Monday, November 17, 2014

On this day four years ago...

On this day four years ago... I self-published for the first time.
To mark this amazing anniversary, I thought I'd share the story behind how I came to try self-publishing for the first time... I wrote seven books before I sold one in 2007 and ended up doing three books with my first publisher, who wasn't interested in the other books I had written. They rejected most of my earlier books, including Treading Water, True North, Fatal Affair and Maid for Love. Fatal Affair later sold to Carina Press, and the Fatal Series has had a happy home with Carina and Harlequin since 2010. But I had all these other books already written and no one was interested in publishing them. I had readers asking for more of my books, and we were trying to sell them, but the rejections kept on coming. In the summer of 2010, I came close to selling True North to a big NY publisher. My agent and I really thought it was going to happen until we received the rejection that contained the nine words that changed my life: "No one wants to read about a super model." Um, okay then. By then I had received tons and tons and TONS of rejections, and I'd learned to roll with them. They didn't bother me anymore, but that one did. First I cried, then I got MAD--really, really MAD. My unlucky-in-love super model was someone regular women could relate to because she wanted what so many people want: love and family and a place to call home. I believed in her, and I believed in True North.
The True North rejection led me to investigate the new trend of self-publishing through Amazon's new Kindle Direct Publishing program. At that time, it was a risky proposition for an author who had books coming from two different publishers a few months later (the second Fatal book and my third and final book with my first publisher). Self-publishing was so new to the ebook space, that no one knew for sure if I could be sued for publishing on my own ahead of publisher releases. I told my husband I was going to do something that could get us sued. To his credit, he said, "Let me know how it works out."  However, I was under no contractual obligation that would stop me from venturing into the realm of self-publishing. So on Nov. 17, 2010, I self-published True North quietly and without any fanfare. A month later, I self-published The Fall. I sold about 50 copies of True North in the first month and maybe 150 of both books the next month. A free offering of an earlier book the following February, gave a boost to all my books, and my self-pub numbers really took off. I sold nearly 7,000 copies of both self-published books in February 2011. I self-published The Wreck in March, the first month in which I sold more than 10,000 books in a single month. Maid for Love was released in April, Fool for Love in May, Ready for Love in June, Georgia on My Mind in September, Treading Water in October, Marking Time in November and Starting Over in December. I ended 2011 with 650,000 self-published ebook sales and on the last day of 2011, I left the job I'd had for 16 years to write full time.
Fast forward to the end of 2014... Every book I've written is now on sale--all 37 of them (22 are self-published). I've sold more than 3 million copies of my books, mostly in the last three years. I have six of my good friends and my husband working with me. I've been on the New York Times bestseller list 11 times as of last week and I've been blessed with loyal dedicated readers who have made this amazing career possible.
Oh and about True North.... It has sold close to 75,000 copies in the four years it's been on sale, and the dedication now reads: "To the editor who famously said, 'No one wants to read about a super model,' thank you, thank you, THANK YOU. A MILLION times over, thank you."
Now you know the rest of my story. Thanks to my amazing, awesome readers for making all my dreams come true. xoxo

16 comments:

Michelle Howard said...

fantastic. as a newbie about to hit my 1 year self pub anniversary in December this struck home. Congrats on all your success and well deserved :)

Marie Force said...

Thank you, Michelle! Good luck with your books.

Helena said...

Thank goodness you're writing at a time when you can self-publish! And I say that entirely selfishly, because I am horrified to think of the wonderful books I would not have had an opportunity to read if you had not had -- and taken -- that option. The list of books you give that had been rejected sent a shiver down my spine because so many of them are favourites of mine.

Keep up the good work! But don't wear yourself out.

Marie Force said...

Thank you Helena! It sends a shiver down my spine, too, to think about the career that never would've happened without self-publishing. Thanks for reading!

Marie Force said...
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Lisa Grace said...


Congratulations on your success.

I have an agent and an IP lawyer representing me on one deal, but so far the only thing that is close to working out, are the books I am self publishing.

Right now, the income they produce is a nice little part-time revenue stream.

Thank you for sharing your story, as it gives hope to those of us who continue to write.

Marie Force said...

Thanks Lisa, and best of luck with your books!

Kathleen Y'Barbo said...

The question is, have you heard back from that editor??

Marie Force said...

Nope, and I wouldn't expect to. She probably has no recollection of the incident and why would she when she deals with hundreds of manuscripts per year and this happened more than four years ago? I bear her no ill will. Her rejection proudly changed my life. I'm thankful for it.

Maria Michaels said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I just wanted to share that we (or the person who chooses your covers) have similar taste. Every time I look at a stock photo for one of my books and think "I like this.", I wind up seeing it on one of your books! You have great taste.

Marie Force said...

Thank you Maria. Love all the covers on my indie books. :-)

Yvonne Lindsay said...

Congratulations on your fourth self pub anniversary, Marie! Long may the celebrations continue.

Marie Force said...

Thanks, Yvonne!

Anonymous said...

Thank You. Your story has meaning inside and outside of the Publishing world. Keep sharing the love. Al

patti pizzimenti said...

Marie, you are the epitomy of the phrase....if at first you don't succeed! All the books you have written that i read are simply amazing. I Absolutely love the Gansett series. The way the characteres grow with each book is like watching somone you know and love grow. Their loves, heartbreaks and every day adventures become a part of your life. You have a special gift. I have been apprehensive about starting the Fatal series. I always thought it couldn't possibly be as exciting....but that is seriously not giving you benefit. I am going to sit down today, download, get comfortable and read like there is no tomorrow. Good luck and I know how you must feel when your dad says he is reading......cringe.

Marie Force said...

Thanks Patti! Appreciate that!