This week’s guest poster is the lovely Iris Sweetwater, author of Brothers of Fang. She talks about her own experience of becoming a writer. Enjoy!
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who wrote sad poems and made up stories about murdered family members because she was bored with journaling in kindergarten. Oh, wait, that was totally me.
I have obviously come a long way since then, but I began writing when I was only four years old. I always knew I was good at it. It was the only thing I was ever sure of.
Yet, I took a lot of detours in my life when it came to my career or lack thereof. The reason I chose this as my guest post is that I know many of you are out there, struggling with the idea of whether to finally write a book, or publish one, and I thought my story might just make up your mind.
When I was younger, self-publishing meant that you paid to have a book physically bound and to be put into stores. There were no kindles or anything like that, and self-publishing meant you were not a real author.
You were a joke because nobody actually wanted to see your work anywhere. So, I promised myself, that if I was going to be a writer, I would get published the same way JK Rowling and those before her did.
Throughout my teen years, I did find some people who wanted to publish me. Poems were what I was most confident at, and it showed as I won contest after contest.
I have six books sitting on my shelf to show for that, and another, the first publication I was ever in, that I was never able to get a hold of. I, and everyone around me, though it was just the tip of the iceberg on things to come for me. However, it didn’t work out that way.
As I grew up, I had other passions. I wanted to be an actress as well. I was good at that too; great, actually. I was going to join a special program in my senior year of high school that meant winning competitions and playing lead roles. I would then be able to move on to an elite school for acting. I had it all planned.
However, the summer before my senior year came, and the truth about my situation was revealed way too late. My parents, who had taken me at the age of six to open up a savings account for college, had only put $800 for me in that account.
They were also suddenly done paying for me, and I had to get a job. It meant I could only go to school half a day, and the special class I wanted, was the last three periods of the school day; the ones I would be spending at work.
I worked full time, went to high school, and started a $5000 paralegal program for college at the same time because they had a payment plan I could afford myself. During this time, I lost all sense of self, stuck in a slump of life that I didn’t know what to do with as all my friends talked about going off to college or finding themselves.
Between the job where I was not allowed to bring lunch, the abusive relationship I was in, and the stress from doing all this at once. I gained a good 100 pounds. I wasn’t sure how much because I didn’t dare check. However, I couldn’t find a prom dress anywhere my friends could because I was so big.
I ended up stuck in retail for another five years. That degree I paid my hard-earned money for, did me no good. I interviewed with every lawyer in the area that would see me, but they all practically laughed in my face.
The typical paralegal was over 35 and male, and the females, well, they didn’t look like me. No one was willing to give me a chance. Finally, I landed a job at a marketing company where my writing skills were finally put to some use.
Eventually, I became the head of the writing department. That was until I was laid off along with all the writers. You won’t find many marketing companies with on-staff writers these days. They are too cheap to outsource.
As I was laid off, I found out I was pregnant. With my health problems, I knew that working outside the home wasn’t going to work, which I found out quick as I began blacking out at the new job I attempted to get. So, I decided to become one of those outsourced writers.
I have now been a ghostwriter for years now. I have held other jobs part-time, including being a teacher, which I love, but this article is about writing.
If you don’t know what a ghostwriter is, it is a person who does the actual writing for an author or publisher, but another author’s name goes on it. You typically sign an NDA which means you can never reveal you write it and the author whose name is on the work did not.
I have made rent on this job for a long time and been able to see my daughter grow up. I cannot regret those abilities, but, eventually, a ghostwriter is going to run into those books that they have written. Now that I have written, literally, hundreds of works for other people, it’s hard not to come across them.
At the end of 2016, close to my birthday, I came across yet another NY Times bestseller that I wrote. I thought about all the money or the fame I could have had if my name was anywhere on that thing, and I got angry.
I would still need to do some of that to make a living, but times had changed. It didn’t make you a pariah anymore to self-publish. So, I went to Kindle and Smashwords and read up about self-publishing.
Before, there was always an excuse; I can’t get an agent, I am too busy, I am too young, I cannot make enough money. I decided the excuses were over. I released my first self-published book in January of this year and will have five books total out by the end of this year.
This is my world. I could feel it from the moment I began befriending other Indie authors. I am not a best seller yet, but I have already seen sales and followings like I could not have imagined with only two books to my name.
So, don’t think for a second that you can’t do this. Just try. Get up every day, and write at least one word. You might find that, even with all the detours, this is where you are supposed to have been all along.
About the Author
Iris Sweetwater is a mother, wife, educator, and writer who grew up on a steady diet of JK Rowling, Holly Black, and Cassandra Claire.
Her love for writing began with poetry at the age of four, and she was published in several poetry anthologies throughout her teens. after many years writing for others, working with publishers and marketing companies as a ghostwriter, she decided it was time to finally share the stories that were blooming in her imagination for years.
She hopes to make a career out of writing paranormal romance, contemporary romance, and YA fantasy and also plans on opening her own charter school one day.
Connect with Iris
ABOUT BROTHERS OF FANG
by Iris Sweetwater
Three brothers living in the Pacific Northwest share a family secret-they are werewolves.
Isaiah is the new alpha after his father dies, and he inherits an uneasy treaty with a local witch coven as well as an opinionated pack. This man with a good heart will be pushed to his limits to live up to his father’s legacy and keep the pack safe.
Annalise is a powerful witch who ends up thrust into the middle of this wolf pack and these three fighting brothers.
Her life is in their hands as they decide what to do with her because of her presence there could mean death for all of the wolf pack. But one alpha with a good heart has mercy on her.
Find out what battles lie ahead in the first instalment of the paranormal romance series-Brothers of Fang.
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Big thanks to Iris for guest posting on The Eternal Scribbler. I hope you all enjoyed her article as much as I did. Do please check out all her links and as always live your questions and comments below 🙂
I am currently on hiatus from this blog for the next two months. You can read about it in this post A Bold Move.