So, funny story.
In January, Becca and I hit 10 years of blogging. TEN YEARS. That’s a lot of time, but also not a lot of time, because we all know time flows differently in the book business. It’s all hurry up…and wait. Repeat. Forever.
Writing, publishing, book selling…it is one crazy roller coaster ride. As much as we can sometimes hate parts of it, we also love it. Deeply. (If not, we all would have gotten off by now, right?)
So much has changed in 10 years, including us being busy to the point where we didn’t even realize it had been 10 years. *facepalm*
That’s also something we all understand: the writing roller coaster isn’t just a maze of loops, drops, and cloud-touching peaks, it also forces a person to contort and twist constantly. Being a writer these days means thinking on the fly, mastering business skills, navigating deadlines, building a brand, and becoming a subject matter expert in many things. You need a live example of adaptability, persistence, and grit? Look at any writer who is steering their career.
Rewinding the Clock
Fact: when Becca & I started blogging at The Bookshelf Muse, we were clueless. Utterly. No idea what we were doing, no idea of where the roller coaster was leading. We just had a dream of publication.
That blog is only a landing page now because we moved everything to Writers Helping Writers. But, thanks to the Wayback Machine, I was able to find an archived version of that first welcome post.
We chose the name “Bookshelf Muse” because we liked the idea that maybe something we did could inspire writers and help them see they could succeed at this book thing we all love so much.
We started with a feature called “Thesaurus Thursday” to explore different emotions and the body language that went with them. We struggled with this and thought if others did too, it might bring some traffic our way. Our first post was “FEAR.”
(Note our “Esteemed Bookshelf Stalkers” list: 24. We were thrilled that 24 people read our blog!)
In 2012, we took a huge leap of faith and decided to turn the Emotion Thesaurus on our blog into a book. *whispers* A self-published book. We did it because people were pirating our content and selling it. Plus, we felt that a) traditional publishing probably wasn’t ready for a “book” made of lists, b) finding a publisher willing to take on two newbies to teach others about writing was unlikely and c) it would take too long to publish. The industry had a pretty negative attitude toward SP back then, and we knew we were half-crazy to do it, but we uploaded the book anyway.
Our hope, factoring in the long tail of self-publishing, was it might sell 50,000 copies in its lifetime. That would put us over the moon.
Never did we imagine it would become a staple for writers, or be used in university programs or analyzed in thesis papers. Never did we fathom it would be translated into 5 other languages or lead to a series of 6 books. We never thought it would also kick off an entire website filled with tools we helped to design so writers could write stronger fiction faster than ever.
Something else happened in January, another milestone that still hasn’t quite sunk in.
We sold our 300,000th book. (About 180,000 of those are The Emotion Thesaurus.)
Ten years ago, we were two writers grappling with how to get our fiction published. We were trying not to make utter fools of ourselves by blogging. We had 3 comments on our first emotion thesaurus post.
We never could have imagined this. Our gratitude to you, our supporters, champions, biggest believers…off the charts. We have no words (oh, the irony for two thesaurus-makers!).
But this post is more than a thank you…it’s a message, too:
You’ve got this!
Don’t get caught up in where you are (or aren’t) right now, or how steep the roller coaster incline is ahead of you.
We believe in you. Always have, always will. 🙂
Thanks for joining us, and we hope you’ll stick around for the next ten years, too. 🙂
Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, a portal to powerful, innovative tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.