Who doesn't love an underdog?
Updated: Nov 23
Some writer in some author group at one point said you shouldn't bore readers with your hopes and dreams because it makes you look like an amateur. I read this comment a few months after publishing my first book and the concept stuck with me.
I'm not sure I agree with him. And I'm also not sure I mind. I write cozy mysteries about an amateur sleuth who stumbles into murder. Not to mention some of the best detectives in fiction have no business investigating crimes. So, let me ask this: When did being an amateur become an insult?
Today I’m breaking that rule and talking about my dream to become an author… and maybe a bestseller if I’m lucky.
When you’re a kid, people always ask what you want to be when you grow up. As if a kindergartener has their future planned out. For most of my grade school years, the answer was a teacher. Who wouldn’t want a job with recess and summers off?
At some point, my dream changed and I think I can trace the moment to the first Nancy Drew book I read. Up until then, I didn’t love reading. It was something I did in school. Finding my first mystery opened a new world and I was hooked.
I read more and more Nancy Drew books and started plotting my own whodunits. My Barbies were detectives and the Dream House became a crime scene. Eventually, I started writing my ideas on paper… via the computer. And I’ve never looked back.
I spent my summers writing stories and honing my craft but I never thought it would go beyond a hobby. I wrote because I enjoyed it and if I didn’t write, my head would explode, spewing ideas everywhere.
But what were the odds I’d become a best-selling author? Slim. After all, landing a deal with a publisher is a one in a million shot.
Flash forward a decade and I finished school with a Master’s in Business Administration and a concentration in marketing. I was still writing for fun, but I realized I needed to get a real job in the corporate world.
I graduated in December 2019… and we all know what happened in 2020. My timing was terrible. Or so it seemed.
I used my downtime to dust off my first book – Enigma of Lake Falls. It went through a massive rewrite and after I finished, I uploaded it to Amazon and Barnes & Noble with a hastily self-made cover. I wanted to give my dream a shot. There would never be a better time.
The first month was discouraging, to say the least. My book was out there and no one was buying it. Not even my family members. I thought it was great; why wouldn’t anyone believe me?
That’s when I learned being an author isn’t only about writing the book. You are a business. If you expect to succeed, you need to take it seriously and put out a product people want. But how?
Wait, I had an MBA and a marketing degree… in theory, I should know a thing or two about business.
Over the next few months, I learned everything I could about the publishing business from cover design and photoshop to running ads.
Something y’all might not know about me is that I do everything. No staff or team is helping Brittany the author. I answer every email and reply to every social media comment. For better or worse, I design all my book covers. I format files, handle graphic design, advertise, dabble in tech support, and struggle through accounting.
There are two areas where I do get help. I have a proofreader and an awesome team of ARCs who catch typos, and I run through every book’s plot with my dad. He throws out a lot of stinkers but with a few brainstorming sessions, he helps me come up with a great plot for my next project.
On any given day I might wear seven different hats and put in a twelve-hour shift. And here’s the secret, I love every minute of it!
I am living my childhood dream. How cool is that?
At the time of writing this, I’ve published 13 books, 4 anthologies, and two short stories. By the end of this year, I want to hit 20!
But none of this would be possible without loyal readers like y’all who love my quirky characters and witty mysteries.
While I’m proud of the success in my first two-plus years, I can’t help but look to the future. What is the next step in my author career?
I don’t expect to get rich or become a famous author. I’m too introverted for that. My goal is to make enough to pay off my student loans. And to continue to live my dream.
The corporate world isn’t for me. I don’t want to be an undervalued number at a billion-dollar conglomerate. I’m a night owl and I like being my own boss. And I’m ready to take my business to the next level.
How do I make it happen? I love a good underdog story but how can my one-woman show become a bestselling author?
By being creative!
I received a fantastic opportunity to join forces with a group of talented and determined cozy mystery authors in a chase for the impossible. We are pooling our resources to make a run at the USA Today Bestsellers List. A lofty goal to become a USA Today Bestseller.
You might ask why these three words matter to authors. Is it vanity or ego? Do you win a cash prize?
No. It’s about recognition.
Indie authors work hard and we take pride in our books. We’re the little guy who is just scraping by. We aren’t in it for the money, trust me. We do this because we love writing and we love our readers.
And yet, people in the publishing industry still look down their noses at us. They’re amateurs and don’t belong in the major leagues with Harper Collins and Penguin Random House.
The book world is changing and that scares the big guys. Most readers can’t tell the difference between traditional and indie publishing. We have some rockstars killing it all on their own – Sara Rosett, Steve Higgs, Elana Johnson, and Mark Dawson to name a few.
Hitting a bestseller list is not only a dream come true but also validation. It is exposure to a new audience. It is motivation to keep writing when the doubts creep in. It is a win for the underdog.
I never shy away from hard work… except laundry, that’s the worst… this project will be no different. This is the Mount Everest of climbs and to reach the ranks we must sell more books than I have in my entire author career… in one week.
But I can’t do this alone. I’ll need the full support of my loyal readers behind me. Are you up for the task? Here’s what you can do!
A Bookworm of a Suspect retails for $0.99 and will feature over twenty short stories from your favorite authors. Talk about a bargain! And all proceeds will be donated to "The Free Book Bus", a nonprofit encouraging a love of reading in children and teens. We are set to release on April 11, 2023.
If this looks like a book you’d enjoy, please pre-order your copy as soon as possible. Don’t procrastinate like me and wait until the last day. These early numbers will give us an idea of how many more sales we need before launch day. Because to hit the bestseller list, they only count the books that are pre-ordered or purchased during launch week. We have a tight window to hit our goal.
The other benefit of ordering today? You’ll make me (your favorite author in the anthology) look good. Everyone knows I’m sharing my heartfelt pitch today. And if sales skyrocket, it must be because of Brittany’s awesome readers.
On the flip side, if we procrastinate and put off the purchase, my peers might think I’m slacking and vote me off the island. Yikes. How embarrassing would that be?
We have a chance to be part of something fun and exciting! Not to mention you’ll get a fantastic anthology out of the deal. Just look at the list of authors who already signed on…
Verena DeLuca, NAK Baldron, Denise Jaden, Iris March, Nicolette Pierce, Jessica Baker, Krista Lockheart Lisa Bouchard, Lise McClendon, Julie Anne Lindsey, Stella Bixby, K.L. Montgomery, Anne Shillolo, Polly Holmes, Kathryn Mykel, Angela K. Ryan, M K Scott, Brittany E. Brinegar, Shannon Symonds, Catherine Coles, Adriana Licio and more.
Alright, that ends the “hard-sale portion” of the newsletter. I never like to be pushy when it comes to asking for sales but I think this project is worth it.
If a fortune-teller told college Brittany she would have the chance to work full-time as an author… telling stories for a living… she wouldn’t have believed them.
Okay, that’s not entirely true because I know myself. I would have shrugged and said, “I already knew that. What about my TV and movie adaptions?”
Whatever the future holds, I am living my dream. And I can’t wait for the next chapter.