~ By Heather M. Miles
I started my writing career with the idea that I would write a series. Pretty ambitious but it was what I enjoyed reading, so why not start with what makes me happy. I had my idea laid out and began the process of writing. I found out quickly that I am not much of a plotter. I have taken no less than five classes on plotting and, while I can come up with a relatively concise outline of my story, I still miss the mark on plotting. I admire those that can do it efficiently.
Regardless, after sitting down with a general idea of my characters and storyline, I was able to churn out book one in less than six months. I was still employed full-time, so I felt like I had actually accomplished something. The goal was to see my book publicly displayed and in the hot hands of everyone around the world. I have to laugh a little because my goals will always probably remain the same…lofty and hopeful.
I live in a small town and I’m well known in the world of healthcare in Mississippi. I am fairly well-connected and when I set out on the writing journey, I was blessed with astounding support. My friends in advertising were abuzz with the news that I was writing a romance novel. I was confident and loved my story. I welcomed the promotion and before I knew it, I was being featured in several local papers. I had already given them the title of my book MERGER and was wrapping up the finishing touches. My friends and town anxiously awaited the “hot” read and I wanted them to have it. Wasn’t that the idea? My dream? Get it out and get people talking about it, reading it and promoting it. For this reason alone, I was encouraged by my number one promoter and Mississippi’s largest editor to go ahead and self-publish. With nervous anticipation, I forewent the standard onslaught of submissions to agents, editors and publishers for instant gratification. I had my manuscript professionally edited and after all lights were green, I bought a cover, formatted it and hit Amazon and CreateSpace at the end of June 2014. Yippee! It was live.
Since then I have learned more about the craft of writing, marketing, promotions, blogging, managing my website, Twitter, Facebook, Author Pages, etc. Whew! What a ride. However, I missed the mark a little bit. I had left book one in a total cliffhanger and now I was trying to do a million things to promote book one. I’m telling you this because timing is everything. Six months have passed and I have done a fairly decent job of promoting my novel. But when I should have devoted my sole time to finishing book two, which is 50,000 words and still going, I pitched the idea at the national meeting. I had momentum and then I let it slip to fulfill the dream of being traditionally published.
SAYING YES is in the hands of six publishers that all have taken interest in the story. I couldn’t be prouder of my newest manuscript and look forward to seeing what the future holds. But here’s the thing, while I’ve been plugging away at one endeavor, I have left a lot of loyal fans begging for the next installment of the book I had worked so hard to promote. I have committed to a late February or early March release of MERGER UNDONE and will work tirelessly to make it happen. I have blogged and sent out newsletters keeping them informed that their beloved characters are within arm’s reach and now the proof is in the pudding. Juggling several books is hard, but keeping happy fans may be harder.
Timing is everything in this business and the one pearl I’ve gotten since I started this journey is to keep writing. I have a lofty goal of five novels in 2015. Two will be complete by March. My advice to everyone who is pursuing this journey is to never stop believing in your stories. Someone out this is your next fan.
Heather Miles lives in Cleveland, Mississippi with her husband and two children. She recently retired to pursue a full-time career as a writer of contemporary romance. She has one published novel, MERGER. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, The River City Romance Writers, Contemporary Romance Writers, and Passionate Ink. She can be found at www.heathermiles.net