Looking Back at 2019

This past year was a very productive one for me. I wrote and released a brand-new novel to kick off The West Hills series, the second book in my lesbian Colors series, two novels in my co-written The Speakeasy series with K Evan Coles, the third novel in my Midwest series, and a holiday novella in a shared universe with Hank Edwards.

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In addition, I have two more books that are around the 2/3 complete mark so there will be plenty to come in the new year. But before I dive into 2020, let’s recap all that happened in 2019.

I celebrated my six-year publishing anniversary in December.

I attended a record number of author events this year, including Pride Events, Penguicon, and the Gay Romance and Literature Convention in Albuquerque. I sold a record number of paperbacks, more than doubling the number I sold in the previous year.

My fan group increased in size and K Evan and I reached an amazing milestone with our joint newsletter. I taught myself how to make my Amazon and BookBub ads more effective.

I found new ways to build on the organizational plans I made last year and came up with some new ideas for how to continue that in 2020. I worked on building better reader engagement in my fan group and giving back to readers so they know how much I appreciate all they do to help support my writing.

I signed a contract to have my holiday story translated into French. It’ll be released next winter as apart of an amazing anthology and I am very excited about that.

Writing more books and enrolling them in Kindle Unlimited allowed me to more than triple my writing income.

This chart shows my sales from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2019.

2018-2019

Much of the profit I made was rolled back into things I desperately needed like a new laptop, desk chair, and ads. As I said last year, it’s all relative. I’m nowhere near where I need to be (namely, living somewhere other than my parents’ house) but I am leaps and bounds ahead of where I was last year. The trajectory for everything is upward and I know I’m on the right track.

I have a lot of hope that I can build this into the career I’ve always dreamed of.

Being a full-time author is still a hard job but I love it every bit as much as I did in the beginning.

I still love creating characters and stories and making them come alive. I love the feedback from readers and the connections I make with them through my books. I love that I have the opportunity to keep trying to support myself. It’s an amazing feeling to check my dashboard and see that I am reaching more readers. My books are finding their way to more people. I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve accomplished.

So once again, I want to thank all of you who helped me get there this year. K. Evan Coles, my co-author for more things than I can possibly sum up in a few lines. My parents for allowing me to pursue this crazy dream. My friends who cheer me on. The bloggers and reviewers and organizers and every single person who shared my book releases and helped spread the word about my books. My beta readers and my editors for making my books better. And all you readers. Because your joy in my stories is what keeps me going.

2017 and 2018 were tough for me but by the end of last year, I was beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. In 2019, I moved forward with a lot more hope and confidence than I’d felt in a very long time.

So I’m going into 2020 with even more optimism and a plan to keep building on what I’ve laid the foundation for in the past two years. And a lot of hope and determination to make it all happen.

I can do this. I just need to keep trying.

I’m eager for what 2020 will bring and I look forward to celebrating the new successes next year. There’s so much to look forward to.

 

Looking Back at 2018

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This past year was a productive one for me. I released a poly novella, took three short stories I’d previously released as a novella and turned them into an mm novella. I released an mm novel and a short paranormal mm story with K. Evan Coles. Released an mm solo novel, took two novels and turned them into a single very long mm novel, re-released a mm holiday short story, and wrote an mm YA holiday short story.

Am I tired? Well, yeah. My brain is pretty full these days and the hours I put in are long.

But it’s been an interesting year. Since I began the writing full-time journey in mid-2015, my sales have steadily declined. Some of it was because the market had changed and my divorce took me away from that at a critical time. I needed time to recover emotionally and then I took some more time to take care of myself better physically. But even once I got back to writing, it wasn’t working anymore. I had missed so much and I felt like I could never get back on track.

Book releases were flat and disappointing. Nowhere near where they’d been before and not even close to allowing me enough to move out of my parents’ house. I’ve been here for three years now, far longer than I thought I’d be. Several times I’ve reached a point where I seriously considered throwing in the towel and finding a new career. Nothing I tried was working.

I got progressively more and more frustrated until about August. I knew I wasn’t as organized and focused as I needed to be. I complained to someone I was dating at the time and he said, “I can help.” His career requires him to manage a ton of projects with shifting deadlines and multiple stages of work–pretty applicable to being an author.

So we sat down and he helped me create a paper calendar with color-coded sticky notes that’s infinitely flexible. I organized current projects and also laid out a plan for which books to tackle next. It’s glorious. And as I moved forward with that, I stopped feeling like I was flailing around with no focus. I had a plan and a way to achieve it.

I decided that this was it. My final shot to see if I could make a living at writing.

I wasn’t thrilled about putting books in Kindle Unlimited. I’ve never loved the idea of being exclusive to Amazon, even if it’s only a 90 day period, but I had to decide which I felt more strongly about. I could live with putting books in KU. I couldn’t live with giving up on my career.

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So I did a shitload of research and threw everything at the wall to figure out what worked. Since September, I’ve put five books in Kindle Unlimited, organized two PW giveaways to build up the following for my newsletter with K. Evan Coles, started experimenting with BookBub and Amazon ads, ran a Kindle Countdown Deal promo, took part in a ridiculous amount of Facebook events and group takeovers, and generally pushed myself as hard as I possibly could without burning out.

Some of it fizzled, but you know what? Overall, it worked. Sales have dramatically increased since September.

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Now, it’s all relative. It’s still a fraction of what I made working for a hospital in a relatively low paying job. I’m still wildly below the poverty line. But it gives me hope.

I finally, finally–for the first time since I quit that hospital job–feel like I’m on the right track again. It gives me hope that as long as I keep writing and releasing books on a regular basis (I have a plan for that!) and trying new things, I have a chance of getting there.

Being a full-time author is a fucking hard job. I’m not going to sugarcoat it in any way. The hours are long, the amount of time I spend working and thinking about what I need to be working on are ridiculous.

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That meme is painfully accurate.

But I love what I do and I’m going to fight to keep doing it. I love creating characters and stories and making them come alive. I love the feedback from readers and the connections I make with them through my books. I love that I have the opportunity to keep trying to support myself. It’s an amazing feeling to check my dashboard and see that I am reaching more readers. My books are finding their way to more people. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished.

So I want to thank all of you who helped me get there. K. Evan Coles, my co-author, has done so much to help me. Enough I could write an entire post about, but there isn’t time for that. So I’ll just say I’m deeply grateful for her. I’m thankful for my parents allowing me to live with them rent-free while I struggle at this. I’m thankful for all my friends who let me vent. For the bloggers and reviewers and organizers and every single person who shared my book releases and helped me do this. I appreciate my beta readers and my editors. And I appreciate you readers. Because your joy in my stories is what keeps me going.

I’m ending a very tough year on a high note and a lot of hope.

I don’t know what next year is going to bring and I know I have a shitload of work ahead of me. But I have a plan and a renewed sense of determination that 2019 will be better than 2018.

And I can work with that.

 

Paperbacks are Available!

*throws confetti*

I dragged my heels on getting the paperback out for “Between the Studs” *hangs head* but I got it done along with “Corked” so they are both available now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble! Just in time for Pride events!

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Amazon

Barnes & Noble

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Amazon

Barnes & Noble

 

Anyone interested in signed copies, please contact me directly at brighamvaughn@gmail.com or send me a PM on Facebook or Twitter.

I would be delighted to sign a copy (of any of my books) and send it your way!

 

 

 

 

New Release – “Between the Studs”

Between the Studs Banner VD

I didn’t plan to write a Valentine’s Day story this year. But I was relaxing in the bath on January 22, browsing Pinterest on my phone (because I like to live dangerously). There was some pin about installing shelves “between the studs”. The phrase immediately leaped out at me as a great book title, especially for an MMF poly story.

Before I knew what was happening, a plot bunny was chomping away at me and I had to get out of the bath to write it down. I wrote over 1,500 words that first night, then added another 3,500. It was going to be absolutely perfect for Valentine’s Day, so I talked to my co-writer and warned her I might be a bit slow getting the chapters for our story back to her while I focused on getting this story ready for a Valentine’s Day release.

What I thought was originally going to be a 10-15k short story quickly morphed into a monster 33k word novella.

Blurb:

After a busy and successful year at her bakery, divorcée Aimee Lucas decides to splurge on a bathroom renovation. The owner of Lucas’s Fine Cakes and Pastries is tired of lackluster Valentine’s Days, so she’s looking forward to a solo celebration this year. Why bother with a mediocre date when she can relax in a tub with a glass of wine?

Joshua Ward and Matt Mitchell co-own a construction company, but there’s a bit more to their partnership than they let on. Although both men have caught the eye of many a homeowner, they never mix business with pleasure.

When Aimee hires J&M Construction to remodel her bathroom, she never expects to find a date. Much less two.

As the project continues, Aimee, Matt, and Josh find themselves drawn to one another. Matt and Josh are happy together, but they’re looking for a woman to be their third, and it quickly becomes clear Aimee might just be whom they’ve been searching for.

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, they all have decisions to make. Can Matt and Josh broach the subject without losing their customer? And will Aimee decide she just wants a fling with the hunky contractors, or is it time for her to take a leap of faith on something more?

Excerpt:

Paula nodded knowingly when Aimee finished. “They’re totally into you! I definitely didn’t get any cozy chats with them over coffee or flirtatious banter.”

“Yeah, but both of them? I mean, are they just hedging their bets? Figuring I’ll choose one or the other?”

“Maybe. Maybe not though. They could just be into that.”

“Into what?” Aimee’s eyes got big as she realized what Paula meant. “Oh. You mean …?”

“Mmhmm. Maybe they like gettin’ it on together with a gorgeous woman.”

Threesomes. Well that wasn’t something Aimee had ever considered. Well, there had been the one time in college where she’d sort of ended up in bed with a couple, but she hadn’t been into the girl enough to go down on her and it had involved a lot of drunken fumbling. It had been sort of hot though, she mused.

But two guys? That was something altogether different. And this was no college experimentation. She was a grown adult for goodness sake. She owned a house and a business. She couldn’t really be thinking about it. Could she?

“You’re thinking about it, aren’t you?” Paula teased.

“No!” Aimee protested. But Paula’s arched eyebrow and the disbelief etched on her face prompted her to clarify. “I mean, yes, I’m thinking about what you suggested but not because I’m considering doing it.”

“Why not?”

Aimee sputtered. “Because that’s crazy! And so not me.”

“When was the last time you got laid?”

“Way too long ago,” Aimee admitted. “But come on, I can’t just answer the door tomorrow in lingerie and fuck me heels and say ‘hey boys, wanna fuck me?”

Purchase:

Amazon (Universal Link)

Barnes & Noble – Pending

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Smashwords

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