ensure success! Do your research, become a "Social Media Queen" (as my husband so lovingly refers to me as), and never stop hustling!