Life After List – Jess Michaels
Hi everyone and a big thanks to Nikita for having me here. If you don’t know me, I’m Jess Michaels and I write erotic historical romance set in the Regency era. My latest release, FORBIDDEN, came out yesterday and it starts a brand new series, The Wicked Woodleys. In it my heroine, Audrey finds unexpected passion when friendships turns to something more with her brother’s man of affairs, Jude.
When Nikita and I talked about me appearing here a couple of months ago, she mentioned some of the biggest news in my life. She mentioned the bestseller list. I have been writing for a long time and for a lot of books (over 50) but this year I have hit the USA Bestseller List for the first (and second) time. Nikita asked me to talk about life before and after the list.
So let’s talk about before…
I have been writing for over 15 years and I’ve been published over 10 of those 15. From the very beginning, my goal was to become a bestseller. I really tried, too. I wrote and did what was asked of me by my publishers and promoted myself as best I could. But times were different then. Traditional publishing was really the only viable way for authors and I could never generate the kind of numbers I needed to move toward my goal. I was told to forget it, that I didn’t have the “magic” required to hit the list. Sadly, I began to believe that. And I accepted that it would never happen for me.
Now don’t get me wrong. I had a great time writing my books and had varying levels of success with different publishers. I probably came close a few times, but without being able to see numbers per week due to the way publishers share information, I have no idea if that’s true. Probably it’s better not to know.
And then I went indie. I’d dabbled in it before, but in January of this year I jumped in with both feet and all the hopes I had in me. And it worked. I’ve had wonderful financial and critical success with my books this year. It was more than enough for me.
But something crazy happened. In April, after ,THE WIDOW WAGER my third book in my Notorious Flynns series, came out I checked the USA Today Bestseller list. I never thought the book would be there. But it was. Right there. One of the 150 top selling books in the entire country for its release week. I screamed. I sobbed. I celebrated. This dream I had let go of years before had come true in its own time and on my own terms and it was AMAZING! Even more amazing was that my June release, A MARQUIS FOR MARY (Book 5 in Notorious Flynns) also hit the list.
So now I’m at the “after” of all this amazingness and Nikita wanted me to talk about where I am now. Well, I’m writing. Still writing. Lots of writing. I’m still indie and I have no intention of ever going back into the machine that made me question my “magic”. In other words, nothing much has changed. I get a thrill when I get to sign something, USA Today Bestseller or I see it on a cover. But other than that, life is pretty much the same. I write because I love to write and tell stories and share them. Lists and honors and awards are just icing on an already delicious cake.
But if you want to help me see if I can hit the list again with my new book, I hope you’ll check it out!