What Kind of Author Was I?
It has been one full year now since I began putting my fiction out on Amazon Kindle and Smashwords. I never intended to self publish, but was working hard on Roses of the Moon and sending it out in the hope of finding a traditional publishing deal. In mid to late 2011-2012, I was also taking the beloved traditional route of wriring short stories and sending them out to print and web-based magazines in order to get my work, and my name, out there. All my stories were snapped up by editors within a week of my sending them out.
Great confidence-booster that!
How I Began Indie Publishing
In the Fall of 2012, a friend told me about Amanda Hocking and her amazing success on Amazon Kindle. Though I had seen people reading the odd Kindle Reader, I had no interest in putting my books on these gadgets. As a die-hard Romantic–capital R– I am in love with print books and everything horse and buggy. In fact, one of my favorite periods is the Middle Ages…vellum, parchment, gold leaf, scrolls… j’adore!
Frustrated with the interminably slow process of finding an agent, seeing how long it took my published friends to find and agent, for that agent to find a publisher, and finally, 18 months to 2 years later, seeing their books on the shelves of bookstores, I thought I would experiment with this self publsihing thing. Even if I landed a print publishing deal pronto! I would have to do all the marketing myself anyway. And besides—-70% royalties???? Who in their right mind could resist?
I figured I would stay under the radar while I learnd the ropes, publishing short stories and novellas on Kindle and Smashwords just to see what would happen.
My Cloak of Invisibilty was for Naught
I must confess I am rather new to the internet. I did not even own a comupter until 2008, and at that time, all I knew how to do was email and research. So, I was totally unprepared for the fact that nothing on the web can hide for long. I didn’t really want my stories to be hidden as much as not to be found by many people bcause, deep inside, I wasn’t sure my stories were ready. But, I learn by experience, and needed to be in the game in order to figure it out.
Imagine my surprise when my previously published stories with their home-made covers began to sell! Not alot, but enough to garner the odd 5 star reveiw. It was even more amazing when my “problem child” the paranormal romance, Memento Mori, got some really nice reviews, and then my new thing, The Lady in Yellow was downloaded over 100 times in two days on Smashwords and also got some very nice reviews.
The common complaint about these stories was that they were too short and should be made longer, or developed into novels.
You want more? That wasn’t too hard to take.
Roses of the Moon
Roses of the Moon is a big novel. At over 100,000 words, a potential publisher asked me to cut it. I cut it in the wrong place and so they rejected it. Then I cut it in half and had a much better, tighter 50,000 pages that soon grew back to 100,000 pages.
I was fortunate to find out that one of my freinds, Cheryl Nance, had been a professional editor, and was a voracious reader. She was an absolute angel offering to edit my novel-length fiction for free. She loved Roses of the Moon and helped a lot, giving me the strong feedback I needed. I also found an excellent cover artist on Elance, Angela Holmes, who is an even worse Romantic than me. She made one cover, then another for this book. I am still testing the effectiveness of both.
Roses of the Moon was published in December of 2012. In January 2013, it had over 6000 free downloads, got a handfill of great reviews and died. I have since learnd that, since it is the first book in a series, I will need to have most, if not all, of the books published to attract readers. Since the material is very deep and full of occultism and its own mythology, I know it will take years to finish Books 2, 3 and 4.
Developing the Novellas
Being an impatient, independent type, I decided I liked this Indie Publishing thing, so I decided to give my readers what they wanted, and develope the two novellas, The Lady in Yellow and Memento Mori–telling myself I could do it in a matter of months and be on to new things— like all these other Indies who calim you have to write a new book every three or four months to make a living.
By that standard, I am a slow writer. It took me all year and then some to get The Lady in Yellow revised and edited into the now 100,400 word novel it is. It was published on january 6, 2014. Yay!
Memento Mori is a shorter book, coming in around 50,000 words, thus satisfying my long-held desire to create a short, intense story that can be read in a few sittings.
I begin 2014, having fallen behind, but full of excitement about my new/old projects all sitting on the back burner awaiting their turn. I hope they haven’t boiled over or burnt the pan. Or are about to set the house of fire…
Look forward to:
Dominion of Dreams: Gothic Faery Tales–a short story collection
Dark Reliquary: Sequel to Roses of the Moon
The Shadows: YA Horror in an English boarding school for girls
Morna: A Celtic Tale of the Selkies–a novella
This is a mixture of writing to the market and writing what’s in me. I hope the readers surprise me!