So how do I feel 45,000 ebooks later? Grateful. When I consider every difficulty that's gone into my novels. The years of tireless research chasing down the smallest details and the most elusive facts, while struggling to find an agent who would help me traditionally publish. Finding agents, losing agents. Being told the books I wrote were too niche to ever sell more than 100 copies at most. Ha! Bad reviews that made me want to curl up under the covers and never write again. The slings and shots of a few historical fiction authors I once admired who believed that because I was self-published, my work didn't deserve any recognition. Add to that, the never-ending bid for an audience who would appreciate the novels. My promotions of the work are minimal, almost non-existent; I would rather just write and publish. But who can buy a book if the author won't let them know it exists?
Contrasting all those difficulties have been the joys and small victories that come with a writer's life. What do I look forward to most? Emails from readers. Each one still gives me a thrill. The offer of my first translation deal, something that once seemed elusive as a self-published author. The times I've spoken about the books or read to an audience at conferences, libraries, and universities. The connections I've made with fellow writers in the historical fiction community, especially those whose work is so stirring, I know I'll never write anything half as good as they have. The majority of whom are incredibly supportive and share my love of the past. The backing of others outside that group, especially my mom and other loved ones, including a trusted editor and a talented cover artist.
For every person among the naysayers who pushed me to strive for better and every supporter who has encouraged my writing, I have the same two words in reply: