Guest Post: The Lucky Ones

31 Jan

Today we have a fabulous guest post by Shannon of Duolit who’s stopping by in support of IndiesForward Blog-A-Thon. Welcome back, Shannon! 

“Do you know how lucky we are?

Ten years ago, self-published authors were blindly stumbling across the Internet peddling $20 paperbacks exclusively sold on their self-publisher’s website (with some astronomical shipping fees, yes Lulu, I haven’t forgotten) hoping to recoup the thousands of dollars they spent to get the book published in the first place.

Five years ago, self-published authors were trying to get the hang of Twitter (which had just a million users in March 2008, as compared to 500 million now), learn how to format their own eBooks (for distribution through some new thing called Smashwords, launched in May 2008), and get around the growing package fees of the big self-publishers.

Now, here we are in 2013 with a booming marketing resource in social media (Twitter, Facebook, and an author’s new best friend, GoodReads). Even better, the cost to enter the self-publishing arena has been dramatically reduced by the popularity of eBooks. We can now give our readers instant gratification straight to their cellphones, iPads, Kindles, and Nooks (while earning 70% royalties and accessing a worldwide audience).

Seriously, we have it made.

That’s not to say it’s all peaches-and-cream these days. Indies still have to work hard to make it (the definition of “make it” in this case being “Earn enough money to seriously toy with the idea of quitting our day jobs without subsequently having to live on the streets”) but it’s a much more surmountable objective that it was ten (or even five) years ago.

But the new resources at our fingertips also give us the opportunity to go beyond just selling books. We are now in charge of our own legacy. We can make ourselves into the authors we grew up admiring — the authors who inspired us to fall in love with reading and start writing our own tales.

Truly, we’re so lucky.

(Prepare yourself, grab some tissues, this is about to get a little misty for a moment.)

What if we weren’t so lucky?

Imagine what it would be like if you finally achieve your dreams and publish your first book, but you can’t do anything to promote it. You can’t jump on Twitter, make friends on GoodReads, or post weekly blog updates. You can’t meet with book clubs via Skype and discuss their thoughts. You can’t guest post about your publishing experiences. You can’t control your legacy as an author.

You can’t do any of these things, because your book is a memoir of your last seven months of life with cancer.


I was introduced to Julie Forward DeMay’s work, Cell War Notebooks, earlier this month, by Julie’s mother. I read through the book in one sitting (it’s actually a compilation of Julie’s blog, which you can still read here) and was genuinely moved by her unbelievable bravery in the face of something we all hope never to face.

It’s a beautifully written book, funny at times and of course heart-breaking at others. You can check out the paperback on Amazon (all the book’s proceeds go to Julie’s nine year-old daughter).

After speaking with Julie’s family and reading her work, I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t shake the idea that Julie could be any of us. We’re so lucky, but with one blink that luck could be gone.

I became determined to take up Julie’s flag and march onward, building the legacy she deserves.

But I quickly realized to make the biggest impact, I needed some help. I need a chain of people wrapped ‘round the world to pass Julie’s flag from blog to blog, telling her story and sharing her book with all of our readers.


Thus we have arrived at today, a very lucky day for Julie, when bloggers all over the globe have come together for the IndiesForward blog-a-thon. A group of us (authors, editors, creative types, moms, dads, sisters, brothers, children, friends) are reaching out, sharing Julie’s story on our own blogs and any others that will have us (Thank you, Catherine, for being one of those generous souls!).

We’d love for you to join the movement as well.

Share something about an inspirational experience in your life and a note about Julie’s story on your blog and spread the word on social media. (We have a pre-made kit at Duolit with all the links, images, and blurb text so all you have to do is copy and paste!)

We’re keeping a running tab of participating blogs on today, too, so make sure to share your link here.

We are so lucky, and today we just want to share a little of our good fortune with Julie.”

Thanks, Shannon. Check out: 

14 Responses to “Guest Post: The Lucky Ones”

  1. dianabletter January 31, 2013 at 09:40 #

    Thanks, Catherine, for being part of the chain. And thank you for connecting me to the wonderful women at duolit. I wrote about Julie on my blog, too. Her story is a not-so-gentle reminder of how lucky we all are.
    Diana Bletter, The Mom Who Took Off On Her Motorcycle

  2. michaelmardel January 31, 2013 at 10:43 #

    Unfortunately Amazon do not deliver to Australia on this item:( and not on Kindle:( Michael P Mardel

    Writing to you from the traditional land of the Wurundjeri people

  3. Jodi LaPalm (@lapalmbooks) January 31, 2013 at 15:12 #

    First, I love your blog. Immensely. I have been a faithful follower for over a year and appreciate your witty, yet informative, posts. Second, I love today’s post. I am a fellow indie-author, mother, and breast cancer survivor so Julie’s story hits deep within my heart. I was not going to blog today but once I read this, I felt compelled to write about her. Continued success to you, Catherine, and keep the great content (and guest bloggers) coming.

    • Shannon O'Neil (@shanwrites) January 31, 2013 at 16:07 #

      Hi Jodi! I’m so glad you’re going to join us for the blog-a-thon today, thank you for making the time for this cause. Catherine is a rockstar for having me on her awesome blog today! :-)

  4. alesiablogs January 31, 2013 at 15:55 #

    what an amazing story. thank you for sharing. I will be glad to mention this to my followers on my blog..How do I do that though properly?

    • Shannon O'Neil (@shanwrites) January 31, 2013 at 16:05 #

      Hi Alesia! We have a page with info on how to participate here: and we’re asking everyone to share posts on Twitter with #indiesforward or #cellwarnotebooks. Thanks so much! :-)

      • alesiablogs January 31, 2013 at 16:19 #

        Shannon, I just bought the book. I am a brain tumor survivor, and a kidney cancer survivor . I can relate to her although I am still alive. I am writing my own story but mostly I blog. I will later share about her book on my blog but I have all ready shared via amazon on my facebook and twitter after buying the book. Amazon has this window open up after purchasing and so I shared that way..I also do reviews for amazon so as soon as I read it I will review it. bless you for doing this for her and I am so happy to see this kind of work being done. I am a retired RN since last year and have been wanting to share about how wrong things went with my surgeries etc, but still its so raw and emotional. I am unable to work anymore, but I am happy. I am at home mostly as the tumor residual makes it hard for me to drive at times. Life is interesting for sure . Visit me anytime on my blog! I may even come to you for publishing my story one day…..I hope I can soon! Alesia

  5. The Clutter Book January 31, 2013 at 22:31 #

    You might also want to take a look at ReaderRap (, which is kind of like Goodreads, but only for indie books.

  6. Dreampunk Geek February 1, 2013 at 05:29 #

    Reblogged this on dreampunk geek.

  7. Shah Wharton February 1, 2013 at 07:30 #

    I received an email about this during a publishing crisis recently, so lost it somewhere in the murky depths of my inbox. So glad I’m subscribed to both Duolit & Catherine, otherwise I may have missed the opportunity to hear this story, to absorb the bold reminder to be grateful for all we have, for the possibilities presented to us. And to help this book sell for Julie’s daughter. I’m off to take a quick look around, see what I need to do. I’ll get something up in the next few days, hopefully. I’ve shared this post everywhere in the interim. Best of luck ladies. It’s a truly wonderful thing you are doing. X


  1. Make the Most of Time | Chronicles . . . - January 31, 2013

    […] who show grace and dignity when facing great hardship. When I read about Julie Forward DeMay on Catherine Ryan Howard’s blog this morning, I felt the need to pause and give thanks for all the blessings in my life. And […]

  2. Sunday Coffee Reads: Week #4 « Catherine, Caffeinated - February 3, 2013

    […] week on this blog I opened the floor up to self-publishing questions, hosted an inspirational post from Shannon of Duolit Self-Publishing Team and after MUCH consideration, picked my Top 100 favorite […]

Ah, go on. Tell me what you think...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: