Author On The Edge: Why the publishing business can be tough on your mental health

As long as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer. It was my first ambition, and I wrote my first book in grade school, submitted it to Harper & Row and received my first rejection postcard. I wasn’t deterred, though. I knew, with the sort of certainty only an eleven-year-old can muster, that I was destined for authorhood.

Life got in the way of that dream, replacing it with other equally as dear and important dreams. I went through school, got married and became a mother. I used my passion for writing in other areas of life, like editing my kids’ school papers, my husband’s work and our churches’ newsletters. I wrote homeschooling curriculum during the years we homeschooled our kids.

When the universe finally worked things out that I had the time and attention to give to fiction again, I was forty-one years old. The same year I finished my first novel was a pivotal year in the publishing industry, because Amazon had released the Kindle in 2007, and KDP had joined Smashwords and other smaller outlets that made publishing a book on your own possible. However, indie publishing wasn’t mainstream yet. I didn’t even consider going my own way until I’d tried everything I could on the traditional side of publishing.

But in December of 2011, I took the plunge and became part of the indie publishing wave. I have no regrets about making that choice. It has allowed me freedom and control and the ability to shape my career in a way that works for me. I wouldn’t change that path to go the traditional route for anything in the world.

And yet . . .

The last six and a half years have contained some of my highest high points–the proudest moments of my life aside from marrying my husband and delivering my four children. I’ve seen my books climb charts. I’ve seen stories that started as a momentary bit of fantasy in my brain morph into words on a page, both paper and electric. I’ve interacted with readers who told me that my stories helped them or cheered them or helped bring them closure. I’ve met readers who have become friends. I’ve met authors who have become friends.

But these years have also contained some of my lowest lows, days of doubts and fears and so much anguish that I wasn’t sure I could go on. There have been so many weeks when I was sure I wasn’t good enough and never would be. There have been months when I’ve felt like the biggest failure as not only an author and businesswoman, but also as a mother and wife, because I’ve dedicated so much time to my work that I have missed out on things with my family.

One of the great things about indie publishing is the community, and I have been blessed to sit at the virtual feet of some of the authors I have admired for a long time. I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful for all of it. At the same time, though, one thing I’ve learned is that everyone is on her own path, and so when I ask for advice, it might not be exactly what I need. It might not work for me. It might–but there’s just as good a chance that it won’t.

I’ve increased how often I release . . . only to be told that real success comes from making readers eager and anxious for the next story by releasing less frequently. So I’ve slowed releases.

I’ve increased prices to show that I value my work . . . only to be told that free or 99 cents is a better way to go.

I’ve tried different genres of romance when one didn’t work well, only to be told that I need to stick with one so as not to dilute my branding.

I’ve joined groups where authors with quantified success tell others how to translate what they did into similar success. I’ve read the books everyone says we should read. I’ve listened to the podcasts and gone to the conferences and taken advice.

I’ve tried Facebook ads, BookBub ads, AMS ads, only to be told that advertising is pointless. I’ve spent what is to me a lot of money, and I’ve seen almost no results, because, I’m told, I need to spend more to see more.

I’m not someone who has to be led, who needs someone to tell me what to do. I’m strong-minded. I’ve raised three strong daughters and one strong son, and I’ve run a household, I’ve handled my parents’ very complex estates, I’ve been an Army wife who can organize a move, a dinner party and emergency care for disasters.

But this is breaking me.

I’ve had down times in the past. But nothing has been as bad as the past few months. You see, until last January, while my book income was definitely helpful, it wasn’t crucial. Now it IS. Now, we live and eat and pay all our bills on that book income. And that income isn’t growing with each new release–in fact, despite the fact that I work an average of nearly 20 hours a day 6-7 days a week, that income is dropping steadily. It’s the way the business is trending. There are too many authors, too many books and too much noise. Some of us are still doing well, but some of us are not.

Talk about pressure . . .

Am I whining? Maybe. Am I complaining when I shouldn’t? Maybe. Do others have it much worse? Oh, without a doubt. No question. I know this.

But this is my reality and my struggle. My path. I also know I’m not alone. I’ve talked to authors who are feeling the same, authors who are wondering if they can make it.

Brutal honesty time: I have been questioning, over the last few weeks, if this is worth it. I wonder if it’s time to give up on the dream, stop subjecting myself to the constant rollercoaster ride that is releases and promotions and sales numbers. I’ve been closer to complete despair in the last month than I have been in over two decades.

I’ve been writing this post for a while. I’ve almost deleted it more than once. If I do share it, the only reason will be so that another author who is out there struggling as I am will know she is not alone.

Today, I’m not giving up. Today, I’ll write some more words, and I’ll do something for my next release (my 59th release, which is this coming Saturday, on my 51st birthday). Today, I’ll chat with my reader friends and I’ll hope something I say makes a difference. I’ll reach out to other authors and try to help.

For one more day, I’ll believe that something, somewhere, is finally going to work, not only for me, but for all the dreamers who keep on working and hoping.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

If you don’t know today is Mardi Gras, then you probably don’t watch much fluff TV or cooking shows. And you probably aren’t a member of one of the liturgical churches (think Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox or Lutheran), either.

I didn’t grow up with Mardi Gras, but once it found me, I never let it go. I mean–food, music and lots of adult drinks? Yes, I think so!

I fell in love with New Orleans on my very first trip there, and the love affair has not only continued and deepened, it’s spread. I passed it on to my kids, who also embrace a deep and abiding adoration for the Crescent City. The Big Easy.

So it wasn’t a leap that we also embrace Mardi Gras. This is, technically, the last Tuesday of Epiphany, the day before the beginning of Lent. In the days when the Church oversaw the rhythm of daily life and dictated seasons, Epiphany, which always begins on January 6th and ends on Mardi Gras, was observed with the leftover frivolity of Christmas. Think lots of parties and food and music and drinking! It was the last hoorah before the sobriety and quiet of Lent, which is a season of repentance and reflection.

My gumbo smells divine!

In our family, we invite friends over to enjoy chicken and sausage gumbo, King Cake and praline sauce over vanilla ice cream. We usually start the day with beignets, and the house is decorated with beads and masks, along with other goodies we’ve picked up from our frequent NOLA visits.

 

Music is a given. Think Pete Fountain, Harry Connick, Jr. and Fats Domino.

Tonight, we’ll definitely laissez les bons temps rouler–let the good times roll. And tomorrow, we’ll begin Lent ready for a quieter, more reflective time.

Happy Mardi Gras, y’all!

Cover Reveal: The Love Song Girl

My very first release of the new year is part of the Love in a Small Town series, and I’m so excited to share Tori and Hunter with you!

I love their cover . . . it captures this sweet and fiery couple and the music that both unites and divides them.

You can preorder your copy NOW exclusively on iBooks! 

Who doesn’t love a love song? Especially a love song that’s crooned by Hunter Jaymes, the hottest new star in country music?

Tori Westin doesn’t have time for love songs. Now that she’s finally moved off her parents’ farm and ditched her cheating, lying boyfriend, she’s ready to start life on her own terms. Those terms definitely do not include falling in love with the sexy and irresistible Hunter. Yes, he’s the kind of guy who makes her laugh, takes her breath away with a single touch and tempts her to imagine what could be . . . but he’s also not planning to stick around Burton.

When Hunter looks at Tori, he sees the possibility of forever. The road is his life, but she feels like home. But convincing this woman to give love a chance will take more than a song.

Recommended Reading!

I’m thrilled to share with you some really amazing books . . . and the authors who wrote them! Enjoy . . . these are terrific reads for the holidays and beyond!

I’m a newbie to the world of Magical And Undead Creatures, but thanks to Lynlee and Rhiannon, I’m learning. My new friends have taken me under their wings and made me a part of their inner circle. But with the holidays approaching, I want nothing more than to crawl back into my hole. I don’t do Christmas. Ever.

But when a mysterious package arrives on my doorstep, a completely unexpected brand of magic seeks to draw me out of hiding.

Does a genie have the power to get this Scrooge into the Christmas spirit?

Amazon

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When your soul shatters, how will you pick up the pieces?

Jezebel Tate’s writing career has reached success few experience, but when the light of fame shines too bright, Jezebel is cast back into the shadows, where she’s forced to ask herself what happens when admiration becomes obsession.

James Blakely is running from his past. A broken man haunted by a deadly mistake, James reluctantly accepts a position as Miss Tate’s private security and finds himself a pawn in her game of seduction.

When their worlds collide, Jezebel and James must decide how far they’ll go to escape the sins of their pasts.

Goodreads: bit.ly/2jFnBXk

BookBub: bit.ly/2jDfQ4s

Amazon US: amzn.to/2kgKrUJ

Amazon UK: amzn.to/2jltmfT

Amazon AU: amzn.to/2nOo3XI

Amazon CA: amzn.to/2kP7IkI

Barnes & Noble: bit.ly/2ki1KoB

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A COUNTRY MUSIC CHRISTMAS by Maggie Carpenter.

AN AMBITIOUS SONGBIRD. A TAKE-CHARGE HERO. A PERILOUS BLIZZARD.

Blonde-haired, blue-eyed, wannabe country singer Summer Brown is standing nervously on the porch of the man who can make her a star, but when he opens the door she loses her nerve. Instead of begging for an audition she asks if she can be his personal assistant.

Looking for an escape from his hectic Nashville life, cowboy and legendary record producer Liam Taylor has just bought a house in a small peaceful town. He needs help setting up his new home, and when a gorgeous girl shows up looking for a job he hires her on the spot.

Weeks pass and a smoldering chemistry burns between them, but when Liam learns she’s an ambitious singer he feels betrayed. A lifestyle dominant, he delivers a sharp spanking and sends her home, but a fierce snowstorm sweeps in and they are catapulted back together.

He can bury his anger in order to survive the treacherous conditions, but will he find a way back to their burgeoning love…?

If you enjoy atake-charge hero, a determined young woman, and a riveting romance with a fairy-tale ending, you’ll love A Country Music Christmas. Click the link today.

Publisher’s Note: A Country Music Christmas includes sexual scenes and spankings. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book.

AMAZON

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Coming 1/19/17

Elizabeth Johansen lives her life by a specific code of values. She has worked hard to obtain everything she owns, and she wants nothing from anyone. But now, she faces a dilemma when an unexpected inheritance from her Great-aunt Edna forces her to reexamine her values and embrace the culture she has long since forsaken.

Rohan is the son of an Athabaskan chief. At twenty-six, he is more focused on amassing his fortune and preserving the land of his ancestors. So, when he learns the large parcel of acreage adjourning his property has been left to a woman who has no interest in preserving their customs, he sets out to convince her to sell.

But Rohan finds the independent beauty irresistible and sets out to win her. Elizabeth, proud and self-sufficient, soon discovers that the man of her dreams is part of the culture she abandoned. Can they each find a way to meet the other halfway between his life and hers.

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Love-Relentless-Ju-Ephraime-ebook/dp/B076MG24QQ/

Nook:https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-love-relentless-ju-ephraime/1127276647?ean=2940158624377

Kobohttps://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-love-relentless

iBook: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-love-relentless/id1299058586?ls=1&mt=11

Follow me on BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/ju-ephraime

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Melting Into You (Stewart Island Book 2)
By Tracey Alvarez

Big, sexy men who don’t relate well to kids need not apply…

Ben Harland is, by his own admission, a bit of a grouch. He doesn’t do soppy chick-flicks or cosy home and family. He sure doesn’t need any more drama in his world. But life has a way of biting him in the ass. Cue insta-daddyhood to an eight-year-old girl who lands on his doorstep, and an out-of-control attraction to Stewart Island’s hot school teacher.

Kezia Murphy plays her widow card well. When you don’t trust people not to let you down, you don’t get involved. Though Ben makes her skin sizzle just by looking at him, he’s counting the days until he’s once again a single man. But no matter how much Kezia yearns for his touch, and her daughter Zoe longs for a daddy, can Ben ever be the right man for the job?

Get it FREE Here! 

Instafreebie:

Retailer Links to other books in the series:

Book 1 In Too Deep (Free) Amazon / iBooks / Nook / Kobo / Google Play
Book 2 Melting Into You Amazon / iBooks / Nook / Kobo / Google Play
Book 3 Ready To Burn Amazon / iBooks / Nook / Kobo / Google Play
Book 4 Christmas With You Amazon / iBooks / Nook / Kobo / Google Play
Book 5 My Forever Valentine Amazon / iBooks / Nook / Kobo / Google Play
Book 6 Playing For Fun Amazon / iBooks / Nook / Kobo / Google Play
Book 7 Drawing Me In Amazon / iBooks / Nook / Kobo / Google Play
Book 7.5 Kissing The Bride Amazon / iBooks / Nook / Kobo / Google Play

 

About the Author

Fuelled by copious amounts of coffee, USA TODAY bestselling author Tracey Alvarez writes steamy but heart-warming contemporary romances set in New Zealand. Her two series, the STEWART ISLAND series and the BOUNTY BAY series, both focus on small coastal towns, close communities, and family.

 

Social Media Links

Website: http://www.traceyalvarez.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TraceyAlvarezAuthor
Twitter: http://twitter.com/TraceyAlvarezNZ
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/TraceyAlvarez
Amazon Author page: amazon.com/author/traceyalvarez
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/tracey-alvarez

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The Rescuer by Ann Omasta

Universal Amazon link:  http://viewBook.at/TheRescuer

He owes her.
She needs him.
He’ll save her… no matter what.

Imagine you are waiting in line at the bank. It’s the most boring, normal thing in the world until a band of armed robbers arrives and wreaks havoc.

Becca Nickles was biding her time in line watching a lovely little girl and her handsome father communicate with each other through American Sign Language (ASL).

When the robbers invade, Becca becomes an unwitting hero by volunteering to be their hostage, in the place of the frightened young girl.

Cade Tanner owes his little girl’s life to seemingly fearless Becca, and he will do whatever it takes to liberate the brave woman from the criminals.

Why You MUST Read This Book

Seven reasons why you must read this book!

  1. FOOTBALL. This book is set against the backdrop of professional football, and Tate is a running back who played in high school, at Carolina and now for Philadelphia. He loves the game . . . he’s committed to being strong and playing hard. After spending his first year in the pros mostly on the sidelines, Tate is eager to do everything he can to make sure he gets playing time now that he’s back with his hometown team. If you want to get a look at just how H O T football players can be, check out my Pinterest board here.

2. GIA. She’s one of the most complicated and tortured characters I’ve ever written, and that is saying something. Gia’s upbringing and family are at direct contrast to Tate’s: she’s the fifth and youngest daughter in

her well-to-do family, but her parents split up when she was young. Sassy and tough, Gia has a take-no-prisoners attitude . . . until she fell for Matt Lampert. He turned her inside out for four years, his self-destructive bent nearly killing her before he took his own life. When Tate finds her again, she’s not sure she wants to be rescued, and she fights him at first. But in this guy–who is a sort of anti-Matt–Gia’s met her match.

 

3. PUMPKIN PIE: There is a scene in this book that will make you look at the traditional Thanksgiving/holiday dessert in an entirely new way. Let’s just say that Tate has a unique way of enjoying his leftovers. So when you’re enjoying your pie and whipped cream today, let this drift through your mind . . . and use your imagination. Tate does.

4. MUSIC: All of my books are influenced by music, but none quite so much as this one. The play list is varied and rich–and it actually could have been longer. The songs on this list got me through some tough parts of the story, and when I wasn’t sure how to go on with it, I’d just play it again . . .

A few highlights: Goodbye to You was for Matt and Gia. It was what Gia was trying to say to Matt when she left him that last time.  Missing You was how Gia’s friends thought about her after Matt’s death. Use Me was Tate’s anthem to Gia after he found her in the grocery store. Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough is Gia talking to Tate at the end of Part One. Head Over Feet is Gia talking to Tate . . . later. And Hearts Don’t Break Around Here and Not Broken Anymore are both the happy ending.

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5. ROMANCE: Yes, this book gutted me. But it’s also one of the hands-down most romantic stories I’ve ever written, because . . . Tate. This man–he loves Gia with a single-minded devotion, a patience that is beyond anything else and a steadfast hope and trust in the future. He treats her with deference and humor. Nothing else comes ahead of Gia. Not one thing. If Tate’s guilty of anything, it’s of not wanting to see the pain that was still tormenting Gia, even when she wanted to love him.

One of my favorites snippets:

I laughed a little. “You know, dude, if you were any other man, when I asked why you were here, you would’ve just fed me the friends-only line. I might not have bought it, but it would have given us both plausible deniability.”
Tate rested his chin on his hand and smiled serenely at me. “I’m not any other man.”
For a solid moment, I felt electricity crackle between us, and I couldn’t breathe. This was new, this hyper-awareness of another person, and I didn’t know quite what to do with it. I stared at Tate as my brain scrambled to figure out what to say or do next.

 

6. SEXY TIME: Any time you have a love story that involves a super-hot football player and a woman whose sexuality is vital and strong, expect fireworks of the very steamiest type.  What Tate might lack in experience, he makes up for in single-minded devotion and attention to detail. And although Gia isn’t sure at first that she’s ready for another relationship, when she makes her move, it’ll take your breath away.

7. TATE: So . . . yeah. Oh. My. Tate. I’ve written strong and sexy male leads before. Sam Reynolds, Cooper Davis, Rafe Brooks–all of them are insanely hot. So what it is about Tate that made fall totally and completely gaga in love? So. Many. Things. First of all, he’s a talented football player. Then he’s also a devoted grandson who isn’t ashamed of being proud of his Pops. He’s a good and loyal friend to Leo. He is steady and strong. He can cook. (And EAT!!) But mostly, Tate is incredible because once he found Gia, she was it for him. He waited for her, and he did whatever he had to do to win her trust and her heart.

Tate is the kind of guy you might think is too good to be true. But I know for a fact that he’s not. So much of Tate came from my own amazing husband, who has been, for thirty-three years, my biggest fan, my greatest supporter, the one who’s only seen me, no matter what.

When we began dating, I hadn’t gone through anything near what Gia has, but I was slightly jaded, a bit cynical (at the ripe age of 17!) and tired of being treated badly by previous boyfriends. The man who would become my husband wooed me by taking things slow, winning my heart with humor and food and careful attention. Yes, there’s a reason Tate is so special to me.

So now it’s up to you–are you ready for some incredible reading? Are you ready to laugh and cry and swoon? Go grab your own copy of NOT BROKEN ANYMORE . . . and be ready to fall in love.

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Read All the Keeping Score Books!

WHEN WE WERE US

Football is everything, but love is the only game that matters.

Leo, Quinn and Nate . . . They’ve been best friends forever, but life is about to take them in different directions. Decisions about love and friendship could change their paths forever.

Nate: He’s been in love with Quinn since junior high. She’s always been his fierce protector, the one person who looks beyond his physical challenges to see who he really is. But Nate knows the hard truth. Leo holds Quinn’s heart. He’s the one she loves.

Quinn: She’s tired of waiting for Leo to realize that he loves her. But when he finally admits his feelings for her, can they be together without destroying their friendship–and each other?

Leo: He’s the football star, the guy all the girls in school want. But the one girl he secretly needs–Quinn–is the one he’s afraid to want. He knows she’s too good for him, but he can’t seem to resist loving her anyway. 

Amid the joys and heartache of first love, crushing loss and unthinkable decisions, Leo, Quinn and Nate struggle to find their way forward without losing each other.

HANGING BY A MOMENT

Football is everything, but love is the only game that matters.

Leo Taylor, the most promising–and maybe the hottest–tight-end in college football today, is my boyfriend.

Sounds perfect, doesn’t? Dating a football star at one of the nation’s top colleges is living the dream. But our long-distance relationship isn’t easy, and I find myself wondering if the timing is ever going to be right for Leo and me. It’s not always easy to play second-fiddle to football.

One thing I do know is that my friend Nate puts me first all the time. There’s no doubt in my mind that he loves me. I just can’t feel the same way.

These four years were supposed to be the most exciting time of my life. Instead, they turn into a rollercoaster of uncertainty, complete with breathtaking highs and lows that threaten to break my heart.

Faced with a decision that means either denying one friend his last wish or losing the only man I’ll ever love, I realize that in this game, for me, winning isn’t an option.

DAYS OF YOU AND ME

Football is everything, but love is the only game that matters.

Once upon a time, not that long ago, I had just about everything I ever wanted. I was a star football player at one of the best colleges in the country, and I had the girl I’d always loved by my side. The promise of a future most guys can only dream about was close enough to touch.

But if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that life is unpredictable. One twist can change it all, and suddenly, I’m alone. Even football, the one constant in all the insanity, somehow isn’t enough anymore, because without her, everything else is empty. Meaningless.

I’ve got one shot left. One more chance to win her heart. We’re not kids now, and I know that being good enough for Quinn isn’t some game I can fake my way through. She’s more than the prize; she’s my reason for living. The world only makes sense when we’re together.

And this time, I’m going to do whatever it takes to give us our happy ending.

And this, my friends, is not a cliffhanger. This is the happily after forever you’ve wanted.

Read All Three Books Here

Plus One Bonus Short!

For a limited time, get the entire Keeping Score Box Set for a special price.

Buy it here!

 

 

 

 

 

Tawdra Kandle writes romance, in just about all its forms. She loves unlikely pairings, strong women, sexy guys, hot love scenes and just enough conflict to make it interesting. Her books include young adult and new adult paranormal romance, new adult and adult contemporary romance and adult paramystery romance. She lives in central Florida with a husband, kids, sweet pup and too many cats. And yeah, she rocks purple hair.

You can follow Tawdra on Amazon to receive updates on her releases. You can also visit her website for more information, and subscribe to her newsletter  for sales announcement, special exclusive content and promotions!

If you enjoy Tawdra’s books, join the Naughty Temptresses!

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