Sure. Why The Hell Not?

Sure. Why the hell not? An article about the making choice to self-publish by @jemartinbooks, J. E. Martin
Printed copy of Draft One–sorry, trees. I won’t ever do that again.

It was the end of 2015, and I was staring at my list of goals for the new year. At the top of the list—though the list was not written in order of importance—was a string of words that was making me sweat.

Write and publish a novel in 2016

Seriously? I thought.

Seriously. It had been a bucket list dream, unknown to most of the people around me, for…well…pretty much my whole life.

To be fair, I’ve been writing random scenes and chunks of dialogue in my mind—and sometimes on paper or the computer—for as long as I can remember. In fact, a few months before I made the above-mentioned list I’d already written a novel. Or, rather, a novella. A saucy, steamy, unabashed(ly bad) stab at erotica that I pounded out in about four hours one night for the hell of it. I didn’t intend to publish it; I just wanted to see if I could do it.

I closed my computer on the characters I’d shoved thoughtlessly into those clothes-ripping, sweat-dripping scenes, and I left them behind.

The only problem? They didn’t leave me.

I woke up the next morning with one thought in my brain—a thought that wasn’t mine. It was Lathan Black speaking to me, and he kept repeating the same words: “That’s not our story.”

My husband had just made a huge career switch and we were in the middle of relocating, so Lathan had to wait. And wait. And wait. But the entire time he was waiting, he was feeding me bits and pieces of the story he and Grace, his indisputably better half, wanted me to tell. I scribbled the scenes down in the margins of my planner and made notes on my phone, but I didn’t think I would do anything with any of it.

At least not until Lathan—that obnoxiously determined man—stormed right in, plopped down next to me, snatched my pen, and scribbled Write and publish a novel at the top of my goal list.


So there I was, with that goal taunting me. I’m not one to walk away from a challenge.

On January 1, 2016, I started to write about Grace and Lathan. It quickly got out of control. By the beginning of March, I’d finished my first draft. I was overwhelmed by the incredible universe that had unfolded in front of me. I was in love with the characters who live there. I couldn’t stop writing, but the only person who knew was my husband. If I couldn’t achieve my goal, I didn’t want anyone else to know I’d tried. It had been a long time since I’d felt so passionate about anything.

The first draft became the second. And then the third. And then I knew I had to tell someone else. So I told my oldest friend, who became my first reader.

Black Wolf, Grace and Lathan’s story, is now in final proof form, awaiting my approval. It’s due out in November. My drop-dead date for publication is a few measly weeks away.

And I’m letting the rest of the world know about it today. I did it. I wrote a novel, and I’m going to publish it.

It won’t be for everyone, and that’s okay with me. There are plenty of books out there I’m not interested in. But this book? I enjoy it. Hopefully, other people will enjoy it, too. I’m looking forward to finding out. Even if they don’t? Well, I’m okay with that. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, and I can’t wait to do more.

Write and publish a novel in 2016

Sure. Why the hell not?

July 2018, updated to add: Black Wolf is available on Amazon along with its companions in The Black Wolf Series. Hard to believe that one silly goal from 2016 launched the universe that now consumes all my time. Guess I’ll always have that determined wolf, Lathan Black, to thank for that!


5 thoughts on “Sure. Why The Hell Not?

  1. So…it’s not often that you get to read a “first reader story” but I, too, figure why the hell not…because maybe not even the author knows what went through that oldest reader’s head.

    You see, I’ve been with this author for a sizable chunk of our lives…pretty much exactly half at this point. We’ve had crazy adventures, terrible heartbreaks, lots of love, and we’ve had dreams. We shared our dreams with each other, succeeded at them and failed at them together, sometimes we stared at each other incredulously when the other was sharing the new dream. But we just went with it, and supported each other.

    When j. e. martin told me this dream…it was decidedly NOT one of those times that I stared incredulously. I knew this dream could work. I knew this dream would be one of the successes. Not once did I doubt it. Then I was asked to be first reader. It was not a request that I was expecting. I was just thinking I’d be in your position fellow readers…I thought it would be me supporting just by buying the book (WHICH I’M STILL GOING TO DO BECAUSE IT’S WORTH IT). So I accepted the honor, and there I was, the first to read this incredible work. I’ll let you form your own opinions, Black Wolf fans, but I was in awe.

    We worked together. Then I had to wait. WAITING IS HARD FOR ME. j. e. martin KNOWS this about me…and I’m pretty sure she took joy out of me waiting and pacing. After what seemed like forever, here we are…looking dead at a publication date. I couldn’t be prouder, I couldn’t be more honored. Black Wolf is a dream that has come to fruition. Please join me in celebrating the dream process. Share this book with everyone that you know. Share a dream with your oldest friends…you never know where it might take you.

    -Oldest Friend

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