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Why I am giving Are You Well? away for free

It has been my dream to be an author since I was very, very, very young. I was five or six when I learned books are written and don’t burst spontaneously out of the ground, and land on bookshelves. I remember that moment well: I loved writing at school. In school, it was my favourite thing to do, and I would often spend my breaktimes and lunchtimes in the library writing, neglecting homework.

I knew I wanted to be an author. It was what I longed to be more than anything else. In fact, I had no other idea of what I could spend my life doing. Simply because I enjoyed nothing as much. Nothing came close.

I finished three first drafts before I was seventeen, edited one of those to death (and it was still awful, by the way). I believe finishing the first draft is one of the hardest parts of the writing journey, followed closely by editing. Since I had finished three first drafts and written maybe eight short stories which will never see the light of day, I knew I could be an author.

Fast forward two years and two months, Miscellany was complete, it had been fully edited after going through, no joke, eleven rounds of revisions and edits. That number is the entire anthology, by the way. I don’t know how many times I edited each story individually. I hit publish.

Following this, I had pretty good success in terms of sales and reader response. Although the reviews are only coming in now, I received so many DMs from people telling me how much they loved my writing style, and that made my day every single time.

HOWEVER, I became used to the consistent sales which came at first. Over the previous two months, November and December 2018, the sales quickly plummeted. All at once, the joy I had been experiencing, the pride I had had, disappeared.

Why?

Because I believed that people must have been buying Miscellany because they felt sorry for me and wanted to uphold my self-esteem – far too much of which I had put into the sales of that anthology. I forgot about the love I had for writing and longed for the sales to pick up again.

I thought people must have stopped liking it, knowing that I only hit Amazon Bestsellers Lists in the UK, and the United States because of the generosity of readers. I believed my writing was terrible, and I had failed on epically.

I was devastated, to be honest. Looking back, I just wish I could shake myself, tell myself to get a grip because I didn’t want to write to become rich, to hit bestsellers lists, to get film deals, or anything. I wrote because I wanted to write, because I loved to create stories.

So, I asked myself the following question: “Would you still write, if you didn’t make any money?”

The answer was an unconditional “yes”.

In a huge fit of inspiration and motivation, I wrote Are You Well? and put it through maybe six rounds of revisions and edits. Every second I spent writing the story was amazing. I hadn’t had that much fun writing since I was writing Lady Tabitha’s Revenge – the first story in Miscellany.

I knew I was going to release it for free. My cover designer is currently working on the cover, and I should be getting the concept on Monday. Obviously, as soon as I have the final cover, I will share it everywhere.

I don’t know how many downloads Are You Well? is going to get. I don’t know if it’ll get any. But, honestly, it doesn’t matter to me. I really mean that. I had so much fun writing it, and I am so proud of it.

Someone asked me why I am releasing it in the first place if all I have said so far is true. The reason is that I want to release it knowing it won’t generate any income for me. Regardless of the number of downloads I get, I won’t earn money, and I am perfectly fine with that fact. In fact, I’m thankful.

Are You Well? gave me back my love of writing.

The story releases on January 29, 2019, and I can’t wait.