One of my readers after hearing a radio interview I did right before Thanksgiving, asked me about my publishing and it inspired me to share with you briefly (at least for now) my journey. I had finished both the Endgame and Forbidden and sent them to different publishers. Two contacted me back, one for each book respectively. One publisher, who loved Forbidden just as it was, wanted me to commit to write a story a month and my contract stated I owed them seven stories and they had rights to my stories for seven years. That seemed like forever and such a quick turn around in writing for someone like myself who works full time. But I was willing to go for it.
The other publisher, loved the Endgame. I was contacted by best selling romance author, Delaney Diamond (most of you were introduced to me from her promotion of my work) and needless to say she and GAP offered me a much better contract and I began publishing with Garden Avenue Press. They didn’t quite love Forbidden as the other publisher but believed in my work enough to publish both the Endgame and Forbidden Trilogies.
Meanwhile I had finished Essence of You and wanted to do an experiment to see what I would enjoy more, self-publish or being published. I released it and was very proud of the little money I earned once released (LOL). I discussed with Delaney and GAP before I did to make sure I wasn’t violating my contract in anyway and they were supportive. In fact, when I told them I wanted to publish quicker than they could release my stories, they agreed and gave me pointers that were extremely helpful. Being published can sometimes mean you finish the manuscript in October and it is not released until March due to other author’s release dates. For instance, Unforgettable Kiss my upcoming release by GAP is not until April 3, 2020 though I am slated to complete manuscript mid-January.
In spite of the length of time between completion of manuscript and release, I like publishing because once I finish a manuscript, I let the publisher make the rest of the decisions in terms of cover, teasers, promos, and how my story should be edited and sit back and wait. I focus on my personal demands.
Self-publish, means I have to make every decision and it can be difficult to juggle what I need to do to publish and my daily life. But I have creative control.
Case in point…
GAP was not a fan of Bakari in Forbidden. Loved Michael in the Endgame, did not like Bakari. I’d originally wrote Bakari in such a way that you really couldn’t tell if he was serious with Kam or playing a dangerous game to get back at Aaron until much later in the book. I wanted my readers to have mixed feelings about him until you understood his brooding and real love. I softened his character for GAP but they still wasn’t sure what to think of Bakari and whether readers would believe in his and Kam’s love. That was tough for me because Forbidden is probably my favorite story (though all are my favorite at the time of writing them, another LOL). It was an emotional story because of my own battle with depression (which I have conquered for the most part) and it’s hard to hear when someone doesn’t love your characters like you do because I absolutely loved Kam and Kari!! (I actually loved Aaron by the end too and I hope to release his story sometime next year for those who wondered what happened between him and Tish when she ran after him in Forbidden Hearts). I had a number of people who read the story prior to GAP and I showed GAP the comments to prove that readers would love the two main leads though it was a taboo love. And we continued on with pretty much all I wanted to keep and still loved my story. In the end, I received more positive critical reviews, including an “A” from Romance in Color, for the Forbidden Trilogy more than my other stories, thus far.
I learned a valuable lesson – that everyone will not like your work and it’s okay. It prepared me for the criticisms I have received since my books have been released. I have waffled on whether to continue writing because it makes the rest of my life more difficult especially when I receive criticism or haven’t really grown in readership. And every time I have that thought, I swear to you God re-inspires me and lets me know to continue and remember that as long as there is one person influenced or who enjoys my work, I have done my job.
I ended the last year of the decade doing something I love and as I enter a new decade I’m hopeful I will be afforded more and more opportunities to write and share my work either through myself, GAP, or whatever God brings my way. And I hope if you’re reading this, you will continue on this journey with me…