Writing Wednesdays: Five big ways my life has changed since #TKBmovie came out

Since The Kissing Booth was released on Netflix last year, life has ben crazy. In this post, I talk about the biggest ways it's changed my life.

The Kissing Booth was released as a Netflix Original movie last May, five years after the rights were sold to UK-based production company Komixx and seven years after I wrote it and shared it on Wattpad.

Since then, life has been crazy. Not consistently crazy, but crazy enough.

Maybe you're expecting me to say 'I'm rich now!' - I'm not going to, because frankly, my personal finances are none of your business, so let's focus on the fun things instead...

1. I actually have Instagram followers now?

Maybe it's trivial, and maybe my audience is still pretty small next to people like the marvellous Joey King, with her millions of followers on the platform, but it's a huge deal for me. I'd wanted to grow my Instagram audience, where I started 2018 with a bit more than 500 followers. Now I have closer to 45,000. I have a massive audience on there, particularly compared to a lot of similar writers I've looked up in my genre, so this is pretty freaking amazing as far as I'm concerned. 

I also just love that basically anything I post gets spammed with comments asking about a Kissing Booth sequel. I can post about my auntie's dog, my outfit of the day, the nail polish I just bought - and I'll get a bunch of comments about a sequel. I love it so much.

PS. You can find me on Instagram as authorbethreekles!

2. My books have an even more global reach than before

The number of translation rights we sold since the movie was announced have been climbing and climbing - with Brazil even being the first country to publish my companion novella The Beach House in any physical format. (You can't even get it in English in paperback! (At least, not at the time of writing this post, and no plans there right now. You can read it for free on Wattpad, though.)

I mean just at the end of last year, I got a payment for the Romanian rights - which I'd forgotten we'd even sold! I used to know all the translation rights; now, I remember most, but I know I can't reel off all of them off the top of my head if I'm asked. Which is, I'll admit, kind of nice.

Wattpad is global and that was - and is - fantastic. When the Netflix movie came out worldwide and became so popular, so many people were messaging me asking where they could get my book, was it available in their country? I love being able to tell people that they can find it in their own language, and it's so exciting to see how much wider my book's audience has become.

3. I am terrified of putting new writing out there - and more excited than ever to do exactly this

So many more people know about my writing now that I just feel a lot more pressure that people expect more from me. They want something they loved just as much as The Kissing Booth. I mean, that was the case before, but now there are just SO MANY MORE PEOPLE like this.

It feels like a lot of pressure. And that's hard to deal with sometimes, especially with writing being something so creative.

But on the other hand: having that new audience is a huge part of why I'm so excited to write and share new things! I have more people than ever before who want to see what I do next with my writing, and that's so truly wonderful, and something I'm incredible grateful for. I'm still writing and working on new things - like my Christmas book I mentioned in this post, so we'll see what comes of all that!

I'm an optimistic person, so it's hard for me to look at this pressure as something wholly negative - not when it presents such a big opportunity for me, and makes me feel so motivated to do more (and to do better!)

4. I've got to travel to new places - where people were so excited to see me, they screamed

With the movie actually A Thing, I've travelled to some places I never would have expected to go with my writing, and others I've dreamed of visiting some day. I went out to South Africa in 2017 for a week on set in Cape Town, but I also got to go to Sao Paulo, Brazil, for a weekend last August - where I had to have bodyguards to stop me being swarmed by adoring fans, and where people recognised me instantly, and screamed for me, waving copies of my book in the air. In October, I went to New York for WattCon and felt like I was on a high every second of it, drinking it all in - and where people got so emotional telling me how much my journey and my story meant to them. (That always makes me pretty damn emotional, too.)

It sounds glamorous, and I won't lie: it felt it. It didn't feel so glamorous on the 12-hour overnight flights in economy to Sao Paulo/Cape Town (we forked out for Premium Economy for New York) but hey, that's only a part of it! Whenever I imagined myself being a published author, I pictured writing retreats and book signings around the world... so it's weird to actually be at that point.

5. People have actually HEARD of my book now - even if they're not my target audience!

Don't get me wrong - whenever someone found out I was a writer and asked what I'd written, I never expected them to have heard of me. The vast majority of people in this case would not be my target audience anyway, so I'd have been floored if they had heard of me.

But The Kissing Booth took. the heck. off. 

ICYMI, it was the most rewatched Netflix Original movie of 2018, Ted Sarandos was talking about how it was one of the most popular movies on the entire platform just a couple weeks after it was released, and (at least at the time of writing this) even the trailer is Netflix's THIRD-most watched video on YouTube with over 16 million views. 

So now even if people haven't read my book, they've heard of the movie. 'Oh, my sister was talking about that,' I'll hear. 'My wife watched it.' 'My niece and her friends went crazy for it.' 

(Even when I got on the plane to go out to Sao Paulo last year, the bloke I was sat next to had heard all about me and my movie. He told his daughter a row over who I was. She freaked out.)

This is most definitely the biggest change, because it's something that's so drastically different to how I'd experienced being a published author before now - and even before, I'd received a fair bit of recognition worldwide, being on TIME magazine lists and doing TEDx talks and all sorts. 

It's also, for me, one of the most exciting changes.

Last year was a whirlwind, and now I'm just excited to see what comes next in my career.

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