Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Journey of Mere Enchantment...

     Sometimes life catches you by surprise, and takes you down a different path than you thought you were meant to discover.  This is exactly what happened to me seven years ago as my writing journey began.

     While lying in bed one night, the story for Mere Enchantment came to mind, and I thought it would make a fantastic little book to share with my kids someday.  A story of five people lost in a land of magic, trying to discover who they really were.  The story seemed so simple to me, and by simple I mean something I could write down quickly when I had a few minutes peace and quiet.  The next afternoon, I laid my young son down for his nap, and sat in front of the computer to write down this little story, and eighteen months later, I realized my little story had somehow turned into a ninety-five thousand word novel, and it still wasn't finished.

     I decided as I was putting the finishing touches to the last couple of pages, that it would need to be a series, so it would need to leave off with people wanting to know more about these characters and the world that they had found themselves in. Even though I am unsure how many books will be in the series, I was excited for the chance to keep writing.

     After finishing the novel, the editing began.  This was going to prove to be a difficult task for me, as I had never done anything like this before, and had no formal training, minus one year of college, to go by.  I read my book from cover to cover, fixing errors that I recognized as I went.  After I had gone through it a couple of times, I asked a nine year old girl to read my manuscript and tell me her thoughts.  I repeated the process with a couple more friends, fixing the errors that were pointed out and doing my best to make it perfect, even changing the name of the book along the way. 

     When I had put on the final touches, I printed it off one last time and sent my "baby" off into the world of publishing.  This was surprisingly quite expensive, but I wanted to see what would happen.  There are a lot of publishing companies out there, and a lot of them only accept submission's from Literary Agents, so I had to choose those who would accept unsolicited manuscripts.  The first rejection letter came twelve weeks later, followed by another a year following the first.  Rejection is not something I am good at, so it kind of shut me down for a time.  My husband and I discussed the book occasionally, talking about self-publishing, but for the most part, I was busy being a stay at home mom of now two beautiful sons, and my schedule was full.  Mere Enchantment was put on the back burner, every now and then the heat would be turned up to keep it warm, but it was never fully ready for consumption.

     After four years after it  was completed, my husband gave me the final boost I needed to self-publish.  We hired Christine LePorte, and Danijel Firak to edit the manuscript and create the amazing cover art for us,and began the process of becoming an Indie author.

     Deciding to become an Indie author was a new experience for me.  I had no idea where to start, or what to do once the book became available.  Luckily my husband is good with computers, because I couldn't have done any of this without him.  We formatted, and re-formatted depending on what type of book it would be, Kindle, Nook, Paperback, iBook, etc... Once the book became available, we found errors, and had to re-submit.  We talked with other Indie authors and received valuable information to guide us in the right direction.  It was weeks of planning a preparation, but finally it was ready.

     Getting my book noticed is definitely the most difficult part of being an Indie author.  I am the one responsible for people trying to find my book, and encourage them to read it.  I recommend finding book reviewers in your chosen genre, I'm learning slowly that reviews and word of mouth are the best ways for a book to be discovered.  I started an author blog, and a Facebook page, joined book groups, found friends on Goodreads, and Facebook that were interested in the same genre, these are all things that have helped me on my journey.

     Being an Indie author is difficult, I just have to keep reminding myself that I just need to keep trying, I might fall down every now and again, like a child learning to walk, but if I get back up and keep trying, I'll eventually reach my destination.


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