Reflection on 4 Years of Book Publishing

It's been almost exactly 4 years since I published my first book, so let me tell you a little story (because, you know, that's what I like to do).

Back when I was in college, I attended an event where the faculty and students mingled. I remember wanting to meet a certain professor's wife, who was an editor at one of the big traditional publishing companies. Even though I majored in business, I still loved writing. I was also simply curious how that side of the publishing business worked, since I knew nothing about it.

At some point, I introduced myself. She seemed nice enough. I started asking her about the publishing industry. She asked if I wanted to be a novelist. I told her I'd like to be, one day.She told me, "Don't bother. You're not good enough to be competitive. You'll never be published."

It really stung. Even though she knew nothing about me or what kind of things I wanted to write, she told me to give up.

And she wasn't the only person to do so when I was young. I wrote short stories for a fantasy magazine and once got a letter back saying "No one wants to read fantasy stories about teenagers." (This was before the first Harry Potter book became popular.) Another English teacher told me that "Fantasy books aren't real fiction."

Many people discouraged me from writing what I loved, but in the end, I ignored them. I discovered self-publishing as a way to get my books out there without these naysayers. I've kept grinding away at publishing these last 4 years: writing, experimenting, learning new things, and repeating the process.

My point is: ignore the naysayers. The truth is, I'm not a huge success story in terms of money, but I've gotten my books to thousands of readers. That, to me, is winning.

And always, thanks to you, the readers, who have taken a chance on my books.