How I write
The Chocolate Queen
My writing happens when I cannot sleep. Then I am at my computer typing away. I always thought of myself more of a poet and have written many poems. I was hoping to write my life story. When I began writing, I decided to practice with fiction and I fell in love with the made up world I was taking myself into. The more I wrote, the more I wanted to keep going and found that in a fantasy world I can include some of my life stories. Being a Bob Dylan fan, I noticed that all his old songs had copyrights, so when I finished I sent my manuscript to the Library of Congress for a copyright. After all my work I was not going to take any chances.
Like everyone else hoping to have his or her manuscript taken seriously, I looked at different ways to get it done. I visited all the publishing websites. I goggled my search and was happy to see so many publishing companies; however I soon found out that all the "Big Boys" were not interested in any new authors.
The next step I took was to purchase a book on literary agents. I fervently began to write to all of them that were interested in new authors in my genre. I received many thank yous, but no. You know, the standard master letter with your name put in from a mail merge. I continued searching and found information on self-publishing companies. I studied many and found one that I liked. I sent in my manuscript as directed and received a contract in the mail. I was excited but I didn't have the money that they were requesting nor did I want to store a multiple of books, so I declined and kept searching.
I came across Publish America, who were publishing new authors and also gave royalties, (small but hey, in my mind I only needed to sell one million). I sent my manuscript and within one month they mailed me a contract. I eagerly got ready to begin working with them. They gave me one year to "clean up" my book. I paid a schoolteacher to take a look at my manuscript to check the grammar and sentence structure. How stunned I was at all the highlighted errors and changes I needed to make. I called on a friend who was happy to help me as well and between the two of us; we were able to make it reader friendly. When we were done, I happily added her name as my editor.
I decided that it would be good for me to speak to an entertainment lawyer. I wanted to be informed about my contract. Not only did the lawyer help me with some issues on the names in the book, but he also allowed me to pay him slowly in payments with no interest. Things were going swimmingly for me. The millions of readers were waiting.
The company I used was a good fit. We did everything via email, even the drawings. I never spoke to any one person on the phone and every time I received an email it was someone new. I was happy with this because I felt the more eyes the better. When my contract date came to submit, I was still not comfortable with it. My lawyer suggested to make sure my first book was grammar correct. After it became a best seller, I would be free to write any way I wished. I wanted more time and my publishing company was happy to give it to me. I went over it one more time and submitted. I must stress that patience is important when dealing with this publishing company. They were not quick in answering my emails, but that is the way they do business, so I assimilated myself to their way.
As far as the cover, I went through five different ones. I was nervous that they would think I was being difficult; however they were very patient and finally I had one I loved. Even though this company had my book on Amazon and Barnes and Nobel, the rest of the marketing was up to me. My true work began and still goes on!
I was able to get on two local radio stations and also visit local libraries. When I sold a book, I included a chocolate bar that had a copy of the cover of my book. I went to my local bookstore and they order enough for me to have a signing. I sold 44 copies, which were to many friends and families. I only sent a few to places like St. Jude's, etc.
At the libraries, I had copies of maps and other things to keep the children interested. I also signed a medium size poster and had a drawing to give it away. One library actually paid me to come and talk with the children. I am realizing that not only is it a good thing to give away a book now and then, but also to know my worth.
I do have a website that I pay for, and also take advantage of any free ones as well, like MySpace and Author's Den. I have two emails I use and put these links in my signature area, another way for free advertising.
Recently I also bought two magnets for my car that look like the cover of the book. This is a good way to get exposure as well. I live in New England and travel to three different states from time to time.
I did a search for book reviews and found three that were interested in having me send a copy. I recently notice a review on Amazon, which just made my day.
I can't say that I have sold a million copies, but I am still hopeful.