Putting on Your Big Girl Pants

liztalley_princenotsocharming2500So this isn’t going to be one of those how-to posts some of the Rubies are so good at (I’m looking at you, Hope Ramsay :))

But this, rather, will be more confessional. See, I’m going to totally get naked here. Don’t worry. You won’t have to look at this 44 year old pudgy body, but I will open up about my career – the good, the bad, and the meh – for the last year.

Let’s begin with a brief bio: finaled in Golden Heart, sold first book three months later, sold two more five months later, embarked on career with Superromance, signed 8 book deal, realized publishing was changing, stuck in 8 book deal, signed book deal with Berkley, signed short story with Storyfront, sold two books to Montlake, turned down three book deal with Harlequin, subbed two more books with Montlake, got rejected, writing a new proposal…

And six years later, here I am. In that time, I’ve had some bright moments – a Rita final, RT Superromance of the Year, Amazon book of the month. But I’ve had some bad times too, namely, realizing I can’t control what happens. I CAN’T CONTROL WHAT HAPPENS.

What looks to be a sure thing, turns south quickly. And thus, this is where we are in publishing. So what, you may ask?

Indeed. So what.

Well, here’s what. All this time I thought if I wrote good books I believed in, if I made my deadlines, if I jumped through publisher hoops, and if I smiled a lot and was agreeable that I would reap the rewards of my efforts. That’s what we tell ourselves, right? That’s what we tell our children. That hard work pays off. Except sometimes it doesn’t.

It just doesn’t.

So two weeks ago, I made a HUGE decision to take the series my publisher felt all meh about and publish the remaining books myself. You may be like “So? Lots of authors do this.” But it feels bigger than that. Because this wasn’t about tossing something out there and seeing what happens. It’s about the foundation of what I believed being shaken, about me losing some faith in what I thought I knew and about me putting faith in myself. So for me, it was big. I quickly set about getting covers (that look awesome, btw), finding an editor (done) and creating my own publishing company – ARTalley Books, LLC. I applied for my EIN and uploaded the first offering Prince Not So Charming to Amazon. In two weeks’ time, I changed my destiny.

Here’s the whole point of this post – I resisted taking action for far too long. I didn’t believe in myself, and though I’m still quivering in my slippers, I now believe in myself, and something about this is freeing.

Yes, freeing.

I did it myself. Myself. Like a big girl. LOL.

And, though I’ve heard so many people rave about self-publishing (and just as many complaining about it), I never understood how empowering it is to make your own decisions. I chose the cover and I wrote the blurb. I selected my own meta data and figured stuff out. I’m still blown away by myself. Which is silly, but it’s true. I sort of want to huff on my fingers and polish them on my shirt. Did you see what I just did? Yeah, me. I started a business.

So what does this mean for you and what’s the point? Um, honey (and I say that in a non-offensive, non-patronizing way), if I can do it, you can too. And I’m not merely talking about self-publishing. I’m talking about writing that book you’re scared to write or starting that editing business you’ve been mulling over for months. Or maybe it’s something non-writing related – running a marathon, leaving that jerk, or quitting your day job. Deep down you know what is right for you. Stop doubting who you are, stop making excuses. Put on your big girl pants and get busy.

It’s beyond time.


Liz Talley is the new owner of ARTalley Books, LLC. She has published twenty-one stories the traditional way, but as of Nov. 17th, she’ll be doing some things her way. And that has her pumped! You can find out more about the newly bold Liz at http://www.liztalleybooks.comor find her on FB at

Oh, and if you want to support her new business and get a fun little novella in the process you can buy Prince Not So Charming here

24 responses to “Putting on Your Big Girl Pants”

  1. Kim Law says:

    Liz, dang but this made me smile! And I’m so excited for you. Because I HEAR the change in you! (And shhh, but I’m a littl envious! I mean, you changed your destiny!! How awesome is that?!?!)

    Huge hugs in taking this step and enjoying the process, and may it bring you much pleasure and even more money 😉

    • Liz Talley says:

      Thank you, Kim. I’m hoping it brings both those things. And truly, it’s almost a relief. I’ve set indie-publishing up as such a big thing that I can’t tackle, that it’s a relief to know I can do it one day at a time and if I mess something up, I can fix it myself.

      One day when you get around to it, I see you loving having that control. There are pros and cons – like setting your own deadlines (I’m not good at that) but so much else to like.

  2. Addison Fox says:


    I love this!!! Love, love, love!!!! And I am SO excited for you as you embark on this next adventure in publishing!!!!


  3. Erika Kelly says:

    I am right there with you. Because of my fear of technology, I used to say I’d rather be unpublished than self-published. It just seemed so overwhelming–how to even start? And I just wanted to write books (you can’t hear my facetious tone)! And then one day–literally one day–someone read one of the books I’d shoved under my bed, loved it, and I thought, why not? Really, why not? Two months later it hit the marketplace. There was no waiting, I had total control of every aspect of it, and…I’ve loved every aspect of it. It’s empowering and actually fun. So good for you! I hope you love it just as much!

    • Liz Talley says:

      Thank you, Erika! So inspiring. Exactly the right attitude – why not? Of course there are some who would have an answer for this, but still, there is something wonderful about taking a risk…especially when what looked to be a sure thing with Trad pubbing, never panned out as expected.

      So I’m enjoying the process…even while watching my pennies. To do it right takes some up front investment, but I think I’ll earn that back and afterwards, its profit. So I’m feeling good about it 🙂 Thanks!

  4. So much awesomeness in this post! 😀

    First, love the cover! It came out great.

    Second, I so enjoy hearing other people’s journeys. Not because I’m a masochist, but because it’s all about the journey, and discovering what we’re capable of, and learning along the way. Yes, it’s tough, and I have to admit I often get lost in the day-to-day stuff, but we all get to “the end” in a different way.

    Your new-found empowerment is inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

    • Liz Talley says:

      Of course! Sharing what’s working, what’s not, where we are, what we need – it’s all important for the writing community to make good decisions. Every writer has his or her journey and there is no wrong or right. I’m trying this out. It may not work, and to be honest, if I don’t do better this year, I’m going to have to step back a bit from writing and get a day job. We have too many expenses with college next year and the second kid getting close to driving age. It’s what it is, you know. I’ll do what I can do for my family first, then my writing career. SO I’m very hopeful because why shouldn’t I be? Right? I have to try it before I pack it in for a while. My hope is that I can develop enough income to help my family. I don’t need millions…but I would take them, of course. LOL.

      Thank you – you’re always so encouraging.

  5. Rita Henuber says:

    Excited for you. I know you will be happy and do well.

  6. Amy, Congrats on starting your new business. Taking the reins in your hands is both frightening and exciting. There are a lot hats to wear in self-publishing. I know you are aware of this because you’ve chatted Indie Rubies up and probably others.

    I don’t think just anyone should just jump into the murky waters without giving it real consideration. You need to keep abreast of industry changes, info on editors, copyeditors, cover artists, and formatters, and be aware of new marketing ideas and venues and this means reading loops that are there to help indies industry blogs. And there is so much more, keeping track of sales (you need to know if your book has earned out on costs- if not why reasons has to be considered), analyzing marketing data, keeping tax records current for quarterly reports, etc. etc. etc. All this takes a lot of time and networking. Time you need to set aside and time in addition to writing, because you need to produce new fresh work at least once a year.
    If anyone is going to attempt becoming indie, they need to be aware of the full time suck. They need to get organized fast!

    It’s definitely not all chocolate and roses.
    You’re in a unique position to speak, since you earned the keys to of the big Golden doors and then the New Golden Door that every writer seems to be knocking one and with good reason. Without going into specifics, can you give us some insight, a hint, into why you didn’t sign another contact with any of the publishers you mentioned? Or is traditional publishing contracts still in your future?

  7. Liz Talley says:

    Sure, I can share. I decided not to go with a three book deal with Harlequin because of my last nine books with them, only two have earned out (and those were Christmas books). I am still working with Montlake and want to continue to do so. I like working with them and the reason they didn’t pick up the rest of the series is only known to them. I think it wasn’t performing as they expected and they saw more of a decay in the series rather than a swing upward. My editor loves my writing (yay) but she asked me to go with a more emotional, complex story, similar to my Superromances, so I’m subbing a new book to her (actually today). So I value my partnership with Amazon and I’m not looking to sever those ties, but I definitely wanted to continue my Morning Glory series. Some of it is stubbornness, but most of it is because it delights me. I really LOVE this series and I know there are readers who love it too.

    So I’m going to try it hybrid…unless publishers stop biting on my stuff. Hopefully that won’t be the case. Thanks, Autumn. I have already gained so much from my Ruby sisters in way of advice and help. And there are other indie authors helping me along, too.

    • Liz Talley says:

      Oh, and I should say that I loved being a Harlequin author. I learned so much from my editors there and I’m not opposed to going back to HQ. But the money and ROI (my writing time) would have to be better. With no royalties and advance only, it doesn’t make sense to write three books a year for less than $20K. Or at least it doesn’t for me. I have kids going to college….

      • Thank you, Amy, for being so open and answering my questions. I think a lot of our writers, especially those who have been around since the gates were guarded would wonder why not stay with them. You had well earned success in the traditional world, it just didn’t fulfill all your needs.

        Writers need to know that there are pros and cons to each road we take and that they’re the only ones who can decide which is best for them.

        BTW I LOVE the Morning Glory stories. I still can’t see why Amazon didn’t feel that way too, but I’m so glad you decided to continue on your own.

        Thank you again and I’m wishing you mega success as a hybrid.

  8. Congratulations on taking the plunge into indie publishing, Amy! What I find most exciting about your course correct and journey is that you’re staying STORY-centric, you’re honoring and doing what’s best for your stories. If a series or story isn’t working with a publisher, onward!

  9. Thank you so much for sharing not only the hard year, but the joy that you’ve arrived at. That joy in writing our stories and putting them out there for people is what got us all started in this gig, and I am so, so thrilled to see it alive and well in you and your writing.

    Go write happy!!!!

  10. Jacie Floyd says:

    Amy! This is an awesome, huge, gigantic step. Self-publishing isn’t for everyone. There’s an enormous amount to do and constant second guessing, but it’s so rewarding. I’m always thrilled to look at my books and know that I MADE THAT HAPPEN. Quite an accomplishment that most people in this world can’t do. There’s plenty of help and advice out here if you need it, but you are off to a spectacular start. Congratulations and good luck! Jacie Floyd

  11. Congratulations, Amy.What a ride you’ve had. And thanks for sharing your story. So empowering!

  12. Tamara Hogan says:

    Congrats on your leap into indie publishing, Amy! I love how the cover turned out. 😉

    It was both a sobering and exhilarating experience for me to form my LLC, then jump into business for myself with both feet! I’m writing but not publishing right now (I’m in the midst of rights reversion discussions with my former publisher) but I’m slowly taking on some teaching and freelance editing work.

    I deposited my first teaching check into my business account this morning!

  13. So proud of you for finally taking the leap, Liz! I find indie-publishing very liberating. I like having control and doing it MY WAY, and I think you will, too. No more deadlines that you don’t control.

    Good luck!

  14. Congratulations, Liz, on this new phase in your career! I hear you on the “hard work pays off” frustration, but I hope this is the catalyst for great things for you! 🙂

  15. Kim Hardin says:

    That’s awesome! I’m so happy for you, Liz! Thank you for sharing that! 😀

  16. Liz Talley says:

    Thank all of you for your encouragement. I’ve had internet problems this afternoon so I couldn’t comment. But I’ll catch up. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me. And congrats, Tamara, on depositing that check! Woot!

  17. Kate Parker says:

    Good for you, Amy, for going naked and speaking your truth. I know you’re going to find it not only liberating, but a great success.


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