Writing Wednesdays: How my career has changed in the year since #TKBmovie was released

So much has happened in the last year since The Kissing Booth was released on Netflix. In this post, I'm going to talk about how it's affected my career as an author.

Some of you may remember, May 11th, 2018 was kind of a special day for me: it marked the release of The Kissing Booth on Netflix!

We’re just about a year on from that now, so naturally, I thought it would be a good thing to talk about in this week’s Writing Wednesday post. What’s changed, how it’s impacted my career, and all that jazz.

I’m probably forgetting a few things, but anyway… let’s dive in!

We’ve sold more translation rights – which is very exciting stuff! 

Translation rights are a source of income for many authors, but it’s also amazing to see the story’s audience growing worldwide. Including UK, The Kissing Booth has currently been sold to 14 publishers, 12 of which are translations. I get so many people asking me if they'll be able to read my book in their language; I love being able to tell them yes.

I have a shedload of Instagram followers now (at least, by my standards!) 

Before TKB movie came out, 10k followers on Instagram felt aspirational. Doable, but only over a long time. I had around 10k new followers overnight, at one point, and I’m not far off 50k followers now. My Twitter growth has been smaller, going from around 5k to just over 17k. My blog readership has grown pretty massively in the last year, and that’s been consistent, too, which is awesome. I also got to do a couple of #ads which was very cool. I've always tried to put effort into my social media presence as an author so it's been really great to see it growing over the past year.

People… have heard of me now? And my book? 

Before, when people heard I was a writer, they’d say, ‘Oh, anything I might know?’ or they’d ask about the book and what it was called. I’d be met with polite but blank looks. Now, I say, ‘Oh, you know The Kissing Booth, on Netflix? That’s mine.’ And they KNOW. There’s automatic recognition.

I’ve been able to do some really cool things – like visit Brazil!

The increased audience and recognition has also offered me some really cool opportunities. Like my weekend-long trip to Sao Paulo for the Bienal do Livro last August, my trip to New York to participate in WattCon in October. I also got an invite out to Warsaw because my book was up for an award in Poland – but as I’d have been travelling for the announcement of the sequel, and also had nothing to wear for a super-fancy awards ceremony, I turned that one down.

I’ve gotten new publishing deals, and suddenly have a series?!

I know The Beach House (the spin-off companion novella to The Kissing Booth) has been around for about as long as TKB itself, but I’ve never really thought of it as a series before. But after the movie was released, we sent the sequel out to my publisher, and my agent has since been busy working her magic selling the sequel to The Kissing Booth (called ‘Going the Distance’) and The Beach House, and we’ve even sold some translation rights already, which is amazing news! 

The Beach House was my fifth published book (and first new thing published in five years!) and I can't wait to share more of the TKB series with you guys. The sequel is due out in Jan 2020.

I’m getting ANOTHER movie!

When we sold the movie rights for TKB back in 2013, I was aware that it might not happen. That’s showbiz, kid. So few authors actually get movie adaptations of their book; what’s to say I would be one of them? But Komixx went above and beyond, and didn’t give up on this project. It’s still mind-blowing to me that I can open Netflix and see MY MOVIE on there. But now, I’m getting a second movie, on top of publishing more novels in the series. WHICH IS CRAZY. And I don’t think I’m ever going to get over this. 

Apparently I’ve become 'aspirational' to other writers

When I was at WattCon, so many people told me how much they admired me and wanted to be me, or write ‘the next Kissing Booth’, and I’m aware of how big-headed I sound saying that, but honest to God, that’s what people said to me, and I’m still trying to get my head around it. Like, this was just something I started for fun, cos I wanted to. And now it’s turned into… this?! 

But actually having people tell me how they found my journey so inspirational was really humbling, and actually motivated me to want to do more. Getting messages from people saying that in some way or other, I’ve inspired them to write, or share their work, or believe in their ability to one day be published, remains one of the best things about all of this.

I’ve started saying ‘no’ to things.

I’ll probably do a whole other post on this for my Twenty-Something Series, but it’s worth mentioning here. Having this new platform, this new kind of recognition, has made me change my approach to things. Before, if you’d emailed me asking for an interview, I’d have said yes. Now, I consider if my perspective will be useful, and I also consider more if I actually have the time, and how it will benefit me. Which sounds… harsh, maybe, but hey. Boundaries are important. And I can’t do everything. Even the awards night in Poland, I ultimately made the decision that I couldn't commit to it then. Sometimes, I have to be picky, and the last year has made me realise that. I have to look after myself and be smart with my time… especially when I also have a day job to balance. Something’s gotta give.

I plan my time more

Less of a career-change, but more of how I've been approaching this side of my life. 

Maybe this is a side effect of living by myself over the last eighteen-odd months, but I think it’s also linked a lot to the movie release and how that’s changed things. I’ve been working on different writing projects and balancing interviews, trips, social media, and everything else – the last year has been my busiest for writing-related things since 2013/14. With my job and living by myself (read: doing grocery shopping and chores and laundry and trying to have a social life and all that jazz) it’s been more of a balancing act than ever.

And not to brag, but I’ve gotten really good at this juggling act that is my life. Like, I'm working on six different books throughout 2019 and still have my day job. So. In case you couldn't guess, I'm really frickin' proud of myself about this.

I am both more terrified and more excited than ever to write

I am 1) terrified now because people might be expecting things from me, and that’s a lot of pressure, and 2) so excited because the movie has opened me up to a new, wider audience to share new things with. It’s weird, and my attitude will change depending on the project I’m working on and the day you ask me. But hey, I like to be an optimist, so it’s safe to say this is pretty heavily biased towards exciting rather than terrifying.



Things have changed so much for me over the last year. And obviously in this post, I've tried to focus more on how it's affected my career as an author rather than anything on a more personal level. But honestly, I think that everything that's changed has been for the better, and I'm so grateful for all of it.

I'm really curious if there's things you'd like me to talk about around the movie, the books, how things have changed over the last year... Let me know in the comments, or over on Twitter where you can find me @Reekles!

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