January 28, 2021

First Published at Fifty

Nancy Roe

My quest to become a published author started when I wrote my autobiography for a sixth grade English assignment. In the last chapter, I wrote that I wanted to be an author. Why? This is a direct quote from my twelve-year-old self: “Since I like to read books a lot I want to write them so I can write what I want so I don’t have to look in the shelves just to find a good book.” The prose is terrible, but the thought is pure. Thirty-eight years later, I made my dreams come true.

While mystery novels are my first love, I started my writing career with a nonfiction book. Multiple articles led me to believe nonfiction was easier to sell than fiction. My one passion (some might say it’s a calling) is organizing. I know Marie Kondo and I would be friends. My pantry is full of alphabetically arranged spices, I have lists of every gift I’ve received for my birthday or Christmas since I was ten, and I’ve kept track of my finances since I moved into my first apartment at eighteen. This year, I’m using sixty-three categories to classify my expenses and income. To me, organizing is fun.

My book, Organize The Nancy Way, took me two years to write, edit, and publish. I remember many sleepless nights considering trim sizes, fonts, layout, publishing paths, what ISBN meant, and how to get the book on Amazon. I read hundreds of articles from many sources, getting more confused with each article I read.

When I set a goal for myself, there is nothing that will stop me. My goal was to publish my first book at fifty. I persevered, found the right steps to follow, and with seventy-one days to go, made my goal a reality. I released Organize The Nancy Way on September 11, 2012.

There is nothing more thrilling than when the UPS driver delivers a box of your book on the doorstep. My name was on the cover of a book! Me. Nancy Roe. A farm girl from a small town in northeast Iowa. I made my husband take a picture of me holding my first book so I could share my triumph with family and friends. This moment needed documentation. With what little marketing skills I had, I put my book into the universe. To date, I’ve sold almost 1,200 paperbacks and have had over 23,000 Kindle downloads.

For my second book, I returned to my first love—mysteries. Going from nonfiction to fiction was another learning curve. I now had to deal with plot, red herrings, character development, and setting. I had the basic idea for the book and wrote the first 50,000 words during NaNoWriMo. (For those that don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It happens every November, and the goal is to write 50,000 words in thirty days.) I participated in NaNoWriMo for my next two mystery novels.

My four stand-alone mystery novels are Secrets Can Be Deadly, Hidden in Shadow Pines, Black Roses for Cassidy, and The Accident. I expect to release my fifth mystery this fall. I enjoy the writing process and sharing my stories with the world.

If I could go back ten years to when I started writing my first book, I would tell myself to find a writer’s group. Be willing to share your story with others and openly accept their feedback. Also, never be afraid to ask fellow authors for advice. We are on this journey together.

Nancy has self-published seven books and is writing her next mystery.

Nancy served as a panelist at the Killer Nashville International Writer’s Conference, speaking on the subjects of self-publishing, minor characters, and dialogue.

On Nancy’s website (, you’ll find articles on organizing tips, recipes, craft ideas, unusual holidays, and writing.

Nancy is a Midwest farm girl at heart and lives in Utah with her husband and two four-legged children, Max, and Addison.






  1. Thank you Nancy for sharing this with us today. It gives all of us the assurance it is not to late to follow the desires of our heart.

  2. Hi Nancy. Miss seeing you at CCwriters. So good to hear you are at number seven. You are amazing. I've been slacking. You caught up to me! I look forward to reading more Nancy Roe Mysteries. Very best

  3. Nancy, What a delight to see your post on Suite-T. I loved your story!

  4. Mysteries are my favorite. I'm glad to discover you and your work, Nancy. And don't get me started on organizing and Condo. Those are nonfiction faves. Best of everything on number 7!

  5. Congrats on the seven books! I enjoyed your post.

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