Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Way Things Happen

I've used this post title before, and I'll probably use it again, because I am always interested in and amazed by the way things happen. In this case I am thinking about my decision to go ahead and self-publish my book - especially with regard to the timing of several coinciding events.

I am one who believes there are no coincidences. Here are the things that happened that made me feel that I was being supported in this choice:

**Earlier this year, I reconnected with a high school friend, Arthur Wooten, who has successfully published several books. We started talking about writing and publishing, and now I think of him as my publishing mentor. He is amazingly generous with advice and support.

**My Mom passed away in March. To my surprise, she left us some money. It's not a fortune, but even divided between three children, it's Not Nothing either.

**I learned of this money around the first of June. Okay - now those of you who think astrology is a bunch of hooey need to tune out for a minute. On the first of June there was a solar eclipse. It was in my "8th house of other people's money," which includes inheritances. Eighth house money is intended to allow you to pursue a dream that would otherwise be beyond your reach.  Okay, I've got chills now.

In early June, I let my agent, Kate, know that I was thinking about self-publishing, and felt that if a large publisher didn't pick up my book soon, I would prefer to go that route than to pursue smaller publishers. On June 17th, the day before my mother's memorial service, Kate said she had struck out with another publisher and that if self-publishing was in my mind, that perhaps I should go ahead and start that process. Kate believes in my book and I think she really wants to see it out in the world too - one reason being that her daughter keeps asking her, "Mom, is it a book yet???"

At this point, everything just seemed to settle. The timing of Kate's message with my mother's memorial was too "coincidental" to overlook. Mom was a hard working secretary, God bless her, and she had unexpectedly given me the resources I need to realize my dream. It's mid-year, there is plenty of time to create the book, develop a good marketing strategy, and roll the book out this fall. It all feels right.

So there you go. Now someone asked if I would share the costs of my self-publishing effort, and I'll be glad to. I purchased these services from Createspace: Total Design Freedom Book Interior, Custom Illustrated Cover, and Kindle-ebook conversion. That all comes to $1798, of which the custom illustrated cover is the largest part (usually $1500 but they gave it to me for $1300 - they gave me a deal on combining the services and threw in the e-book free - it's usually $69. I also sprung for an additional $75 for a Library of Congress number. That might be a waste of money but I figured it didn't hurt to do it. They also gave me 50 free copies of my book. I'll have to pay for more, but it's not a lot per book.

I'm starting my marketing plan next, so any and all ideas are welcome. My book is set at Christmas time and it's called The Christmas Village. It's about a sad 12-year old boy who finds himself magically transported into his grandmother's miniature Christmas Village, and back to the year 1932. It's technically middle-grade fiction, fantasy/adventure, but it appeals to younger and slightly older children as well. And, it's meant to be a story that adults will enjoy and can feel good about giving to the children in their lives. I think of it as kind of "It's a Wonderful Life meets Back to the Future."


  1. Oh, Melissa! This sounds wonderful. I'm very excited for you and I agree that this is what is meant to happen right now! I'll send you some info, via e-mail, that I can share about marketing, because although my book isn't even finished yet, I've learned and done a lot, with promoting different Chicken Soup for the Soul books, etc. I'll buy at least one copy!! (I LOVE both those movies you mentioned!)

  2. Becky, thank you - I'll watch for your information. Thanks for the supportive words. I feel truly excited for the first time in a long while. I am not afraid to promote and to ask for help!

  3. Congratulations! It sounds as if everything is falling into place for you. The book sounds wonderful. I'm sure I would be interested in buying it!

  4. Yay! Happy thoughts that everything continues to align for you. Congrats!

  5. This all sounds very exciting. I hope it all goes swimmingly:-)

  6. That's some powerful stuff happening for you there. There are definitely no coincidences.

  7. I'm with Becky,it sounds wonderful.I'll be happy to talk with you about marketing when you get to that point. So happy for you, Melissa. I love it when the Universe seems to support our choices.

  8. This is all very exciting news and I've always been curious about the costs of self publishing, so thank you for sharing that. Best of luck to you as you send your book out into the world :-)

  9. Very exciting. I'm glad some things came together for you. Just think, whatever you work on next, if you decide to go the traditional publishing route, you can point to your own self-published book.

    Any advice I have, for what's it's worth, is to network with as many bloggers as you can. I've learned so much from reading and commenting on writing and book blogs for the past 6 months. Spend time finding book review blogs who review kids books and the blogs of those who comment there. If you're not part of SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators), do that for sure. If you have a local indie book store, see what their policy is on shelving self-pub books and/or having guest authors.

    Best of luck to you!


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