From Douglas: This is a guest post from author, Lissa Bryan, on how she became an author. If you have any questions, hit me up in the comments so I may ask her for you.
I never expected to be an author. I never really expected to be a writer, actually.
I’d always “written” stories in my head, working on them, sometimes, for years until I felt like it was “done” then I tucked them away on a mental shelf. Sometimes, I re-wrote books and television shows I liked to have the ending I thought they should have, or to send the characters on new adventures.
I had no idea anyone else did this.
In September 2011, I bought a book, Gabriel’s Inferno by Sylvain Reynard. I went to leave a review, and saw another reviewer say the book had once been fanfiction. I wondered what that was.
I found, to my surprise, that there were other people who re-wrote books, movies and television shows. Not only that, there was a massive online community dedicated to it. After browsing a bit and reading some of the stories, I decided to write my own. Well, maybe that sounds a little more decisive than the way it really happened; it took a lot to talk myself into it. I was scared of ridicule, scared of cruelty, scared that people would tell me I was a terrible writer. But I finally managed to gather up the courage.
Before my discovery, I hadn’t considered writing down any of my stories, much less publishing them. I thought that was an impossibility, not even a consideration. I’m not bold enough, nor thick-skinned enough, to face multiple rejections from agents or publishers. But this was appealing because it was anonymous, and I was sure I’d be virtually unnoticed among the thousands of stories.
My first story had about a dozen regular readers and I was delighted. People were reading my stories! Willingly! And saying nice things about them! I decided to go for it and write another one, and that’s when everything went a little crazy.
The first day, it had 150 readers. By the second day, it had 350. By the third chapter, I was up to 600. The numbers kept going up. I was getting messages that the story was being discussed on Facebook and Twitter. Just two weeks later, I was up to 3,000 readers. By the end of the month, that had more than doubled.
I started to get a little scared. This wasn’t supposed to happen. I’d counted on staying on the sidelines, nice and anonymous, safely ignored. I felt sort of responsible to all of those people now, worried I would let them down if the story didn’t live up to their expectations.
All of this happened in October. In February, I got a strange email. The sender claimed to work for a publisher, and wanted to know if I’d ever considered writing a novel. I called my husband in a daze and I remember saying, “I’m not sure if this is real, so don’t get excited … but I may be writing a book.”
The next couple of months were a blur of contracts, and lawyers, and bewilderment. I kept thinking, “This can’t be happening.” I was thinking it even as I sat in the attorney’s office and listened to him explain the provisions. Tomorrow, March 5, 2013, will be the one-year anniversary of signing that contract, and it still doesn’t feel entirely real.
What I discovered in the midst of all of this is that I loved writing. I loved pouring those stories from my mental storage into the keyboard. I loved that people were reading my stories and allowing part of my imagination into their minds. Especially delightful were the reviewers who said the story lingered with them for days after they read it. That’s a rare and special privilege, for your creation to live in another person’s mind in that way.
It’s been an exciting time, a nerve-wracking time and a lot of hard work, but it’s been an amazing experience. And I can’t wait to see what will happen next.
Olympic pole vault gold medalist, Iron Chef champion, and scientist who
recently discovered the cure for athlete’s foot … though only in her head.
Real life isn’t so interesting, which is why she spends most of her time
is available through The
Writer’s Coffee Shop (which is the least expensive option), Amazon, iTunes, and Kobo. Her second novel, The End of All Things, was released on January 24,
2013, and is available through TWCS, Amazon,
She also has a short story in the Romantic
Interludes anthology, available from TWCS, Amazon
Her third novel, tentatively titled Daughter of the Wind and Waves, is
scheduled for release in spring of 2014.