When we last saw 2010 Anne, her novel had been passed up at the last minute by a major publishing house.
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I spent the majority of the summer and fall crying about my novel. I’d worked on it so hard – like, So. Hard. And it hadn’t been picked up. Why had this happened to me? Why did the editors hate me? Why was I a failure?
Truth be told, nobody hated me and I wasn’t really a failure, although I did feel like one. This was a major valley in my publication rollercoaster. I was low, people. My dreams of getting The Call from my agent, signing autographs from fans, and touring the country began to evaporate.
It wasn’t going to happen. Not with The Clearing, anyway.
But people still wanted to read it. Friends and family begged for a copy, but I didn’t have any copies. Because, again, NO ONE HAD PUBLISHED IT.
Not that I was bitter.
I started poking around on Lulu.com and thought, “Well, at least I could have a few copies bound to give out to people. But I wonder if that goes against my contract with Alanna?”
When I emailed her to check, she said, “Of course you can have some copies printed up. And hey, while you’re at it, why don’t you make it an e-book or something? Make a little money off of it and get your name out there.”
We’d exhausted all our editors, you see, so there wasn’t anyone else to pitch the book to. Alanna encouraged me to produce it and sell it, and any proceeds would be mine to keep.
I attempted the Kindle first, but formatting turned out to be more of a challenge than I anticipated, so instead I found my way to Smashwords. If I followed their instructions exactly, my book would be formatted correctly and then they would reformat it to fit each e-reader. It took a while, but in a few short days, my book was available on Nook and Sony, with other e-readers to follow.
In the course of my research on Amazon, I ran across an affiliate of theirs called CreateSpace. This company did publish-on-demand paperbacks. You could create your own cover right on their website, and the author investment could be as low as $0.00. Because with publish-on-demand, CreateSpace doesn’t print a copy of the book until someone orders and pays for it.
I didn’t have to invest anything. And I didn’t.
I set it all up and watched with delight as the orders started to roll in. People were buying it! People were liking it! I felt so awesome and cool and, you know, LIKE AN AUTHOR.
A dear friend of mine approached a local library about stocking The Clearing, and when all was said and done, she’d secured a speaking engagement for me. I wasn’t sure I was important enough to be speaking anywhere, but I agreed to do it. The event took place on a very stormy night in April. Thirty people came, encompassing every demographic you can think of. I got to talk to lots of them afterward, and it was amazing.
The next week, I had two more people contact me about speaking at their venues. I agreed, thinking it would be great to meet some more awesome writers that weren’t quite as far down the road as me.
Since then, sales have been steady, though not mind-blowingly high. It’s about what I expected, and I’m not disappointed at all. People are entertained by the story. That’s all that matters to me.
So what’s the next step? Well, if you’re in the area, I’ll be speaking at the Society of Technical Communication on July 21 at the Fox and Hound in Birmingham (Colonnade location). I’ll also be speaking at the Hoover Library’s Write Club on July 30. Times TBA (because I can’t remember them).
I’m considering applying for a spot at the Decatur Book Festival in Georgia. It’s a pretty huge deal, and I think it could be good. We shall see.
But in the meantime? I’m working on a brand new novel. And I love it. And if it doesn’t get picked up? I have no qualms about self-publishing again.
The end. (But not really.)