Nicola May from Ascot, UK was repeatedly rejected by publishers she pitched her books to, but now she tops the charts on Amazon as a self-published author who has given up her old job in order to write full time. May’s first novel, Working it Out, was published on Amazon in 2011, and she’s since published nine more, one of which hit the number one spot on the Amazon Kindle store.
As the Daily Mail reports, May first began her career in writing in 1996, when she started a diary of her marathon training, which also included her thoughts on her life, the people around her, and her relationships. “I shared some pages with family and friends, who found my writing quite entertaining. I finished the half marathon, didn’t finish the diary, but decided to try my hand at writing a romantic comedy novel instead,” she said.
May’s writing was just a hobby to begin with and she held a job as a European events manager for large corporations, but she aimed to one day become a full time writer.
“I never lost sight of the dream of writing full-time and wrote during evenings, weekends and holidays to ensure that my books continued to hit the market and please my growing readership.”
May’s success saw her secure an agent, a great feat in the world of publishing, but she was still rejected by publishers. She was dealt a second blow when her agent decided to drop her. “After securing an agent, but then failing to get a publisher for many years, the agent dropped me. I decided to go it alone and independently publish.
“I did okay,” she continued. “Even winning a couple of awards at the Festival of Romance for Best Author Read. But, still despite a spike in sales, I couldn’t take the chance financially to jump ship and solely write.
“It was when I had written five novels, that another agent noticed me, I signed with them, then almost immediately got a seven-book deal with a traditional publisher. I jumped for joy – but this was short-lived. I’d always thought that having a publisher would be a guaranteed pathway to success but no – still my dream wasn’t realised.”
In the Spring of 2018, May decided to publish her latest book, The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay, on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing.
“I planned my marketing approach commencing with a 50 strong social media blog tour,” she said. “I also promoted the book as a great holiday read and then it happened. The sales started flowing, the reviews flying in and now I’ve been enjoying the success of being #1 in many charts and, more importantly, I can now class myself as a full-time author.”
May’s books may be works of fiction, but she uses her own experiences for inspiration. The loss of her mother at 17 influenced her novel Let Love Win, which follows a widow struggling with her grief. “I thought back to how my dad was affected after losing the love of his life, but I write it in the perspective of the heroine,” May explained.
“The Women of Wimbledon Common was very cathartic to write,” said May, “as Gracie, the heroine loses twins then has to have a hysterectomy. The same tragically happened to me.”
Regarding the success of her book reaching the number one spot on Kindle Store for over a month, May said: “It felt amazing. It was a massive dream come true for me and the fact it stayed at number one for over four weeks was an incredible achievement for a self-published author. For which, I am very proud.”
If you’re feeling inspired by her story, then check out Nicola May’s page on Amazon now.