*previously published 3-17-14
OUR STORY TO BECOMING AUTHORS
Becca and I always talk about writing one of these posts, about our journey to being authors. So it seemed fitting that before our fifth book releases and before we turn 23, we'd explain how we came to be Krista & Becca Ritchie -- authors.
Addicted to You is our first published book together. It is not the first book we've ever written. It's not the first book we've tried to get an agent with. It's not the first book that we poured hours and hours of energy into.
Becca started writing when she was 12 years old, and she finished her second book when she was 14. From the persistence of our family to see one of her books in print, she went ahead and self-published a YA urban fantasy when she was just 17. It took a lot of balls, ones that I didn't have. Especially as a high schooler having to promote her own book to other high school students.
I started writing in high school, but I never wrote beginnings or ends. Just middles. I was a "closeted" writer. One who didn't like to tell anyone that I typed out stories late at night.
We decided to give up writing once we graduated high school. We couldn't do it for long. One semester in, and we had stories swirling in our heads. And we started writing again. That's four months--the longest either of us had ever stopped writing since we started. Being away from a word document filled with our imaginations felt like ripping off an appendage. But I never really felt like a real writer until Becca and I decided to write together at 18.
In college we wrote four books, we spent three years trying to get represented by an agent. Many authors know that long grueling process. The one where you have a book in your hands and have worked endlessly to make it perfect. You spend months, sometimes years querying agents to have rejection after rejection. Sometimes you get lucky and have full or partial requests. Only to be rejected again.
We queried four books. We were rejected for every single one. We went to writing conferences to try and figure out how to get better at the craft and how to make our dreams come true. The consensus was always the same. Agents would tell us we were great writers and they could see us doing well in the industry, but they had to pass because the genre was difficult to sell, or because our concepts were risky, or because this...because that...because...
That's hard. Being told you have talent but no one is willing to take a chance on you. It didn't stop us from trying. For however painful each rejection was, how much it stung, we knew we had to try. Because this is what we loved. It made us want it more. We wanted to prove so many people wrong and prove ourselves right.
During this time we were sophomores, juniors, and seniors in college. I was spending my time earning a Biology degree, volunteering at hospitals, and doing genetics research, while Becca worked hard earning degrees in English and Mass Media Arts. Our real dream was to become authors, and so we held out hope that one agent would take a chance and offer us representation. At least before we graduated. I think we both knew there was this huge ticking clock for us.
If we couldn't be signed before we graduated, we would have to go our separate ways.
Becca would get a job in television production. I'd have to go to medical school. The hard cold truth is that dreams are only dreams. We can't live on the possibility of maybe-one-day we'll become authors. And so as we watched that dream fade away every single year, we realized that we may never be able to do it. Medical school is a 4-year commitment that sucks up everything you have. Money. Time. Energy. Becoming a doctor is a lifetime commitment that I knew wouldn't allow me to write--even if it'd kill me to leave it behind.
February of our senior year, I decided fuck it. We're going to write this book that I've been thinking about for a while. The one with a female sex addict. And we're not going to wait around five months trying to get an agent. We're going to publish it ourselves. Becca was afraid because she knew how tough promoting a self-published book can be -- she tried it at 17. But times had changed, and it wasn't frowned upon or seen as a lesser form of publishing, just an alternate avenue. And in the end, we thought if it does terribly, then it does terribly. But we have nothing to lose anymore. We have no more time left together.
Addicted to You was the best thing we ever did. It's not like we became Amazon Bestsellers the moment we hit publish. It's been a really long road for us, with lots of mistakes and ups and downs. Self-publishing is the scariest and most rewarding process, and we wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.
Because, truth is, we wouldn't be authors if it wasn't for this outlet. If it wasn't for all of you.
So this is the moment where we say thank you. For reading our books. For supporting us in any way. We're only 22. And we are living our dream. Because of you. And it's not an exaggeration. If we didn't have the most amazing readers, we'd be somewhere else. And these books would stay ours and only ours. We're happy, so very, very happy, that they're now yours too.
Sometimes I just stop and look around, reminding myself where I am. Because this doesn't feel real. It's a dream that we've been fighting to achieve for what feels like a really long time.
We didn't just wake up one day and decide to write a book. We fell in love with writing at 12 and 14. We sucked at it. But we kept doing it until we got better. We didn't fall in love with the success of it. We've been rejected so many times, and yet we still write. We write because we love it. Because it's the only thing that makes us truly happy. Because we tried to stop, and we couldn't.
We often listen to Macklemore's song "10,000 Hours" and it reminds us of our journey. How it took a lot of work, and effort, but we made it. We're doing this for a living, full time, with no alternatives that have less happy endings.
And for the first time, we can say, we're not just writers or maybe-one-day authors. We are authors. So thank you. For making our dreams come true.
*previously published 1-28-14
WHAT KISS THE SKY MEANS TO ME...
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