A year ago today, my debut full-length novel, Searching for Steven was released. Nine months later, the follow-up in the series, Getting Over Gary came out. In August this year, the final book in the trilogy – Dreaming About Daran – will be released. Crikey! That’s three full-length novels in the space of fourteen months! Actually, it’s three full-length novels and a novella in the space of fifteen!
It’s been a funny old fifteen months. Here’s a few writing highs and lows during that time:
The launch of every single book!
Seeing my books materialise on my Kindle
Having Searching for Steven go to number 399 in the Kindle chart. It was brief and it was due to being on a BookBub promotion, but it was still amazing!
Having incredible feedback from friends and family who loved Steven and couldn’t wait for Gary to be launched
Getting feedback that readers also loved Gary. In many cases, they loved him even more than Steven
Reviews rolling in at 5-star from people I don’t know
Having my writing compared to the work of the amazing Jill Mansell!
Hosting a launch party for Steven attended by loads of family and friends
Meeting new writing friends like Helen Reynolds and Dorinda Cass
Speaking at four library events and at Scarborough Writers’ Circle
A problem at the printers meaning I had no copies of Steven for my launch party
A problem with the proof-reading on Gary meaning that it was originally launched with at least 25 typos in it. Twenty-five! I was mortified. These have thankfully all been sorted out now, but I’d ordered and paid for a stock of the original books and don’t know what to do with them
Struggling to find time to write alongside a demanding day job
Thankfully, as you can see, there are more highs than lows. Phew!
Two days before Steven was launched last year, I lost my job. It put a massive dampner on the launch for me because it was so unexpected. Fortunately, I was able to secure another role to start as soon as my notice period was over, so the financial panic was over. I lost that replacement job in April so I’ve actually reached my one-year anniversary in the same situation I was in on launch day. Didn’t see that one coming!
Every cloud has a silver lining, though. For a few years now, I’ve had a very part-time job as an internal verifier (IV) on the CIPD qualification (the professional qualification for people in HR careers) for a distance learning company. I won’t bore you with the details of how it came about, but I’ve been very fortunate in securing the role of tutor with the same company. It’s a very different way of working because I need to tutor at weekends in Birmingham and London which takes me away from the family, but it means I am around during school holidays. I also mark assignments and provide email guidance to students as and when submissions come through. On its own, it might not bring in enough money to match the salary I had, but I’ve also been given some additional work, designing some new materials and re-writing some existing ones. This extra work does bring in enough to match my salary, but for a lesser investment in time.
I’ve massively struggled to fit in time to write since the launch of Steven. The new job I secured was demanding and very hard to switch off from. Now, I have the luxury of time. Yes, I’m away roughly two out of every five weekends, but I have time during the week to write.
The reality is that we have a new puppy so my days seem to be pretty much spent Ella-sitting! When she settles down, I’ll hopefully spend more time writing than being in and out of the garden for toilet stops (the puppy; not me!), fighting her off my laptop, and having her curled up asleep on my knee.