It seems like yesterday that I wrote my first novel. I’d be up in the wee hours of the morning for months writing while my children slept. And then polishing that book before querying publishers and agents. Then finally one day after months and months of searching and not giving up no matter all the doors slammed in my face, I was picked up by a publisher.
There is something special about publishing your very first book and seeing your name out there for the very first time. It was one of the most exciting times of my life. It was something new, something bigger than me. And along with it came the first steps of understanding how the publishing industry works, including the rights you give up when you sign with a publisher. Of course, elements of my book were changed, but that was fine with me as I was now going to be published. This was an amazing feeling for me and I couldn’t wait to see my name in lights. I really wanted to consider the hardcover book printing option as I just prefer how this format looks compared to the others. I’m sure it will do relatively well no matter the format that it’s in. Although on saying that I was soon faced with the cold reality that the first book wasn’t going to make me the ton of money I expected along with fame and fortune. From using platforms like ingramspark or getting in touch with a major publishing company, in the hopes of getting a book published, it is important to understand that even if it doesn’t make millions straight away, just knowing that you’re capable of doing something like this should be a proud moment, especially for a first-time author. We all start somewhere. Don’t laugh, there are probably many authors like me who also had that delusional thought in the back of their mind before being published. And even more of a rude awakening was the fact, books don’t sell themselves and your publisher isn’t going to market your book for you. That is the author’s job. And you, the relative newbie to the industry are completely unknown, having just entered an industry dominated by some truly amazing authors. And then there is your book. You! Now you have to sell it. But I’ll come back to that.
Because I didn’t sit around waiting, I had already started writing another book. And book two was a completely different book, in fact what it did was cross genres, and I also learned that was a no-no with the publishers. There was a lot of interest though by literary agents and publishers, but then came the news that it was too heavy on the suspense for a romance, and for a suspense it was too heavy on the romance. One publisher told me I was either going to have to dial back the romance or the suspense, pick one. I was told I couldn’t have both. I disagreed.
Lucky for me something else was happening in the industry at this time. Many of you know it was the wave of the Indie authors and the .99 cent eBook. Self-publishing was no longer considered the vanity press or any of those other negative derogatory terms referred to about ‘those authors’. Amazon had opened its doors to authors giving them the opportunity and the tools to be in charge of their own career. To self publish their eBooks and sell digital downloads online, letting the readers decide what they wanted to read. And do you know what came out of that? A wave of successful Indie Authors that continue to this day to top the charts. Readers love their stories. I love their stories. And readers love what we write. Wow!
In late 2011, I joined the flood of authors and self published my second book. What I didn’t know then was how that decision could possibly bring me the success it has today. And was one of the wisest decisions I’ve made. Next smart decision was when I joined a group of successful Indie Authors to cross promote our books together, what a truly amazing concept that was. After all I was smart enough to realize that although I’d written a book I still needed to get my books in front the readers and build that fan base. So how do you get your book in front of all those millions and millions of readers out there? Well you need to make social media your best friend. You need to be aware of all the constant changes in this industry, be on top of those changes and always be willing to try something new. If you fail, oh well. Pull on your big girl pants, get up, and try something else.
What happened for me, after I published my third novel, a labor of love titled THE FORGOTTEN CHILD? Surprisingly, it hit the Amazon bestseller list, and it stayed there. I was shocked! Literally on the floor, jaw dropping, I couldn’t believe it. THE FORGOTTEN CHILD became my marquee title, and it started an entire series, THE OUTSIDER SERIES, then THE FRIESSENS, A NEW BEGINNING. It was/is a huge success and has sold more than 500,000 eBooks worldwide. The Forgotten Child has been translated into German and most recently I sold the French rights. Did my books sell on their own? Hell no! I’ve worked my butt off to promote, to keep on top of industry changes. Tried something new, failed and tried something else. But then as all successful authors have learned, writing your story is only a small piece of the business. Marketing and promoting your titles is where most of your time will be spent. It is the business side of writing that separates successful authors from everyone else.
And one of the most important pieces of advice given by successful entrepreneurs, is to take advice from other successful people. For us authors it’s other successful authors, who have already walked their talk. And their advice to you is, you’ve published your book now get your butt in that chair and write that next book. Which is exactly what I did, keeping a grueling pace of writing alongside my successful author friends. And yes I am a single mother of three children, and I make the time to write, to promote, and still be a mom first. Because this is my career, one that I absolutely love, and my career means the world to me. You can do it. And you can have it all!
Every day I make time to write and if you want to be a writer you have to carve out that time to sit down and write your story. I followed the advice I was given by some of the biggest named Indie Authors in the industry to get a book out a month.
Where am I now? Well, I have published over 40 titles which includes, books, shorts and collections. Five series in the following genres, Romance, Mystery/Thriller, Military, and Western. With eight audiobooks, fourteen of those titles in print and two titles translated in German, and one currently underway in French translation. I have four titles releasing this year, ONE NIGHT, June 30, UNFORGIVEN, August 11, HE CAME BACK in October and for Christmas a heartwarming romance, LOVING CHRISTINE. I write what I want to write, the stories I love, the kind of stories I want to read.
And out of all this my sweetest victory was hitting the USA Today list in 2014 and New York Times in 2015, it is oh so sweet.
Looking back to where I started from and that little book I wrote that started my career, THE FORGOTTEN CHILD, which spun into one of my most successful series about the Friessen men and the women they love. The most recent edition to this series, THE REUNION, released in April 30, 2015, reuniting the entire Friessen clan. And it was quite a Reunion! It’s hard to believe where I started, what I’ve accomplished with all the authors I’ve worked alongside with.
And if there is one thing I have learned that I can pass on, and this is something I’ve taught my children. As long as you are doing something you absolutely love, you can make a living. Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t do something. Don’t be afraid to take the chance and do it. And if you too have dreamed of being a writer have some faith in yourself and just do it. Write that darn book, and then start the next one.
New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Lorhainne Eckhart’s books have been described as Longmire meets old-school Dallas, and she recently received the 2013 Readers’ Favorite Award for Romantic Suspense for her title Lost and Found. With over thirty titles under her belt, she is frequently a Top 100 bestselling author in multiple genres, such as romance, westerns, and mystery/suspense, including such series as The Outsider, Walk the Right Road, The Wilde Brothers, The Saved, and her most recent addition, The Friessens: A New Beginning.
Lorhainne lives on sunny Salt Spring Island with her family, where she is working on her next novel.
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