• jlstrange

Preparing for Launch day! Part 1

A Little Background on My journey (this is kind of long!) :)

So first off, thanks for stopping by! I really, really appreciate the interest. This book means a lot to me and it's been quite a journey to get here, so I wanted to take the opportunity to share my story.

Quite a few years back, when I was suffering through one of the lowest points of my life (newly divorced, single parent, unstable financial situation) I finished what would be my first published novel. I hooked up with a fantastic online writing community, where I met other aspiring published writers. We traded critiques, we supported one another, worked on our craft, and one by one, many of us found homes for our work.

In 2013 it finally happened for me, when a small press took a chance on my weird little zombie romance. I was ecstatic of course, and still to this day, realize the impact having someone I didn't know believe in my work enough to invest money and time into it. That book debuted in 2014, and while it was never a bestseller, I was proud of that accomplishment. I still am. Because as I've gotten older I've realized how important it is to appreciate those victories, no matter how small. Life is really a series of interconnected events, where one thing leads to another, and sometimes in unexpected ways. Don't worry, I won't get all philosophical on you here! :)

I wrote a sequel to that book, as well as a prequel from the male character's POV. Both were published by the same press. I learned about the business, whether it was seeking reviews, building a social media following, or participating in anthologies and events with other small authors. Many of the authors I'd met and networked with had begun to release indie published titles. They loved the creative control and having a bigger cut of the sales. Indie was way better than small press, they were saying, but it was also a lot of work.

And believe me, I was starting to feel it. My small press titles were not selling well, and I had very little control over the outcome. I began to feel a little left behind. Money was a huge barrier. Self publishing done right (with a professional edit and cover) was out of reach for me. Advertising that I did have access to for my small press titles was expensive and not effective. I'd have to beg for a sale price and try to book a promotion and it was frustrating. My titles drifted in the lowest of the nether regions of every retailer they were listed on.

But you know what? Life still goes on, and so did I.

I completed the next book in that series, but by that time I'd begun to fall out of love with those characters. I was realizing the direction of the story had taken a drastic turn from what it originally started as, and it was hard finding readers. In 'real life', my oldest child graduated high school and my youngest was in high school. I'd secured a stable job and began paying off debts and working on repairing my credit. Things were looking up. I was also realizing it was time to start thinking about what I wanted my life to be 'post kids', because it was coming at me so fast.

In 2017 I started writing A Little Bit Psycho. It was years worth of frustration built up and the book I felt compelled to write. Of course, I was doing it around a full time job and making sure my kids were on the right path, so I took time to write whenever I could squeeze it in. I finished in 2018 and sat on it.

I also got the rights to my small press titles reverted back to me. I decided I might as well just self-publish them and see what happens. So I hired a cover artist and had her re-brand the entire series. In mid 2018, I re-released them myself and hired an editor for the third, unreleased book. I learned about advertising on different platforms, and a funny thing happened: they started selling. Way more than they had with the small press, but still nowhere near bestselling status.

It was encouraging. And my attitude has been to take everything as part of a learning experience. I would use that series as an experiment. Building ads, finding keywords, etc. Going indie meant a sizable financial investment, but it felt like the right path.

Meanwhile, I found an editor willing to work out a monthly payment arrangement for A Little Bit Psycho. I've set up all new social media and website. And now, I'm slowly getting ready for release. Let's see where this journey takes me...

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