NB: I started writing this just after I’d finished, but only just finished writing it.

Today is a strange day. After eleven years and millions of words (yes, really), I have finished the What Happens in… series.

Everyone always thinks finishing a book is a happy occasion, and while it is, it’s often bittersweet. There’s a grieving period involved. After all, you’ve dedicated months (or more often than not, years) to your work in progress. For it to no longer need you is unsettling and confusing. What will you do now?

That being said, even if you do know what you want to do next, it can still feel strange to have these people that have lived inside your head for so long not need to be there anymore.

It leaves an empty space in your mind, one that must be filled by the next project. As many of you already know, I have that next project—Hollywood Gossip.

I have lots of things planned for Tate and Jack, and I’m excited to share them with you.

My first step—and the biggest difference between Hollywood Gossip and What Happens in…—is drafting every book in the series back-to-back. This means I should be able to release much faster.

It will mean slowing down on my release schedule for a few months, but I think I’ve done pretty well to release five books in twelve months. That was never my plan. But after the year that 2019 has shaped up to be, I’ve buried myself in my books to escape reality even more so than usual.

After the year that 2019 has been, I need some downtime. The next few months will be spent writing, training our puppy Millie, and focusing on my health and day job. It’ll also be spent celebrating, because I truly believe that we should celebrate the little things.

Millie the west highland terrier
You can follow her on Instagram: @WestHighlandMillie

I have big things coming up too: a work trip to Mallorca, and mine and Boyfriend’s ten-year anniversary. While we’re not married, we are very much an old married couple in every sense of the term. I wouldn’t be here without him, and I wouldn’t be able to function without him. He planted the suggestion that I should self publish several years ago. Back then, I still carried the prejudice that it was vanity publishing. Oh, how things change.

The prejudice around self pub still prevails in many places—traditionally published friends of mine get invited more speaking opportunities because they have a publisher to make them look more legitimate.

Book sales and online rankings only account for so much in a lot of people’s heads. 

There’s nothing I can do about that, of course. I’m not here to convince anyone that my way of operating is for them. It’s a lot of work, and it really isn’t for most people.

But then, people don’t always know what they sign up for when they traditionally publish either. It’s part of why I published Writing Myths. It’s also why I like to share articles about the realities of royalties on my social media. It’s such a dumb system.

Don’t get me wrong, Amazon isn’t infallible—I regularly get my UK royalties late, which is 99% of my royalties—but at least the money my book makes only goes to me and the distributor, which means I make a whole lot more than someone who publishes traditionally and could make anything from 50% to as little as 1% for every copy sold. Things like that are part of why I stopped shopping at discount book shops like The Works. I feel too guilty about how little authors earn after putting all that work in.

You do put in more work when you go indie, though.

No matter how you publish, you end up working for less than minimum wage. You have to be in it either as a hobbyist who doesn’t care about the money, or for the long haul if you want to receive any reader or critical acclaim, and of course, money.

Which camp am I in? I think you know that already. Writing is my life and always has been. It’s why I’ve hidden in it these last seven months. I wouldn’t have survived without it. That, and a more efficient planning process, is how I’ve published so much this year. 

But that’s a post for another day and another blog.

In the meantime, I’m off to get Millie cuddles while reading a good book. If you’ve got any recommendations, let me know in the comments!

Happy reading 🙂