Let’s be honest about expectations. Every debut author dreams their book will be the one the publishing fairy touches with her magic wand. Their book will “go viral” in digital speak, and suddenly the whole world will buy, read, and talk about it. Like I said, we dream.
When I awoke, I convinced myself I never wanted to be a literary superstar anyway. The reality is that most traditionally published debut novels sell less than 1,000 copies. Knowing mine would be self-published, I set my sales goal far lower. And, reminded that my original goal was just to share my writing with a few others who might enjoy it, I was okay with that.
But along the way, I became infected by the marketing bug. It fed on the green-eyed jealousy monster. Other self-published authors were getting their 15-minutes of fame, along with a hefty royalty check. Why not me? It could be me! It would be me, if only, I did this … or that … or the other. If I wasn’t selling at least 100 copies a day, it’s only because I wasn’t marketing the book right. I wasn’t trying hard enough. I believed.
The problem is I believed that should be my expectation for my very first published novel. I know. None of you are that dumb. You would know it takes time. It takes several published works before you can even hope for those sales totals. Or you have to have incredible luck … or be Oprah’s best friend … or something.
I have only one book—a good book—but only one. It’s time to sink or swim. Fish or cut bait. Put up or shut up. It’s time to write another book because Harper Lee, I’m not.
And then someday …
In a sense, it took me decades to write The Brevity of Roses. No, it’s not a memoir I had to live before writing. It’s not a non-fiction work on my thirty years in Antarctica. It’s a novel. And not a particularly challenging novel to write. It took me that long to get to the “place” where I could write.
I reached adulthood during the second wave of feminism—the “Women’s Liberation” movement of the 1960s-1980s. But I was too involved in getting married and having babies to pay much attention to it. I had made the choices those women were questioning. I wanted to fully embrace the roles they thought I should rebel against—or question, at the very least.
As women around me put their children in childcare and sought other careers, I delighted in being a full-time wife and mother. Though I complained of constant exhaustion, I loved my life. It was hard. There was never enough money, but we survived. And judging by how they turned out, I think I did a darned good job raising my sons.
What I did not do, is take much time for myself. As I said in a previous post, I spent a LOT of time reading during those years. That was my schooling, my grand “filling up” period. That’s when the idea that resulted in my becoming a published novelist came to me. Not that I realized it at the time.
Before I knew it, my role changed. My children had grown into independence. I had time on my hands. One day, a few second’s encounter in a mini-mart sparked a question. That question sparked the idea that had gestated all those years. I could write a book. And so, it began.
What did my book popping up on Amazon last week signify? It was proof of my personal “liberation.” I no longer thought of myself only as Wife or Mom. It was also evidence of my selfishness. I had put myself first, done something just for me. Sure, it looked like an ordinary novel, but it was a declaration. I am Linda. Hear me roar.
Photo credit: http://brrb.deviantart.com/
My friend Kayla Olson brought something to my attention this morning. She pointed me to a rant, posted anonymously by someone at a book review site, screaming at DIY authors like me using the term “Indie,” as in Indie author or Indie publisher. Their contention was that Indie was a term coined by vanity presses to scam would-be clients into believing they were legitimate independent presses.
So, what’s the definition of independent press? Traditionally, it applied to a small trade press. Now, that definition has been muddied because vanity publishers have adopted the use of the term and self-published authors refer to themselves as “Indie published.” Am I self-published, then? Well … not if the definition of self-published means you only sell your books directly, which is how some define the term.
I don’t want to insult anyone by usurping a term I’m not entitled to use. I also don’t want to slap an unwarranted negative label on my work. I am the author, publisher, book designer, and cover artist for The Brevity of Roses. It’s a first-class job on all levels. Label it how you will. I don’t think readers care. So, for clarification—I’m an AUTHOR.
Update: You’ll notice in my sidebar over there —> that my book is now available in digital formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. The print version will be available at Amazon within a week, I hope.
Support your local indie, self-published, DIY author!
If you have a WordPress blog, you’re probably aware that they choose several blog posts a day to appear on the WordPress front page as Freshly Pressed. Months ago, I lamented that I had given up hope my blog would ever be so honored. Then Wednesday morning arrived.
As I usually do, when I awake, I made a cup of tea and sat down to check my email. I had scheduled a new blog post to publish at a few minutes before I usually wake, so I hoped to see one or two comments arrive in my inbox. As I watched dozens—DOZENS—of comments flood in, my first thought was that my blog had somehow been hacked. I had visions of all those cheap prescription drugs and porn messages bypassing the spam catcher and sullying my beautiful blog.
But when I pulled up my blog, I was puzzled because there were only three comments on my new post. I rechecked my inbox and saw those other comments were on a post I’d published over a week earlier. That’s when it hit me. I flew to the WordPress front page and there it was—my post, Freshly Pressed. Oh, the excitement!
For thirty-six hours, I was almost famous. My blog received 8,929 hits! Over 200 new comments were posted—and, because it’s what I do, I replied to every one of them. I also gained 143 new blog subscribers and some new Twitter and Facebook Page followers. I was agog—AGOG, I tell ya.
So, thank you WordPress. And welcome new friends. You’re just in time for the announcement that my novel The Brevity of Roses is available now on Amazon (also on Amazon UK.) This is the Kindle version. The Nook version could be up on Barnes & Noble by the end of the day. Smashwords will have other versions in a day or two. And the beautiful print version will be available, I hope, within a week at Amazon and B&N.
My goodness! What a week this turned out to be. I’m a little bit happy.
I need to get out more. Not outdoors, at least not while the pollen is blowing, but outside my own blog. Not only did I comment more on my friends’ blogs, but I used to seek out at least one new blog every day. I learned a lot and made new friends.
But I got overwhelmed with revisions, and my virtual borders shrank. Then, I started down the road to indie publishing, and they shrank some more. I used to post faithfully, three times a week, but now that’s become a bit erratic, though I do keep up with replying to comments. I owe a big thank you to those who’ve stuck with me.
It seems the last I remember it was November. Can that be April at the door? Some of you have probably written two novels and ten shorts in that time. I’m totally out of touch. I miss the fun side of social media. I haven’t had a silly day on Twitter for ages.
Have you ever seen grass that bleached out because it’s been under something flat for a few days? That’s sort of how I feel—deformed and pale. But my self-imposed isolation is almost over. The e-book files are formatted and I’m waiting on the proof print copy. The Brevity of Roses will soon be out there in the world.
And so will I—virtually, at least. Watch for me. I’ll be that pale, lumpy, woman grinning and waving like crazy.
Photo credit: Dawn M Schiller – Odd Fae and Autumn Things
Today, I have an update on the progress toward publishing my novel The Brevity of Roses. I certainly can’t say the process was painless, but I’ve finished formatting the print and Kindle versions. Next up is the version for Nook. I hope I’ve learned enough from the mistakes I made working on the first e-version that I’ll be able to breeze through the next, but I’m not holding my breath.
I’ll share my hilarious adventures in a future post or page. Oh yes, I laughed—hysterically, but still. I love the layout of my print version, but e-reader formatting leaves a lot to be desired. It’s just not very pretty. The least they could do is let you select your own title and chapter heading fonts. Oh well.
Barring a total mental breakdown from formatting for Nook, I’ll soon order a proof copy of the print version. If that looks good, things will move quickly after that. Brevity will definitely be available sometime in April.
It’s also time to get into promotion mode—past time, probably. A few friends have signed up to help promote my book on their blogs with an interview or guest post and a book giveaway. I’ll also host a giveaway on Goodreads. And I’ll have a special contest here on my blog. I hope to announce more as the big day grows closer. So stay tuned!