On March 11, 2013, I gave up.
I had written a book. I’d started brainstorming the book years earlier as I was driving down route 58 in Okinawa, Japan, with a one year old and a newborn in the backseat of my mommy van. It had taken years, literally, for me to work on it in stolen pieces and bits of time as a stay-at-home mom, and I considered it finally finished in November 2012. I went out on a limb and started sending query letters to agents, attempting to convince them that there was a market for Christian chick lit, that my book would be worth their time and effort, and that there was something valuable in what I’d done.
I heard a whole lot of nothing from all those agents I sent letters to. I heard some rejections, too. Very nice rejections, with one agent going so far as to say that she loved the first chapter but that it would be a big risk in a market full of more traditional Christian romance. Christian chick lit isn’t really a money-generating market, and when it’s written by a stay-at-home mom without a following of thousands of fans BEFORE publication? It’s even less attractive. (Even if they liked my writing!)
In the meantime, I had written two more books following characters from the first book. Wow! I sent my kids off to school and discovered that I have time on my hands! And I got a little antsy. Traditional publishing is amazing, and I would love the chance to go that route one of these days. But it wasn’t working out like I had hoped for with my first book, so I took the advice of my wise, sweet husband, who said, “Let’s just do it. Let’s publish it ourselves.”
And so we did. A year ago today, we self-published my first book. I told him that if at least ten people bought it, I would release the second. Then if at least ten bought that, I’d release the third. And maybe, just maybe, I’d think about more.
Well, shock of all shocks, more than ten people read the first book! (Hey, I’m still surprised, y’all!) As word spread, book sales took off, and Wes and I were so pleasantly shocked to see that my fun homemaker’s hobby was something that other people could enjoy.
One year and nine books later, I’m still having more fun than I could have ever imagined when I first dreamt up Emily Fisher and her friends back in Okinawa, driving my mommy van with two tiny babies in the backseat.
I write this today to celebrate an AMAZING year. And I write this to thank YOU for reading and for enjoying these stories along with me. I’m going to keep writing. I hope you’ll keep on reading for the next year and the next nine books…