A lot of people have asked me lately whether I’m still writing.
I can understand why. It’s been around three years since I published Jordan’s Shadow—and I haven’t even blogged or sent out a newsletter for ages. You very seldom even hear from me on Facebook. So no wonder the questions, in an age where most writers put out more than one book every year.
So, if you’re one of the ones who still cares—THANK YOU!!!! I’m so grateful you even remember I’m a writer. And second, here’s the answer: YES!…I think…maybe…I hope.
I’ve been in sort of a weird place about writing for a while now.
Working full-time and having the usual family responsibilities plus being one of the main caretakers for my elderly mother leaves me very little time and energy for anything to do with writing, and for a long time after publishing Summer’s Winter and Jordan’s Shadow, most of my energy went into marketing efforts and outreach on those two books. I got way behind on producing any writing, even though I was trying to limp along. So I decided to stop marketing for a period of time and devote myself to writing. And I’ve genuinely been doing that.
I always intended Summer’s Winter to be a trilogy, and I’ve been tackling book two. (Summer’s Fall. Yep, trouble’s definitely brewing.) I’ve honestly made myself stick to a weekly word count better than in the past.
I’d forgotten, though, how long it takes to write a novel absolutely from scratch, because I’d been working on those two (plus one or two more) for years. I’ve managed about 90,000 words of Summer’s Fall.
But honestly, I’ve had a lot of issues with writing beyond finding time and producing words. My relationship with writing is not what it used to be, and I’m spending a lot of time evaluating my supposed “calling” as a writer. And if I have one, what exactly that means. And could I actually NOT finish this book after spending a couple of years on it and producing about 90,000 words? And how many of those words are actually any good?
I hope to start blogging again, and keeping everyone up to date. And again, if you’re one of the folks who is still interested and has asked, I truly appreciate you! I try to remind myself that writing Jordan’s Shadow seemed impossible, too, but I actually ended up loving the finished book. Here’s hoping!
My guest this week on How I First Published tells of her very interesting decision to move from traditional to indie publishing–and of how many more readers she’s been able to reach through indie. Welcome, Sherri Wilson Johnson! Here’s Sherri’s story.
What was your first published novel?
My first published novel was To Dance Once More. It was traditionally published, but I regained my rights and just re-released it myself as my second Indie title December 12th with a brand new gorgeous cover!
How did that come about?
To Dance Once More was originally traditionally published in 2011. This year, I decided that I wanted to have more control over the pricing in order to make my books in this series more available for readers. I have several friends who have been enjoying being Indie and they helped me every step of the way. I’m so glad I made this decision for these books.
How did this make you feel?
At first, I was nervous of failure. I worried about the stigma that might become attached to my name as a self-published author. But as soon as my first Indie released in September (the sequel to To Dance Once More), it went straight to the Hot New Release list on Amazon and stayed there for thirty days. So all my worries were cast aside. I was thrilled that people were buying my book! Now I realize that we having nothing to fear. We just need to stay positive and not get bogged down by the details or slow days. Just keep writing.
Has it been as good as you expected, or a letdown, or exhausting, for example?
Being published traditionally was a little of all those things. Being published as an Indie has been a great experience so far, although exhausting at times. I’m selling books every day. I enjoy being able to change my pricing when I want to. Just this past week, I did a five-day FREE promotion on Amazon and had over 9,000 downloads. To Dance Once More made it to #1 in Christian Historical Romance in the FREE Kindle store., and was #9 in CHR in the PAID Kindle store after the promotion ended. So I’ve been elated! This has been a better experience for me than my experience with the small publisher I was with because I’ve reached more readers.
Tell us what’s happened with your writing journey since.
Since first being published in 2011, I’ve grown as a writer. I believe you never stop learning and growing. There are so many things to master. The craft. How to market. How to keep your reader coming back for more books in your series. In 2012, I signed with a literary agent. He has been very helpful and is still working to place several of my books. If they do not find a home with a traditional publisher, I will Indie publish them. I’m full of fresh ideas and can’t wait to see what God does with them.
Marriage was the last thing on her mind. Now it may be her only choice.
Debutante Lydia Barrington lives a carefree, protected existence on Live Oaks Plantation in Florida. While her sisters happily prepare for their traditional roles as women and talk of courting, Lydia dreams of adventure and independence. She counts the days until she can leave home to explore the world, to dance with cultured gentlemen, to explore politics and art, to leave behind the confining expectations of her family and community—and her God. Even her friendship with handsome Hamilton Scarbrough isn’t enough to hold her back…until they dance, and her heart considers love.
Confused by her heart’s betrayal, Lydia struggles to gain her independence. Then she overhears a private conversation about a business deal that has everything to do with her future. Now she’s faced with the biggest decision of her life—to concede or to fight. Either choice will require great sacrifice…and, perhaps, countless rewards. In an attempt to escape her imminent destiny, Lydia scrambles to find a solution—at all costs. Amidst the trials that follow, as Lydia runs out of time, she learns the meaning of sacrifice, forgiveness, hope and faith. Stripped of her future, will she concede or fight?
Sherri Wilson Johnson is an Inspirational Romance novelist, a speaker, and a former homeschooling mom who’d rather have laugh lines under her eyes than worry lines across her forehead. She lives in Georgia with her husband, her two children and her Chihuahua, Posey. Her favorite thing to do when she’s not with her family is to curl up with a good book or work on her current work-in-progress. She loves to dream of visiting romantic places and is passionate about the Lord, motherhood, homeschooling, and writing. Sherri is the author of To Dance Once More, Song of the Meadowlark, and To Laugh Once More. She is a columnist with Habits for a Happy Home and Choose NOW Ministries.