There is nothing better than getting email from a reader saying “I just picked up your book and I can’t put it down!” Except perhaps the same email arriving while eating a big bowl of peanut butter yogurt with Reece’s cups. I woke up to one of those emails this morning and it totally made me grin like an idiot all the way through the boring staff meeting. Well, okay, I admit it, that my grin was exacerbated by fantasies of giving my boss two week’s notice because I had accepted a large, 6 figure advance for Red. Really that apoplectic look was so gratifying…
I’ve been spending a lot of time in fantasy land the last few weeks, even before the development of acquiring Magnificent Laurie McLean as my agent last week. I was sitting in my annual review with my boss and having her look rather pityingly at me and suggesting that I really ought to be working on some more professional development stuff and pick up a few memberships in some professional organizations. When I told her several years ago that I had no intention of being a career scientist, she asked what I wanted to do. I told her I wanted to write for a living. She looked at me like I’d announced I wanted to be a professional belly dancer. So the fact that I’ve done quite a bit on professional development in THAT quadrant over the last few years really wasn’t gonna impress her or be relevant to the conversation. She has, no doubt, completely forgotten about my ever saying I didn’t want to be a professional scientist (read: her flunkie and minion) forever. Hence my jaunt into fantasy land.
But here’s the thing. As I’ve moved forward on my chosen career path, made these successes with self-publishing, those fantasies have moved out of total pipe dream territory and into the realm of the possible. In some cases, even the PROBABLE. It may not happen as fast as I’d like (i.e. by the end of this year), but I fully believe that I will be quitting my evil day job in the next 3 years. With Laurie’s help, maybe sooner. I cannot tell you how intoxicating a thought that is. This is something I’ve been waiting for my WHOLE LIFE. And it is WITHIN MY GRASP because I dared to be a mushroom-eater and strike out with self-publishing.
So if you’re considering it, or even if you haven’t up to now, I suggest you take a little time to educate yourself about the process, the industry from people who are already making a living doing this. Zoe Winters. Amanda Hocking. Joe Konrath. Karen McQuestion. L.J. Sellers. You’ll find much more relevant and accurate information from THEM than from all the naysayers in traditional publishing who are only interested in bashing what they feel threatened by. They’re not flukes. They’re not outliers. They are professionals. And in the end, that’s what we should all aspire to be.
I’m curious – what is your Evil Day Job?
Apart from that, it’s amazing that you have done so well, if only because so many people will have told you that it wasn’t possible. Well done. You are an inspiration. And I love your writing, so I’m sure that’s a bonus 🙂
40 hours a week social science research, plus a half-time college teaching load.
Strangely enough, I wrote a blog post on the same subject today – that’s the second time we’ve done that! Although you are, of course, coming at it from the point of view of having done it, about two thirds/three quarters(?) of the way up the figurative mountain, whereas I am still at the bottom! 🙂
ha! Hey, professional belly dancers resent that remark! hehehe
And thank you for the very flattering shout out! 🙂
And I’ve had the same experience with people not taking the writing thing seriously. Someone Tom works with asked about my writing in a “How’s her little hobby going” sort of way, and Tom informed them that I was almost making more than their small company. That ended that conversation.
That is totally one of those occasions where you wish you had a lapel camera to capture the look on their face…
Oh my gosh Kait! On the first read through of this post I read it as “You actually got the 6 figure advance for Red”. I was so excited for you! I was jumping up and down saying, ” I knew Red was awesome! I knew, it!” Then I realized that now I would have to wait longer for it to come out, and I wont lie, I deflated a little bit. Then I went back to being so freaking happy for you!!!
Then. . . I realized you were talking about the fantasy not happening yet. Not as in, after the meeting you were going to give your 2 weeks notice. Haha! I was dreaming big there with you for a minute! And it was incredibly exciting!
I honestly see you having a very nice career in writing. You are a very talented writer and you’re doing everything right!
I look forward to celebrating in the big wins with you over the web 😉
Haha! See! It’s intoxicating even to other people! ROFL
I’m just loving your life right now! :0)
Gotta admit: Just a little jealous. 🙂
But in a completely “That is so awesome, Kait, and you totally deserve it” kind of way. I am hugely impressed. Good for you, and thank you for encouraging others to pursue the path you’re on!
Being a scientist isn’t bad at all, especially if it involves a crime fighting superhero in between. 😉 The way I see it, your boss is inside a cube, or a square.
I grinned all the way through this post 😉 Your enthusiasm is contagious, and I’m lapping it up like a tiny, salivating chihuahua, standing on two paws. Your success is really validating the ‘do what you love and the money will follow’ mantra (of course there’s a whole lot of hard work in between). Thank you for being an inspiration. I’m really happy for your success.
Aye Chihuahua!!!! 😀
When I start to think I’m crazy to self-publish & no one will read me & I’ll have to step out of my introversion & be sociable (eeek!), I think of whay you’ve accomplished and I want that for me more than I want to be “safe.” You’re truly an inspiration.
This piece sums up my working life also. Except I can’t tell my boss I want to write because he can be rather volatile and with 3 young children at home I can’t take any risks.
I spend a lot of my time in fantasy land while in the office where despite the job title I am basically nothing more then entering data and re-routing emails. Congratulations on a getting an agent and taking that next step. I am firmly on the indie bandwagon now and hope that one day I too cna realistically allow myself to consider doing what I love for a living rather than being some office managers dancing monkey.
One of my academic colleagues found out about my writing (for the public) and told me I was “young” (even though he is only four years older than me) and that I’d “find out how hard it is out there soon enough.”
I just smiled and said “okay.” I figure my writing career is between me and my bank account and that is validation enough for me that I am doing the right thing.
As somone one who is taking the indie path in writing, it felt really good to read this story! I definitely dream of the day of letting go of my day job (being someone else’s minion is soo not cool!) and that’s something I try to hold on to when I’m going through my writing ups and downs! I’m definitely taking your advice and doing all the research I possibly can so I can down those mushrooms! 🙂