In addition to being a celebration of the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on 5 May 1862—which has morphed into a popular celebration of Mexican culture and food–Cinco de Mayo was my first anniversary of being a published author.

For some reason, Amazon lists the publication date as April but THE HIDDEN LIGHT OF MEXICO CITY was officially released 5 May 2012. Here’s the press release.

Was it only a year ago

The week that it was published I texted myself a wishlist of what I would consider to be success as a published author after 1 year.   Written on the trusty notepad feature of my antique Blackberry here is the complete text:

Success as a writer after a year:

  • Sold 100 copies of  HIDDEN LIGHT
  • 2 books listed on
  • 100 visitors to my blog
  • Got published on Huffpost
  • Got mentioned in a blog or other online venue I don’t own

Reality Isn’t so bad

So how does reality stack up?

  • Sold nearly 400 copies of  HIDDEN LIGHT (and received real checks!)
  • 2 books, HIDDEN LIGHT and CLIFF DIVER, are listed on Amazon. Thenext book, HAT DANCE, is scheduled for a late July release
  • This blog has received some 6000 visitors
  • I’ve done guest posts and interviews which are listed here
  • Every reviewer on amazon has given my books a 4 or 5 star rating and 61 percent of CLIFF DIVER reviewers said they wanted to read more in the series.

Sadly, I have not been published on Huffpost but I also didn’t submit anything except a short story last week for Rita Wilson’s project to see what women over 50 are writing. I assume my effort is lost in the slush pile but it was good incentive to write an Emilia Cruz story which I’ll soon make available from this website as a free download.

What I Learned Along The Way

So have I been a huge commercial success in my first year of being a published author? Of course not. This is a marathon, not a sprint. But here is what I did do:

  • Exceeded expectations that I thought a year ago were virtually unachievable
  • Recognized that my goals should be those that I can control and  reasonable for the resources available to me
  • Embraced the fact that I am engaged in a massive learning process to master new skills (blog design, marketing, etc) because there is more to this author business than just writing
  • Realized that I am providing readers with both a quality entertainment experience and a learning experience, just as I had always intended to do

Related post: Why Read a Book About Mexico

Related post: Be Angry and Pray Hard

Looking Ahead

So what will my second year as a published author bring? Here’s the next wishlist. We’ll check the progress on 5 May 1014. In the meantime, wish me luck!

  • 5 books listed on amazon (yes, 5)
  • Redesigned website with free download of Emilia Cruz mini-anthology
  • Re-release of HIDDEN LIGHT with new cover, lower price, and at least 1 promotion

Are you a goal-setter too? Let me know what your goals are and how you stick to them.


  1. Aidana WillowRaven

    Great post 😀 let me know if you still need a cover artist for Hidden Light 😀

    • Carmen

      I’ll keep your offer in mind. Thanks for reading!

  2. pov53

    Woo-hoo, woo-hoo. Cheering you from Bethany Beach, where the fish are biting and the wine is good. You go girl!

    • Carmen

      Virtual toast! Could not have come this far without your moral support!

  3. cicampbell2013

    Well done, Carmen, on achieving your goals, and I wish you success for this next year.

    • Carmen

      Thank you so much!

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Mystery and thriller author. Retired Central Intelligence Agency intel officer. Dog mom to Hazel and Dutch. Recovering Italian handbag addict.


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