Real Talk from an Author Thinking About Quitting

REAL TALK TIME.

On a good day, I suffer from anxiety. On a bad day, anxiety *and* depression. Professionally speaking, I'm having more bad days than not, and unfortunately, all these scandals in Romancelandia aren't making things any better.

I know I'm not the one who's work was callously stolen, and I probably have very little right to weigh in on #copypastecris, except it's hard to stay motivated when thieves, scumbags, and liars make more money in one month than I made all last year. In 2017 and 2018, I burned myself out trying to rise above the noise. Did it work? Not in the least. In fact, my last two books bombed horribly. And here you have people stuffing books making Kindle All Star money, people blatantly ripping off other authors, and every other scandal you can think of that would sour one on the industry. And even when these assholes get caught out, they don't stay caught out. They can create a new pen name and come back. In fact, many of them have.

It's enough to make a person want to throw in the towel.

In fact, I threw in a pretty big towel back in November when I canceled the release on ONE PERFECT HOLIDAY. My creative spark had completely died. The characters wouldn't talk to me. The words wouldn't come. What was the point in writing a 55k-word book that would be bought by 200 people at $0.99? (In case you're wondering, that'd earn me approximately $70.) Thankfully, I make my own covers so I don't have to factor in those costs, but when you think about all the money that goes into launching a book, I would have been way in the hole--again.

I *loved* NOT QUITE PERFECT. I thought it was a fun twist on a trope that can sometimes be sketchy. Unfortunately, the only people who've read it are the people who got it for free. And even then, not so much--one recent review started out by saying the book was sexy professor/student love story. It's no surprise then that I wasn't motivated to write the next book in the series.

And that brings me to today. I have all these ideas for books, but the anxiety and depression that riddles my brain has me asking myself, "Why bother?" Because I love writing? Well, yeah. But I hate feeling like a failure even more than I love the creative process. With writing, I feel good for a few minutes when I write a scene I enjoy, but then the doubt creeps in, totally annihilating any of those endorphins.

"Keep trying," author friends tell me. "Have you tried ads?" others ask.

Do you know how much money I've spent on courses trying to learn how to make FB ads work for me? Let's just say it's more than Jamaila and I have made on the entire River Hill series. And my ad results? Abysmal. So either I spent money and didn't learn anything, or I spent money and my books are garbage that no one wants to pay for. Either way, how does one NOT feel like a loser in that scenario?

"Try changing your covers," they say. Done. (See: The Vintner’s Vixen, The Distiller’s Darling, The Baker’s Beauty, and Lucky Star.)

"Think about reworking your blurbs." Done a hundred times over.

"Have you changed your titles?" Where I can, yes. (See: Protect Me, Declan, Eoin, Liam, and Donal — incidentally, the name change on these hasn’t worked AT ALL so I’m thinking of going back to their original titles. If no one’s going to pick them up, I may as well hold onto what I loved about them.)

"Have you invested in PR?" Don't even get me started.

"Do you have a tribe?" Yes, and they're great.

So now I'm staring into the void of another abysmal month and my anxiety, depression, and this terrible thing known as Imposter Syndrome has me left with conclusion: I suck.

And if that's the case, why bother?

Fall in love with The Baker's Beauty

The Baker’s Beauty released on Wednesday, October 24, and Jamaila and I are so proud to introduce you to Sean Amory and Jessica Casillas-Moore. He’s a little bit broken after a tragic moment from his past (okay, a lot broken), while she’s struggling to carve out a future for herself amidst a changing career landscape and a loud, overbearing family.*

We hope you’ll download The Baker’s Beauty and that this story of love, loss, and redemption will warm your heart.

Amazon | Apple Books | Nook | Kobo

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* While I usually write the heroes and Jamaila tackles the heroines, we flipped the script on this one. Given that Jess is half Mexican it made sense for me to take on her story as I grew up in a mixed family (my white father married a Mexican American woman and I lived with them from the time I was nine until I left home for college). A lot of what you see with Jess’s family is inspired by my own experiences with such a large, vocal brood.

Fun fact: I’d fully forgotten what a dustpan was called until I was telling my then-boyfriend-now-husband to bring me the palita and he had no idea what I was talking about. See also: flip-flops were chanclas and you did not want grandma to beat you with one, and when a girl wears short shorts and you can see her ass cheeks, said grandma would complain about her nalgas hanging out.