Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Self-Pubbed Authors: Want to Share Your Journey?

I have only been a self-published author for a couple of months, and in that short time, I have met some incredible authors, bloggers and reviewers. This has been one of the most amazing and rewarding experiences of my life. It has also been the most challenging.

Many of us have gone through the agents, traditional publishers and rejections, only to wind up with a manuscript sitting sadly on our hard drives. So, we decided to screw up our courage and go after what we have always dreamed of having-- a published novel.

Promoting a self-published ebook has taken months and months of work, and yesterday morning, even though I knew it was coming, when I clicked on Chick Lit Plus, run by the amazing and prolific Samantha March (she is even busier than me!), I was still absolutely astounded. When she told me I'd been selected as their debut author of the month, every rejection, every moment of self-doubt and every worry I'd ever had about self-publishing Finding Lucas was whisked away by the excitement and joy I've been waiting for in my many years as a writer.

I am just at the beginning of this wild and crazy adventure, and I am excited to wake up every morning (usually with my kids jumping on my face) and start again. And as I connect with more and more writers who want to self-publish, I want to open this blog to self-published authors who want to tell their stories and talk about their books. If you would like to guest post, please leave a comment and an email address.

I'm looking forward to reading your stories of self-publication!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ebook or Paperback?

I must admit that until a few months prior to publishing Finding Lucas on Kindle, I had never read or even seen an ebook. One of my favourite things in the world is to head to my local bookstore and wander through the stacks of chick lit, mystery, suspense and literary fiction. To find the book I want, I first look at the cover. Does it call to me and make me want to go forward? If yes, I read the synopsis. If I'm suitably intrigued, I'll read the first few lines. If the words draw me in, I'm sold. Price doesn't make or break my purchase, but I prefer paperbacks over hardcover because if I can save money, great, and if I can slip it into my purse, even better.

I love the smell of new books, I, gasp, adore dog-earing the pages instead of using a bookmark, and I can think of nothing better at the end of a long day than curling up on my couch with a book. So, when I decided to self-publish, I immediately started researching print options. Well, the cost of publishing and difficulty of getting the book in stores while running Perfect Pen Communications and taking care of my kids was not even a remote possibility. And since I desperately wanted to publish Finding Lucas, I looked into ebooks.

I wanted to see exactly the experience my readers would have with Finding Lucas, but Kindle is not yet available in Canada. With, however, there was one, only one, that could be shipped to Canada. I bought it immediately and waiting anxiously for it to arrive on my doorstep. The day it came, I lovingly held it in my hands. It was so small and light! I rushed to my computer and downloaded my first book. And then I downloaded a few more.

There were so many things I'd need to decide before publishing Finding Lucas. Indents or no indents? How should I do the spacing? Would my cover look as good on the Kindle as it did on my computer? And how would I convert the thing? I breathed and took a step back. I needed to read a few ebooks to get used to not turning the pages and folding over the corners. I had to stop relentlessly tapping my poor Kindle to get to the next page.

I'll be honest. It has taken me awhile to get used to my Kindle, and I don't think it will replace my love of paperbacks or my wish to see my book laid out on a bookstore display table. But, I can't deny that it is much easier to carry around than lugging a book in my bag, it is sleek and fun to use, and I love how quickly I go from choosing a book to having it ready to read. I don't even have to leave the house!

I do hope that e-readers don't replace paperbacks, but I think they are a great addition to a reader and writer's toolbox. Anyone can buy and read Finding Lucas with a simple click, and I have the amazing opportunity of releasing my novel all over the world. So, I will continue publishing books on Kindle, and one day, I will also release the paperback version so my readers can have the best of both.

I love my Kindle, I love my paperbacks, and I think both can flourish in our fast-paced, digital lives.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Romantic Comedy or Chick Lit?

I hesitate to call myself a chick lit writer. Not because I'm embarrassed by the genre, but because it has, in recent years, gotten quite the negative press. With its fun, frothy covers, fast-paced dialogue and hilarious main characters, chick lit has become synonymous with shoes, shopping and sadly, silly writing. As a voracious chick lit reader and writer, I am surprised by the strong attitudes towards chick lit, especially by people who haven't read any of it.

Just as in any genre, there are your serious and light writers. On the edgier side of chick lit, there are the sharp voices of Marian Keyes, Jennifer Weiner and Emily Giffin. If you're looking for a breezier read , take a peek at Lindsay Kelk, Sophie Kinsella and Carole Matthews. I think these women are all great writers who create relatable, flawed and hysterical characters in plots that are almost too crazy to be true. Almost. And that is what draws us readers in.

As I began marketing and promoting Finding Lucas, I wondered if I should call it chick lit or a romantic comedy. I am proud to be a published chick lit writer--a dream I've had ever since I read my very first chick lit novel: Milk Run by Sarah Mlynowski. But, since I want a variety of readers to find and buy Finding Lucas, I decided to use both.

Finding Lucas, with its bright magenta cover and a main character in her thirties trying to figure out who she is and what she wants is absolutely chick lit. But, Jamie Ross, the main character, goes through some very painful and life-altering changes and comes to terms with a demeaning relationship and an unusual family. The language is a bit salty, sex is often mentioned and how Jamie tries to find Lucas causes one mishap after another. Edgy chick lit it is.

And, for those who think chick lit is flaky, unintelligent and simply about women searching for their perfect pair of jeans, they are so wrong. It is about women trying to make the very best of their lives, despite obstacles, challenges and maybe a tiny addiction to chocolate, or in Jamie's case, television.

I write chick lit. I write romantic comedies. And I am proud to write about flawed women who find some sense of self-worth and contentment searching for whatever it is that will make them happy. No, it is not literary fiction, but it never assumes to be.

Whether you call it romantic comedy or chick lit, the wonderful genre is still popular, despite reports that it died years ago. So, if you're looking for a novel about a woman who may feel just like you do, ignore the bad press and eye rolling and grab yourself a pastel coloured book. You'll be surprised by how happy it will make you.