Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bull, er, ... riding

I forgot to mention when I first posted this, so I'm adding it now: Best-selling author James Scott Bell is teaching a Writers Digest webinar tomorrow, Thursday, February 7, titled "How to Make a Career Out of E-Books." The cost is $79. Jim is a great teacher, so if you're giving any thought to indie publishing, this will be a worthwile workshop.

Carpe Annum. I love our theme this year. It makes me feel empowered. Ooooh-rah! as my marine corps husband would say. Yes, he was discharged in 1972, but remember, once a marine, always a marine. I met him when he was home on boot leave, and he taught me that saying right from the beginning -- along with how to spit shine my boots. Ah, young love.

I actually got a jump-start on our theme and seized the year in 2012, when I took the publishing bull by the horns and released Unraveled. It was a small bull, with wee little horns, and he hasn't given me much of a ride -- yet -- but I'm happy to be in the saddle. Oh wait, they don't saddle bulls. But you get the idea.

I was tired of sitting on a manuscript I had complete faith in, because "CBA doesn't like missionary stories." That's what I was told. That in itself kind of threw me for a loop, but what bothered me most was that I do not consider Unraveled a missionary story, any more than I consider Secretariat a western. Yeah, there's a horse in Secretariat but that's where the similarities between it and a western end.

Similarly, Unraveled uses a short-term missions trip as a vehicle to carry the main issues, which are how we react to a personal crisis of faith, and confronting truth in our own lives when we'd rather just not. At least that's how I see the story. It's certainly what I meant to convey when I wrote it. But, alas, I was the only one who saw beyond the missionary element. And by the way, My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay is one of the finest CBA novels I've ever read, and it's most definitely a missionary story.

And so, since I had faith in me, I went for it. And I'm doing it again. I have just re-released Every Good & Perfect Gift and Lying on Sunday, which NavPress took out of print when they decided their fiction experiment wasn't working out for them. As I look on my bookshelves I see Mary DeMuth's Watching the Tree Limbs and Wishing on Dandelions, and Tosca Lee's remarkable Demon and Havah, all published by NavPress. Well, I for one am glad NavPress experimented, and I'll leave it at that.

So I'm here to present Every Good & Perfect Gift and Lying on Sunday in their stunning new covers, designed by our own Katy Popa's Cotton Bond Studio. Tada!!! They're available at Amazon, in both print and Kindle version for the first time. The Kindle books, along with Unraveled, are available at a special price for a limited time. I'd really appreciate you helping me get the word out. If you haven't read them, I hope you will. And if you have, I'd be grateful if you'd post a review on Amazon.

As I navigate myself through the world of indie publishing, I'm still on the fence about whether or not to pursue a traditional publisher for my future novels. One thing I know, I'm not going to spin my wheels any longer. I believe in my work, and if the comments I receive from readers is any indication, others do too. I'd like the little splash I'm making to turn into a tidal wave, and I'm doing all I can to get the ripple started. As I've mentioned before, if you're in a book club contact me for a special offer.

What about you? Have you considered self publishing? Why would you or would you not?


Megan Sayer said...

Love the new book covers Sharon! :)

Interestingly, I've just had dinner with my cousin and her husband, who are in the middle of promoting my cousin's recently-self-pubbed novel. They're doing really well - textbook marketing stuff - the story is about a classical cellist so they've approached classical music stations for interviews and plugs. It's set in 1920s Sydney, so they've approached Sydney historical societies and offered them books for review. It's even got some cricket stories and, as my cousin says, old-school cricket fans tend to also be history buffs and readers, so they've marketed the book to them as well. So far they've been pleased with results.

It made me think a lot about it, and whether I could/should/would do something similar, and for me the answer is "not right now". I think the more personal the stories the harder it is to do. Or maybe it's just me. The more time that passes between the writing and the marketing (and considering I'm in the middle of rewrites at the moment that time has shrunk back to nothing) I think the easier it would be to take an approach such as theirs. So if I ever did self-publish it would be in years to come. Hopefully, in that waiting time, I'll get a publisher. If not, well, I've at least got distance.

Latayne C Scott said...

Our Katy is a great cover designer! I love it.

Sharon, you are absolutely right about the quality of your books. You're not the only one who believes in them-- anyone who has read Lying on Sunday knows you're a terrific writer. I'm only halfway through Unraveled, and I find insightful observations and clever phrases and evocative descriptions on every page.

You go, girl! I am proud of you.

LeAnne Hardy said...

My commercially published books were not great sellers despite excellent reviews, so several have gone out of print. I have gotten one up on Kindle (The Wooden Ox) plus a new self-published novel (Crossovers). I'm working on getting another previously published title up (Glastonbury Tor) and its new sequel, still waiting on the cover. I'm not making enough money on this to retire, but there is the satisfaction of knowing I don't have to let years go by waiting for publishers to figure out there really are readers interested in African civil wars and sixteenth century drama. I hope your venture is wildly successful!

Susie Finkbeiner said...

At this point, I think that I would have a panic attack if I had to get my hands on that bull. Well, the self publishing bull, that is. Perhaps after I've learned the business a little more. And once I've gotten more of an established group of readers.

Sharon, I'm so happy that you're sharing this experience with us. I am learning so much from the trails that you and Patti are riding the bull down.

And the covers for these books are gorgeous!

Debbie Fuller Thomas said...

Sharon, Katy, the covers are beautiful! Great job all around.
I thoroughly enjoyed all your books. I'll probably be picking your brain in the future on self-publishing. (are you journaling this adventure?)

Sharon K. Souza said...

Thanks for the encouragement, everyone. Yes, the covers are lovely. I'm really pleased with them. Katy is so talented in so many ways.

Debbie, I hadn't thought of journaling the process. I admit, I'm not much on journaling. But I think I should keep a journal on this experience, and on the steps I take/have taken. Thank you for the nudge.

Patti Hill said...

Love, love, love the covers! I already knew that I loved the books, having read them. Your voice is captivating and the stories heart-wrenchingly hopeful.

Hang on!

21st century bookmark said...

Sharon- your post really resonates with me, and I can tell you are an excellent writer just by reading it. I am going to download Unraveled. I teach an adult Sunday School class and a weekly Women's Bible Study, and I hear this issue of personal crisis of faith a lot.I chose a path for my novel somewhere in between self-publishing and full service, and I am quite happy with it. It takes a full year to get it done, but I'll let you know how it works out when the book comes out in April.

Cherry Odelberg said...

What upbeat, witty, positive energy.
To follow the desire God places in your heart is to be obedient IMO.

Kathleen Popa said...

I'm so proud to have been part of Sharon's two books - twice! She wrote them in tandem with me as I wrote my two.

Sharon is a wonderful writer, and these are beautiful novels.

Sharon K. Souza said...

21st century bookmark: I wish you all the best with your work, both teaching and writing. I hope you enjoy Unraveled.

Cherry: thank you!

Ditto, Patti and Katy! I'm so thankful for all of you.

Carole said...

Sharon, I love the type of book you write, as well as the other authors on this blog, so I applaud you for going the self-published route rather than not continuing to write. I wrote about you on my book review blog and will do all I can to help publicize your books.

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