What is MY author story?
In 2000 I think I had sent out over 10,000 letters to get my book published.
I really had faith I was going to be published and see my work displayed out like my fellow authors in my writing group.
I was the only fiction author in the group and I was struggling.
As a mother, as a woman and mainly as a writer.
Since it was Y2K, I had the crazy Idea to get married.
Everyone else was doing it. Just like everyone else was getting a publisher.
I thought I needed a father for my kids, so I found someone to marry and that was the 2nd mistake of my life.
The first was not believing in myself and my writing.
Listening to my writing group talk about how having a publisher was the only way to go and not trying to find out about publishing all on my own.
The same year I got married, was the same year, I published my first book on my own, Dreams of Reality.
What possessed me to do so? Actually, it was a curiosity about independent publishing. The newness of being able to have control of something. I loved being in control and at that point in my life, I wasn’t in control of anything. Pushing my book out on my own seemed like something little I could try… just to see what happened.
It was print on demand and the cover was ugly, but it was mine.
I claimed it and stood proudly beside it at my first book signing, where yet again I was the only fiction writer. The only suspense writer. The only romance writer in the room.
I realized I was different, but I couldn’t change, even though non-fiction and Inspirational Christian fiction could have made me a lot of money. I was different and I was going to stay different.
I only sold 3 copies of that book the first year. One my mother bought so we really can’t count that one.
The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do – Steve Jobs
And then I was broke and depressed and very unhappy that my first time I decided to take control of my life, it was a failure.
But from that failure, I learned a lot about myself.
1. Failure was not going to kill me
2. Yeah, I didn’t publish right, but there are other ways to skin a cat… or get published on my own
3. I didn’t have to publish just one book. I could publish other books.
4. At the time, hardly No one was doing this and being different seem to make me happy.
5. Even if I failed again, I could just start back over.
I was scared and with no one to ask for advice I turned to the Internet to see what others were doing. Back in early 2000, no one around me was indie publishing, but I had the Internet and there was this company called Amazon.
No one believed in that company either, so I was in good company.
I learned how to load my books there and send links out.
And then, Ebooks in 2004. By this time, I “lost” the husband and was a single mom of three kids in Detroit, a city about to go into bankruptcy.
As an ebook author, I was immediately blacklisted in the Metro Detroit book community because I wasn’t a real author. I had started my own group on the Internet and decided to take it offline and find other writers who were “different.” We’d meet every 2nd Saturday at the main library in Detroit. First, there were only two or three and then ten more and then ten more.
A NYT bestselling author told me, “Sylvia, No one would read a book on a computer. Readers buy real books.”
That didn’t discourage me.
I could get people all over the world to buy my books and while my friends were flitting away around the country selling their “real books” I was busy looking at other products to see how they sold their books online and then taking my “product” and reaching readers.
By this time, I had over ten books.
My most popular ones were
I wrote about polyamorous* relationships before it was even known about or popular.
Doing things out of the box was my forte and despite my author friends telling me Amazon was a dead end and wouldn’t last.
“People aren’t going to buy books online, Sylvia.”
They marked me as a failure and tried not to feel bad for me because I was dead set on sticking with Amazon. My books were my babies too and Amazon took real good care of them.
Then the book gold rush happened.
Amazon debuted in 2009 the gold rush happened. Oprah had announced her favorite thing was a Kindle.
Everyone and their momma got one, but they didn’t know really how to use one.
And then Amazon really began pushing the ebooks. Making them the most bought product on their site and I was riding the wave.
During 2010 through 2013, I could live on my ebook income and I can’t thank Amazon enough because as a single mother, when no one believed I would be able to survive on my own with my three kids, Jeff Bezos became the best baby daddy ever! I was paid on time like clockwork. He was the only man contributing to my income.
We had a huge house fire in 2013, and in 8 minutes I lost everything except what was in my purse and my car. (My laptop was in my purse and my Kindle was in my car.)
With the money I saved from my ebook sales, I was able to help put a large down payment and for the first time in my life, I became a homeowner.
By this time I was on 35 books. (Check out my bookstore on Amazon now)
My most popular ones were
- The Mysterious Mr. Black
- Love Like This
- Mistaken Identity
- Dark Facade
(I seriously think Mistaken Identity will always be a popular one.)
I took a year off to get my life and children together.
My oldest was graduating, my youngest was just starting high school. The middle child was doing what he always did, being the middle child.
I was missing the writing world, but family came first for the first time in my life.
During that year off, I had a book on a flash drive that I finished but never published prior to the fire.
I decided to push that one out and just market it for two years while I took control of my life again.
Losing everything and starting back over again is so hard.
Most people close to me didn’t even know by then I was about to have 40 books.
They just thought I had a couple of books.
It was sad to me.
Yet, that determination I had from the beginning was still inside. I really started a marketing effort to get people to realize I’ve written 40 books. Not just a couple, but 40 and I was a five-time Amazon #1 Bestseller.
The fire that burned to be an independent author still roars and as I publish my 41st book, Ravenous, I am proud to say…
I am an independent author for over 17 years and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m glad I stuck to my guns to be different. I’m glad Amazon didn’t give up and I’m glad I believed in myself and Amazon to continue to push my books out to the world.
Book 42 is coming soon and just watch out!
Sylvia Hubbard will not stop writing! I’ve got so much more to come. (Check out my work in progress.)
I am #poweredbyIndie! Through and Through!