It is hard to believe that my life has changed so much in less than three years. I have pondered how I was going to approach this post. A lot of feelings are fighting for position at the moment. So...here it goes. Just fasten in and hang on because I have no idea where this ride will be going. The one thing I hope you all take away from this is that YOU ALL have a huge part in making my life into the fairy tale success story that it has become. I will never be able to thank you enough. So as you read this, understand that to get from where I was to where I am...I could not have done this without EACH OF YOU!
Most of you know where I was three years ago (prison), and so I am not going to spend a lot of time on that. Lord knows we have beat that topic into the ground enough and I made it clear that I was done talking about it (except when I go back each year as a motivational speaker). This is about the journey that started in June of 2011 when I came home, and how it led to where I am right now. When I came home, I was just wrapping up the third DEAD book, (DEAD: Fortunes & Failures) and on a good month between three Zomblogs and the two books in DEAD, I was MAYBE selling 20-30 books a month.
Finding a job was my top priority, but it was not going well. I finally got a job delivering the paper. That meant (for those who don't know) that I went to work at midnight, waited for the truck to show up to the station, stuff the ad inserts, load my car, and hit the road. I had one of the largest routes (450-550 papers), so I usually got home between 6 or 7AM. Denise was also out of work (construction got hit hard in that financial meltdown and she is a construction accountant...so that was not good) and barely squeaking by on her unemployment. We had separate residences until November so we were taking our already thin finances and maintaining two households.
With things getting worse by the week, I took another job delivering phone books door to door that November. I would stack bags of phone books in the back of the truck and hit the road around 7-8 in the morning until around 3 or 4 in the afternoon. My goal was to keep Denise's car from being repo'd and to try and provide a little bit of a Christmas for her that year. This was also when we dipped our toes in the KDP program and gave Zomblog away over the course of a two day freebie weekend that saw 10,000 units fly away. That was to be the event that kickstarted my book sales.
Here is a shade of irony. This is where my life mirrors one of those cheesy holiday movies. One day I was delivering phone books to a VERY nice neighborhood. It was cold and a bit of sleet was falling. My beard was a bunch of ice crystals and I could not feel my fingers or toes. I was toting between 10-15 bags of books--one bag weighing about 8-10 pounds--each time I got out of my truck. I would go up one side of the street and down the other, placing a bag of phone books on each porch by the front door. All the houses looked warm and beautiful as many were now decorated for Christmas. I could see all the people inside looking warm and happy. I remember this one area VERY specifically because it was just so beautiful and the houses were amazing. Denise and I had been talking about our dream of some day having a house and I recall very distinctly thinking it would never be one of those beautiful homes up on the hill. (We will get back to that later.)
That year, Denise did not lose her car...we had a nice little Christmas, and something was starting to happen to my book sales. We had gone from 20-30 a month to breaking a hundred! It was exciting. People were actually starting to read my books. Reviews were showing up on Amazon from people that I did not know (in real life or through Facebook) and people were really liking my stuff! But then the numbers kept rolling...and we went past the 300 books sold mark in one month! By the time April of 2012 came, Denise had convinced me to write full time and quit my job. She was still looking for work, but we would find a way to get by. She believed in me and convinced me that my time was better spent writing. It was the toughest thing I ever did...but on April 5, 2012...I devoted my life to being a full time writer.
Come back Monday for the rest. This got a little long winded and I know that most of you don't want to spend your entire morning with some silly little blog.