As part of Mandy Baggot's blog tour for the release of her new book Taking Charge, I'm welcoming her with an author guest post. Take it away Mandy!
Hi Chloe, thank you so much for having me on your gorgeous website!
Today I’m going to tell you about a small town girl, living in a writing world, who took the self-publishing train going anywhere! Yes, I know they aren’t quite the lyrics as Journey wrote them but I’ve been on a rollercoaster of a journey with highs, lows and everything in between these last twelve months. It’s been almost two years since I chucked in my job at the solicitors and threw caution to the wind to become a full-time author (well you know, in between being a wife, mother, housekeeper, taxi driver etc. that comes with the territory!). Quite a lot of people thought I was completely crazy throwing away a pretty good career and a decent pay packet, for life as a struggling author surviving on good reviews and pennies alone. Other people admired my guts and determination and secretly wished they were brave enough to make the break themselves. Both sets of people had valid points! Yes, I don’t sell zillions of copies every month, yes I bring home a lot less money than I ever have before, but am I happier than ever before? YES and do I regret my decision? NO, not one bit!
So, when I first left the job I hated (rooting through dead people’s possessions, drafting Wills etc.) I never for a second thought it would be easy. However, I was quite optimistic that with the right approach I could secure an agent. WRONG! No one wanted to take me on. EEK! So, then I thought, cut out the middle man, approach the publishers. I had some great feedback, plenty of bog standard ‘no thanks’ letters, words of encouragement but ultimately they all said NO! Ouch! What could I do? Well I could re-read all the letters, make myself feel utterly miserable, sink some hardcore 5 star brandy, eat bucket loads of chips and wonder how I became such a big fat failure. Or I could swallow it down, take on board any helpful advice and toughen up. I didn’t start on this road thinking there would be a yellow brick road to success. I knew it would be hard work so why was I expecting anything else? Quick happy endings only happen in films and novels right? So I worked! I worked my little butt (well, you know, medium sized) off creating my social media platform, attending conferences and festivals, talking to other writers, becoming a member of Loveahappyending.com and then I concentrated on making my next book the best book I have ever written. And that’s when we get to Taking Charge, my new release. Self-publishing Strings Attached went really well when I compare the sales of my other self-published novels, so much so that I was fully prepared and very happy to be setting myself up for self-publishing Taking Charge. I had the launch date set (July!), I had people lined up for the blog tour (in July!) and I was cracking on with final edits. And then, rather randomly, I decided to submit to a few publishers. Five in total. What possessed me I don’t know. Some of them were new so I thought ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’, others I had heard about from other writers. But this time when I submitted, because my head was so firmly set on self-publishing, I didn’t even think again about the submission. There was no waiting for the postman, checking the email every fifth second, I really never thought about it again and carried on editing and preparing for launch day (in July!). Then the emails came back. Three of them loved the manuscript and wanted to see it all. Two wanted to take things further. I couldn’t believe it and also, I wasn’t sure what I wanted now. Here I was with offers on the table and I didn’t know whether I actually wanted to let go of my book!
Well, every story I write has a happy ending and here is where mine comes in. I decided to sign with new US publisher Sapphire Star Publishing. Taking Charge is set in America and having a publisher there was the right choice for me. They are extremely active in social media (which I love), they are approachable, encouraging and have helped me so much since we first started working together.
Having a traditional publishing contract has opened lots of doors for me already, I can now join the Romantic Novelists Association for example. But, having told you my story, I don’t feel traditional contracts are the only way a writer can find success. Hard work is the key! Write from your heart, embrace your passion and just keep writing. If you’re determined enough and willing to put in the effort then you will succeed. Don’t give up, there are happy endings out there, Lady Baggot is proof of that!
Taking Charge is out now as an eBook or a paperback!
Mandy's website: www.mandybaggot.webs.com
Sapphire Star Publishing www.sapphirestarpublishing.com