So since this is my first blog post here on Across The Board, I thought it would be appropriate to introduce myself.
My name is Alison Ryan and I write contemporary romance. Some of it has a suspense element to it, and my best-selling book is a sports romance, but it mostly all falls under contemporary, I suppose. It’s all romance, with extra steam.
I really love writing it, but I have to also be honest: I NEVER imagined in all my years of writing, that I’d end up being a romance author. Yet… It really is very suited to me. And I feel so fortunate that I get to make a living at it.
Yes! A living! My full-time job is author. I pinch myself daily.
I originally thought I would be a YA author. I grew up reading tons of YA… Sarah Dessen, Judy Blume, Francine Pascal, Megan McCafferty. I wanted to write about teen angst and small town life, because that was what spoke to me. I started so many manuscripts. SO MANY.
But I didn’t know what to do with them. And I felt like they were derivative and super hack-y. (They probably were)
I self-published a YA paranormal serial in June of 2015 to kind of dip my toe into things. Why self-publish? Honestly, I was terrified to query. Agents and the entire process of acquiring one scared me to death. I followed some of the big agents on Twitter and they seemed easily exhausted and exasperated by writers. And it sounded like getting a book deal through traditional means was much like winning the lottery. In other words- not likely.
So basically I was just chicken shit.
So I self-published a YA paranormal serial called Hell’s Belles. It was about debutante witches living in Charleston. I assumed no one would buy it… But surprisingly people did. And guess what? It made me completely terrified that I wouldn’t live up to reader expectations. And I froze. After the third episode of the serial, I completely froze up. And of course, sales suffered because I wasn’t publishing fast enough. And that made me sad.
I then published a contemporary YA series that no one bought. Which was also sad, because I thought it was the best thing I’d ever written. But it sold basically none.
So I felt defeated.
I decided that I was either going to quit or come up with a game plan to really make it work. YA in self-publishing is very very tough. For reasons that I can get into in another post. So my husband mentioned to me, “Hey. Why don’t you try writing a romance? At the heart of all your stories is a relationship. You kind of write romance already, I just don’t think you realize it. Try something new.”
So I did. I wrote a sports romance called HIS TO WIN. I wrote it in less than 30 days. I had so much fun creating it. It’s a story about a southern girl who meets a professional European football (soccer) player on an international flight to Scotland. And of course they end up falling in love and having an adventure. But him being almost David Beckham famous makes things complicated. So conflict ensues. But of course all is well in the end and they get their HEA. (Happy Ever After)
I had a ball. But I had no idea what to do with it.
I had heard of Kindle Scout. I knew a bit about the program. (It’s Amazon’s version of American Idol for books! You submit a manuscript to Kindle Scout, they put it up online for 30 days and people vote on whether or not Amazon should publish it or not) Well, if Amazon selects you, you get a publishing deal!
I figured I had nothing to lose. So I submitted HIS TO WIN. And it ended up getting selected for a contract with Kindle Press. It was published on February 9th and since then has sold thousands of copies and peaked at #21 in the entire Kindle Store for March.
Anyway, long story short, I published some romance serials before HIS TO WIN was published to build a readership for HIS TO WIN and they took off. So I have been incredibly lucky in ways that plenty of writers much better than me are not, and I feel grateful every day for this life and what I get to do.
I feel like I have written way way way too much as it is… But that’s the beginning of my story. And on this blog I would love to discuss what I have learned so far in this romance business. Because there is a lot. Much more than one blog post could cover.
I am excited to share it. Thanks for having me!