After I won Writers of the Future, I immediately thought "NOW is the time to finish my book! But I need something else to go with it. Okay, I will publish my own anthology. Lots of great authors do that. But that means rewriting the novel (mostly) and definitely rewriting the stories for the anthology, to make sure everything is up my award-winning quality."
And people told me to slow down... to enjoy the moment. And I tried, really - but I'm a future minded person. I also know that fame is fleeting and if I waited too long, I wouldn't get to say "I just won this award." I would be limited to "I won an award a few years ago." which is NOT the same message.
So, I got to work. And it was really hard. And really stressful. And my family helped, but suffered a little along the way. But I did it.
I published both books within 16 months of my Writers of the Future win. And then the volume won 3 more awards (I know 2 of them. The publishers hinted at a third, but hasn't gone public yet, so i don't know which one that is.) And suddenly, I'm in marketing mode... Online store. Interviews. Personal appearances. Convention tour. Promote promote promote! Sell sell sell.
Then a pause. Between conventions, I flew home to work at the gallery and help send my youngest to college (or rather, hold down the fort while their mother managed that).
And I'm a week away from flying out to DragonCon. There, i have a podcast interview lined up. Before then, I have two other interviews scheduled. And I need to work on Book 2 (even though TDA is successfully a stand alone).
But dammit, I'm going to step back an savor this. I'm not selling a billion books. I don't have a multi-million dollar Kickstarter. But I have one damn good book that people are enjoying and if this is the greatest success i ever achieve as a writer, I don't want to miss it.
Of course, I will write the next book.
Of course, I will write the next book. And finish a different one. And publish more shorts (I have one coming out this fall in another professional anthology). I just want to inhale deeply and call myself an author. Finally.
Thank you for being a part of this journey with me. I hope to make you—and every reader—proud.