Wowsers…are we all in for a HUGE treat…
I’m thrilled to announce our newest
WG2E Team Member…
Bestselling Indie Epub Author
and now an
Amazon Thomas & Mercer Author too…
Theresa Ragan grew up in Lafayette, California, as number four of five sisters. She and her husband, Joe, have been happily married for over 25 years. They have four children and currently reside in Sacramento, California.
After reading her first romance, Theresa knew exactly what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. When the kids were small, she wrote early in the morning, late at night, and in the car while waiting for the kids to get out of school. In 2011 Theresa self-published her medieval time travel romance, Return of the Rose. Since that time she has released a total of seven novels and has sold nearly 300,000 ebooks in a little over a year. She has been mentioned in the Wall Street Journal, the LA Times, PC Magazine, Jeff Bezos’ annual letter to shareholders and Publishers Weekly. She will be speaking on a panel at the BEA in New York in June, 2012, and has recently signed her first publishing agreement with Thomas & Mercer, an Amazon imprint.
Hello WG2E readers! I am happy to be here and I feel very lucky to have been invited to be a part of WG2E. I have been following this site since I became an Indie author over a year ago. D.D. has asked me to tell everyone about my Indie epub journey, so here goes!
Nineteen years ago, on leave of absence from work and pregnant with my fourth and last child, I read my first romance novel, A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux, and I was blown away. For a few hours I had been taken to an exciting world filled with romance and adventure. I had always loved to write, mostly poems and in a journal, but the minute I finished reading that book, I knew I wanted to write my own story in hopes of providing a few hours of escapism for women just like me.
I grabbed a notepad and started writing down ideas. I had no idea what I was doing. I spent a lot of time at the library since Google didn’t exist (that I know of) and I didn’t have a computer. I began to read like crazy, trying to analyze what other authors had done. I filled up a huge binder with endless notes. [Nora Roberts has been quoted as saying, “You can fix a bad page, but you can’t fix a blank page.” I love that saying and I still think of it often. I believe writer’s block stems from writers trying to be perfect. Don’t worry about grammar and commas, just write, let the story out and then come back later and make it SHINE!] Okay, back to my writing journey…five years after I set out to write a book, I finished writing my first novel, Return of the Rose.
After receiving my first rejection, I joined Romance Writers of America and was thrilled to discover there were other people just like me–people whose heads were filled with scenes and characters. I learned more in my first year with RWA than I had learned in five years on my own. I joined critique groups and I attended conferences all over the U.S. I signed with two agents over the years and I worked with a few editors, too. I had heard that if you finaled in the Golden Heart you were practically guaranteed to publish! I garnered SIX Golden Heart nominations, but I still couldn’t make a sale. In March, 2011, that baby I was about to have at the beginning of my journey was going off to college. In a down economy, I needed a real job that would pay real money. I was literally looking through the Want Ads for a job when I decided to self-publish because I had nothing to lose. Hoping to sell a few dozen books, I was stunned when I began to sell hundreds and then thousands of books. I’m still pinching myself.
In my first year as an indie author I have sold over 250,000 ebooks. Many people have asked me what I did to sell that many books. What works for one author, won’t always work for another, but this is what I did…for the first three months, twenty-four-seven, I worked on marketing and promotion. Every day I sent out requests for reviews and interviews. I did a blog tour, I blogged everywhere I could. I started a Twitter and FB account. I made a website. I made video trailers for my books. I was exhausted, but I was motivated by the sales and especially by the emails I was receiving from readers. For the first time in nearly two decades, I had READERS!
My Lizzy Gardner series by T.R. Ragan has done very well. I wrote Abducted at a time when I was incredibly frustrated with not selling to New York. I had worked hard to learn my craft. I was doing everything right, but luck was not on my side. I put aside my romance novels and decided that a few characters were going to pay with their lives. Writing my first thriller was therapeutic for me. The process helped me rediscover my love for writing. I let it all hang out. I wasn’t writing Abducted for an editor or an agent. I was writing it for me.
Abducted hit the Top 100 All Paid 100 List twice. The second time it hit #5 of ALL kindle Ebooks and that’s when I started getting emails from publishers and agents. On March 27, 2012, I signed my very first publishing agreement with Thomas & Mercer, an Amazon imprint. That’s just one of the things I LOVE about self-publishing. It’s not the end, it’s the beginning! I am working with an editor for the first time. The covers for Abducted and Dead Weight are being redesigned and I have already made requested edits to both books. They will be re-released on July 10, 2012. The third book in the series will be out at the end of 2012. I have my first “real” deadline and I love it! I’m having the time of my life.
After struggling for so long, it’s difficult NOT to be grateful. That’s why I am going to enjoy every moment of my writing journey. I decided early on that I was going to be positive, help others, and say YES whenever possible. I have admittedly turned down a few requests, but not many. That’s why, when Amazon called and asked if I would be interested in speaking at a few events, I didn’t hesitate to say YES. I was SUPER shy growing up. I even had a difficult time stepping up on stage to practice for the Golden Heart Rehearsals not too long ago. I remember Brenda Novak introducing me to her editor at an RWA conference and I froze. Nothing came out of my mouth. NOT ONE WORD. But in three weeks I’ll be speaking to a crowd of hundreds at the BEA in New York. What a difference a year makes, right? It is one thing to type away on a keyboard, it’s quite another to talk publically to a large crowd. Wish me luck!
I will be blogging once a month here at WG2E. I will post about how self-publishing has literally changed my life; How I spend my advertising dollars; My experience at the BEA in New York; Working with an editor and negotiating my own publishing contract.
It’s Your Turn, WG2E-Land: Let me know if there are certain topics you would like me to talk about.
Thank you! — Theresa Ragan