Yeah. I've meant to do a best of 2015 post for like a month and it just hasn't happened. Instead, here's a quick* highlight reel of some of my favorite things last year--things I don't want to forget.
2015 was the year where I really, really focused on taking my career to the next level. (Up from...well...not much, really.) There are two main areas that made the hugest difference.
*lol not quick at all
The best thing I did all year toward financial success was to enroll in Mark Dawson's Facebook Ads course. It cost a bit more than I was comfortable with at first (thank God for business credit cards) but I made the expense back in sales (and then some) within the first month after I started implementing his techniques with my Facebook ads.
Understanding how to reach readers who are looking for my types of stories has opened an entire world to me. Emotionally--and financially. Not that I'm, like, rolling in the dolla dolla bills y'all, but I am finally able to contribute toward our bills and that feels fucking fantastic, tbh.
It's worth mentioning, too, that the reason I even discovered Mark's course was because I first signed up for Nick Stephenson's Your First 10k Readers course. Also brilliant information, though more focused on growing a mailing list.
The other biggest game change for me--in this case, for personal writing growth--was my discovery of Margie Lawson and her brilliant (no exaggeration) Master Immersion course. I first purchased a few of her lecture packets (including Writing Body Language and Dialogue Cues, and Empowering Characters' Emotions) and these alone were huge game changers. But when I found out she was holding an intensive locally to me in the DC area? I couldn't believe my luck. And then I went and met Margie (and other wonderful writers) and learned as much as I was able to hold onto--and then I still couldn't believe my luck.
Margie's a psychologist who studied thousands of best selling books and kept track of the techniques that made the writing in those books so strong. She takes all that knowledge and she teaches you these same writing approaches to consider while you're writing (or, more likely, revising) to really, really add polish and originality and sharpness to your prose.
The first book I publish in 2016 will be my first post-Margie book, and I can't freaking wait to share it with my readers <3
(LOL Mark Dawson and Margie Lawson--two people who made the biggest impact on my writing life in 2015--and I've just noticed for the first time while writing this post that their names rhyme, haha.)
Favorite Authors of 2015
- Colleen Hoover. Just always. I doubt I need to even explain why.
- Tarryn Fischer--who hit publish on her latest book last night! F*ck Love. I can't freaking wait to read this puppy (like, hurry the fuck up Amazon, god.) She's got an amazing way with words and description and can tug at my heartstrings like no other.
- Tiffany Reisz. Her Original Sinners series is one of my all-time favorites. I care more about her characters--even the most fucked up ones--than I do about almost any others that I read all year!
- Ella James. Specifically her book, Sloth. Holy hot smut. Like, whoa. But also totally engaging, gut punching character arcs. If you haven't read Sloth, READ IT. (It's free on kindle unlimited, too.)
- Lila Pace. Specifically Asking for It. Whoo, boy. A risky (trigger warning) theme written brilliantly with compassion and some serious freaking steam.
(My process, signings, events, people who are awesome)
- It too me almost the entire year (and is very much thanks in part what I learned with Margie), but I finally came to terms with the fact that I'm not an author who can get a book out every month. I'm in total awe of authors who can kick ass that way! But at this point in my life, I can't reach my own quality standards when I try to bust it out like that. Which isn't to say I won't hit high word counts every day (or at least try)... It's just that my process takes longer.
BUT even saying that, I think I'll have three books out this year (including Vera's story!!) with a possible fourth if I push super hard for it. And I'm okay with that. My career will be a slower build than I'd planned, but I'll also be able to look back in, say, five years, and be proud of what I produced.
(As for these three or four 2016 books I mention, join my mailing list (and get Rock & Release delivered for free!) or Facebook reader group if you want to be the first to know deets!)
- I had my first ever signing at Apollycon in Philly--and it was the absolute best way to kick off the experience. I mean, a huge event to celebrate Jennifer L Armentrout, and I was invited to be a part of it? Oh hell yes. It was fun, I met amazing readers and authors... It's definitely one of my favorite memories of the year.
- I met some truly amazing people. Other authors, readers, business professionals. At conferences, online... Didn't seem to matter the medium, there are genuinely kind and helpful people everywhere in this industry. And the notes I received from readers--especially regarding Truth & Temptation? Gah, I don't even have words for how much every single one meant to me.
Because holy crap this post is long and I haven't even said everything I wanted to say--but here's to my goal of blogging more in 2016 to keep from having a ginormous wrap-up post at the end of the year :)