I am thrilled to have Anne Gallagher from Piedmont Writer here today - as hard as it was to talk her into it. She's iffy on that whole self-promotion thing. I understand, really. But in this business, you gotta do it. We waffled about which way to go: guest post, interview, review. I knew what I wanted.
I've long admired Anne's honesty on her own blog. She's forthcoming about her life, her feelings, her writing, and The Biz. She's funny, too. So when I asked her to do a guest post about her decision to self publish, I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. What she sent was exactly what I'd expected - no, not word for word, but the honesty inside of it. And the helpfulness.
Then, of course, I had to email her back to remind her she mentioned not one word about her actual book - for, yanno, the promotion part. I told you all she hated it.
Anne was my 2nd follower, and never failed to comment when nobody else was even reading my messes. I wish her all the best in her self-publishing endeavor!
Why I Chose to Self-Publish
Your book is written. It’s been revised and edited to within an inch of its life. Blood, sweat and tears have been dripped all over the manuscript. You write an outstanding query. You send the query out to every agent who reps your genre and then some. Your beta readers, critique partners, and your mother are waiting with their breath held.
But what happens if you can’t find an agent? If you get rejected time and again? What do you do when the agents say your writing is fantastic, but she just won’t be able to sell it because you’re writing for a niche market? What do you do when the agent says your book would be easier to sell as a category romance? What do you say when you’re told she’d wished you’d queried her two months ago, she just sold three books just like yours but now the editor is full up.
After 50+ rejections each on three different books, I’d had enough of feeling let down, sad, angry, confused. My beta readers LOVED my books. My critique partners RAVED over my books. My queries were killer. Now some of you may say, “I know people who had over 100 rejections.” Yeah, I do too. But you know what, there are only so many agents who represent historical romantic fiction. And only so many who will take it on without vampires or werewolves or zombies.
I write single-title Regency romances without sex. There are no heaving bosoms, no washboard abs, no trysts in moonlit gardens. I do not write category romance, nor do I want to. I do not write sex, not because I can’t, but because most of the time, the sex doesn’t need to be there. My books are about finding lasting love, not a roll in the hay. They are emotional, character-driven novels where love is the goal. People are people, whether in 1810 or 2010. Our basic human need for love and affection doesn’t change.
So I decided to take the bull by the horns and dip my toes into the waters of self-publishing. The most important reason being –
BECAUSE I COULD.
Yes, I knew it was going to be hard, but so what. What in life isn’t hard these days? I had a successful business as a professional chef and private caterer for over 25 years before I started writing full-time. Let me tell you how hard it is to clean up at 1am after doing a wedding for 300 people. Publishing to Kindle has been a cakewalk in comparison. And I got to do it while still wearing my pajamas.
Yes, I will admit, I had a lot of trepidation in setting out to do this. I knew nothing about formatting, html codes, dpi resolution, or how to go about any of it. But you know what – I made myself learn. The same way I made myself learn the correct form of ‘who’ and ‘whom’. The correct usage for a semicolon. The difference between using good and bad adverbs. With the help of some, very, very smart people I may add, I did learn how to format, and upload, and find the right html codes. I made mistakes, big and small. But that’s part of everything.
As a creative artist, I self-published because I wanted my voice to be heard. Yeah, I’ll admit, I’m vain. (Why do you think they used to call it vanity publishing?) I wanted to share my stories with the world. What is all that hard work for, if the book only sits on my hard drive waiting for an agent that may never bite? What was the point of writing book after book after book if no one is going to read them? What did I have to lose?
It didn’t cost me anything but time. I found all my covers in public domain. A very good friend put them together for me. I formatted the book myself (with again I might add, some very, very smart people). I had five (super smart) people go through the manuscript with a fine-tooth comb looking for obvious typo’s and punctuation problems because I couldn’t afford a professional editor. (Who really can these days?)
I didn’t self-publish for the money. There’s some, I won’t kid you, but not enough for me to make a living on it right now. I think, perhaps in time I might enjoy a nice week at Disney with The Monster, but that’s a long way off.
I write my books because I enjoy them. I write what I want to read. I write because I have a voice and want it to be heard.
I self-published because I write in a niche market and didn’t want to change my style to fit into another. I kind of sort of did it as well, to maybe, impress an agent enough to offer me representation one day. I self-published, because I wanted other people in the world to get as much enjoyment out of my books as I do.
I self-published because I could.
THE LADY'S FATE
Lady Violet Flowers has only one Season to find a husband. Raised in the Queen’s household, Violet is elevated in rank, yet overlooked by society for having no dowry. Violet is petrified she’ll bring disgrace to her mother’s name in not making a good match, if any.
The widowed Marquess of Haverlane needs to find the perfect nanny for his beloved daughter, Jane. Fortunate for Haverlane, when the very plump, but very pretty Lady Violet rescues Jane from almost drowning, the solution to his problem stands before him. Ensconced at his country estate, Haverlane and Violet’s only means of communication is through correspondence, which leads to an amiable affection.
Unwilling to think of Violet as more than a nanny, a surprising Christmas kiss compels Haverlane to look at her in a whole new light, and she at him. However, Parliamentary demands made upon his time keep them both a safe distance from temptation.
As the Season begins, an old flame emerges from Haverlane’s past and attempts to rekindle that fire. Violet is bereft and knows things cannot remain as they are. She accepts an offer for her hand, even though Haverlane is the only one she wants. By the time Haverlane realizes Violet is the woman he has been waiting for, not only for himself, but for his daughter as well, it may be too late. Haverlane must now do what Violet has dreaded most – bring scandal to her mother’s house to try to win her back.
Review for THE LADY'S FATE
I felt like I was reading one of the classics. Gallagher has done her research and The Lady's fate reads just as if it were written back in Austen's day. But she gives us a new set of characters to examine, and even though they're playing by the same set of Regency rules, the plot takes fresh, unpredictable turns.
The relationship between Violet and Haverlane takes time to develop, but their electricity is immediate, even before things get physical. Patience is rewarded with some of the steamiest kisses I've ever read---you know, the kind where you go back to read them again...and again, just to make sure you didn't miss anything. I think the attraction's even more intriguing because up until the very end, it's unclear if/how it can progress.
The characters are all well-defined and interesting, even those who are infuriating. My favorite is Lady Olivia in all her obstinate, noble, cane-thumping glory. I finished this book knowing I'd like to spend more time with them, so I look forward to more from this author---particularly in the "Reluctant Grooms" series.
THE LADY'S FATE available on Amazon for $2.99. (links in green)