Six things I was wrong about six years ago (and Happy Birthday Choc Lit!)

Six things I was wrong about six years ago.

My lovely publisher, Choc Lit is six years old today. Yay! As part of the celebrations, we Choc Lit authors are blogging around the theme of six. I was going to write ‘six reasons I like having Choc Lit as a publisher’, or ‘Six books published by Choc Lit that I love’ *, but decided to write this one instead. Don’t ask me why. It was late at night.

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So here are six things I believed in six years ago, that I’ve subsequently realised are not true:

  • Published writers are more special than normal people

Six years ago self-publishing wasn’t what it was today. Few people did it and people still sniggered at them. And anyway, ebooks were something that happened to Americans. The only way to get published was to get an agent and have a traditional publisher pick up your book. So people who had publishing deals had this aura of WOW about them. Then I joined the RNA with their New Writer’s scheme and actually met these people. They were still pretty wow, but they were also very, very nice. I don’t think I’ve met a community that pays it forward quite as much as romance novelists do (and I’ve lived with nuns!). Published writers are just like all other writers. The only difference is that they’re published.

  • Ebooks aren’t a real thing

I didn’t have an eReader until 2 years ago, which is weird since my first book came out as an ebook four years ago. I didn’t think an ebook could ever replace a ‘real’ book. You couldn’t feel the paper under your fingertips or smell the pages. Now you’d have to prise my Kindle out of my cold dead hands. I prefer it to paper books. I still buy paper books, but those are my keepers.

  • Having an idea is the hardest bit/ I’ll never have another idea for a book

I used to really struggle with the whole ‘ideas for next book’ thing. I used to slowly burn up with envy when people said stuff like ‘I have tons of ideas, the main problem is finding the time to write it all down’. Inspiration strikes so rarely. Now I know that you don’t sit around waiting for inspiration. You grab a piece of  paper (I need paper to think) and write out ideas until you’ve got a story. With practise, you can actually pull a plausible storyline out from a thinnest of ideas. I’m not saying it’s easy or that those books are solid enough to be written. I’m just saying it can be done.

  • Writing books becomes easier

Um … you’d think it would, but it doesn’t. Each book is hard. Each time you get about 20 -30K in you hate the book, you hate the plot, you hate your whole damned life. Each book makes you sweat and cry. But you have to complete it, because a half finished book is just a waste of time. And each time, it works out okay. Some books will be better than others. But none of them are easy to write.

  • If I get a publication contract, I’ll be happy. I won’t want anything else.

Seriously? I can’t believe I thought that! Yeah, I’ve got my contract. Now I want it paperback, thanks. And audiobook, please. And in German. I want my books to be at the top of the charts. All the time. I’ll never be satisfied. I blame the human condition. I bet even JK Rowling wants something more from her writing career.

Of course, I had assumed that published book = loadsa money. I’m not sure why I believed this. Speaking of totally odd thing to believe, see 6 below.

  • Stress makes you thin

I have had extensive experience in this. I can tell you that the high stress, no sleep diet did not make me thin. Where, I ask you, is the justice in that?

So there you have it, my six things that I was wrong about six years ago. How about you? What’s changed for you in the last six years? Come tell us at the #ChocLitParty.

*After much dithering I’d have gone for: Vampire State of Mind, Sweet Nothing, The Flight to Coorah Creek,  Truth or Dare, The Elephant Girl and Untied Kingdom, in case you were interested.

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