Last week I had an idea. (Dangerous, I know.) There’d been a lot of Me, Me, Me thanks to Mousetrapped’s birthday week (I know it’s my blog, but still) but yet everyone seemed pretty interested in e-books. So why not get some other self-published e-book authors to talk about their experiences, their books and their success? A few e-mails and it was all arranged: an e-book themed Special Guest Star week. Today our guest poster is Lindsay Edmunds. Welcome to Catherine, Caffeinated, Lindsay!
On February 25, 2011, Cel & Anna went up for sale at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in print and ebook editions. It was a proud day.
I took the first steps on the long and winding road to February 25, 2011, a few years ago when I started querying agents. Like any first-time novelist, I had big dreams. These dreams got a boost when I found an agent within a few weeks. She loved the book except for a flaw in the middle.
Correcting this flaw cost about 10,000 words and required a top-down rewrite.
Eventually the agent submitted the manuscript to editors at several top houses. They turned it down. Careful reading of their comments revealed a second, critical flaw. Fixing critical flaw #2 required another top-down rewrite.
After I made this second fix, I recontacted the agent, who wanted to offer manuscript to a very small publishing house (about the size of the publisher’s garage, I think). I did not see this as an opportunity.
For the first time, I started to think about self-publishing.
The agent and I parted ways. It was an amicable parting, for she did the novel a lot of good. If I had self-published without feedback from her and the publishing house editors, Cel & Anna would have been a poor shadow of itself.
In spring 2010, I contacted several other agents. This time the doors were closed. Most agents didn’t even bother to send a form rejection letter.
By summer 2010, I was on my way. I decided to publish a print edition through Createspace and ebook editions through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.
I downloaded Build Your Book by Walton Mendelson, a very good 98-page guide that Mr Mendelson offers free to Createspace members. Like a homeowner who, knowing how to use a few simple tools, decides to build an addition to her house, I started the work of formatting the paperback edition of Cel & Anna.
There was a learning curve. There were more learning curves to come.
I did get help along the way. The book had a excellent copy editor, Jill Groce. Dave Hunter of Dave Hunter Graphic Design created the cover. The ebook editions available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble were formatted by a pro: Ted Risk of Dellaster Design.
During the long trek, I was reduced to tears only once. Not coincidentally, it was when I was ready to give up on something.
The Smashwords upload kept going wrong. (You can read the details here and here.) What kept me going was stubbornness. I had never before fought Word and lost. I would not lose a fight involving the most important Word document I had ever created. I did win in the end.
The early reviews have been what every writer hopes for. Readers like this novel. They gave their time—everyone’s most precious commodity—to read Cel & Anna and thought their time was well spent.
An Amazon reviewer wrote: “Ms. Edmunds has conjured up a believable tale of romance and technology that transports the reader in much the same way Star Wars transports its viewers.” What a compliment.
For me writing is vocational—no better and no worse than other people’s sense of vocation. As I worked on Cel & Anna, I had the sense I was working on my life.
Cel & Anna: A 22nd Century Love Story is about what happens when a guy and a computer both fall in love with a girl. It contains technology, romance, magic, datastorms, buggy software, Intelligent cars, and (all too briefly) a highly caffeinated brand of coffee named Bob’s Wide Awake. It is available in both print and ebook editions from these sellers.
To read part of the story, see a list of characters, and find out some facts about the book, go to celandanna.com.
To see what I blog about, go to writersrest.com.
Thanks Lindsay! And I have to say I LOVE the sound of Bob’s Wide Awake…