The past few weeks have been tough for me - and not just in my writing life, but also in my personal life. But if we're talking about just the writing, then they've been one hell of a learning curve! I've had to face the negative review(s), the 1-star ratings; I've had to deal with the (quite fair, of course) criticism of books that I consider to be my babies, and I know that this is all part and parcel of being a writer, but it just all seemed to happen in such a short space of time for me. It was as if every single person who had a negative comment to say about my work all clubbed together and decided to post them all in the space of a few days! So that, teamed with the fact that I've also had a few book book returns over the past few weeks, well, my confidence has taken a little bit of a battering, although I would like to thank the person who left me a 2-star rating for No Matter What on Goodreads because, although she only gave it 2 stars, she backed that rating up with a very concise and intelligent review as to why she thought that was all that it deserved, but she also explained that that was a subjective view, and that I was also a very talented writer. I am so grateful when people leave reviews like that, because at least I know where I went wrong as far as what she was looking for in that book. I know why she didn't particularly like it. And I totally respect her reasons.
However, it was that 2-star review that was actually the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak. It was the one thing that made me realise that I have to do what I'm about to do now.
So, that brings me onto the change of plan - the follow up to No Matter What, Illusions of Love, has now been shelved - for the time being, anyway. It's finished, it's written, it just needs to go through the editing process, but I now truly believe that I need to just lay that book, those characters, and even that genre to rest for a while and concentrate on something new. Something brand new, something that I can concentrate on, enjoy wrting, and then market in the correct way - something I feel that I haven't really done before. And I want to do things properly from now on, I want to do things right. I want to take everything I've learnt in these past few months and put it into practise, because I know so much more now than I did when I started this journey back in May of last year, and I know I can be a much better writer because of all that.
I want to write a brand new book - so that's what I'm doing. And I have actually been writing another book - in secret, if you like - because this decision isn't exactly a snap one. It's been something I've been thinking about for a few months now, having an almost constant daily battle with myself over what it is I should do, and on Friday I came to that all-important decision, before I wasted anymore time. I have a brand new book on the go (very much in the vein of my romantic comedy Too Much Trouble in Paradise), a funny, summer romance concerning a cruise ship, a re-formed boy-band and a couple of Geordie girls looking for a good time on the holiday of their life! I'm going to be drawing on my own (sometimes quite hilarious) experiences of cruise holidays and the people I met on them, and hopefully weaving a lovely summer romance into the story. It's going well, I'm loving writing it, and I'm looking at a May release for this as yet untitled new book. And do you know what? I'm actually looking forward to marketing it too, because this time I want to get it right!
But, in order for me to get this book written, and to make sure it's the best it can possibly be by my planned May release, I have to be incredibly strict with myself. So, I will very, very rarely be on Facebook and Twitter over the next few months. And I mean, very rarely, because I won't be promoting my other books anymore, my work there is done. I will still try and help promote the fabulous Famous Five Plus site, because I'm going to need them when it comes to the release of this new book, and I will still be writing articles for them, still trying hard to be a part of all of that. And I will still be blogging on here from time to time - but I have closed my Michelle Betham - Romance Author: It's all about the books blog down. I won't have the time to run two blogs, so that's gone now, although I have moved one post from over there to this blog, because I think it deserves it! My review of the lovely Amanda Egan's Diary of A Mummy Misfit. That's a great book, and I still want that review to be seen. So that post is now here on this blog.
So, I think - I hope - I've explained what's happening with me now. Illusions of Love will be released at some point, but I just didn't think that there was enough call for that sequel to be the next book I released. Instead, look out for a cruise-themed summer romance coming in May, that will hopefully mark my new start as the writer I've always wanted to be. Because making that decision to try for a new beginning feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I'm not going to be obsessed with sales rankings or figures anymore, (not yet, anyway!) and I'm not going to worry about negative reviews or the reasons why people may be returning my books - because all of that has been holding me back more than I cared to admit. I know I'm a good writer, and I know what I'm capable of. So, watch this space, give me a few months, and I'll be right back on the marketing bandwagon, but this time, I'll be trying to do things the right way!
In the meantime, please don't forget me! I'll be incredibly grateful for emails, texts, 'phone calls to keep me going as I sit banging away on this keyboard for the next few months, cutting myself off from the outside world. I still need my friends, and I still need that little bit of escapism now and again. And I know that I may have alienated a lot of people since I began this writing journey - people I used to be really close to I hardly speak to anymore, and that's sad, but I'm trying to follow a dream I've had for a lifetime, and that takes up so much of every waking hour. But the support of friends and fellow writers is never under-estimated - believe me. Without that support I'd be nowhere..Without that support I couldn't do this.
OK. I've rambled on enough, it's time for me to now shut up and put up and get writing that new book, making that new start so that Michelle Betham, Romance Author, can finally feel like that writer she's always wanted to be...
In the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger... "I'll be back...!" ;-)