It’s a fun journey I’ve been on these past couple months as I prepare to have my first novel published. The path is one that I could not have even imagined years ago when terms like eReader and eBook were not yet part of our literary lexicon and referring to Amazon could only mean either the rain forest or the river.
I get a lot of questions about the path and the process and so I thought I’d take the opportunity to address a few of the more common questions I get asked.
WHAT IS YOUR BOOK ABOUT?
You know, I’m still not good at answering this question. It doesn’t really fit neatly into any one particular genre, which is part of the reason I didn’t have success pitching it to literary agents.
[Quick sidebar for those unfamiliar with the traditional publishing process. Historically, if you wanted to get your book into bookstores and/or into the hands of readers, your only real option was to write a query letter to a literary agent and try to entice them into asking for at least a sample of your manuscript – say, the first 25 pages or so. If you’re fortunate enough to land an agent (never happened for me), the agent then has to pitch your book to a publisher (Random House, Simon & Schuster, etc.) and try to entice them into publishing your book.]
Anyway, I consider my story to be a literary mystery (literary fiction + mystery = literary mystery) in the spirit of such books as Peace Like a River, The Secret Life of Bees, and The Lovely Bones. It’s about a man who tries to “go home again” after he and his wife lose a child. They separate and he returns to his hometown to be alone with his grief. But that process takes him into a past where lies are uncovered, secrets are revealed, and doors long closed are reopened.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE IT?
The soul of the book began in 1998 after my wife Tammy and I lost our son Ethan. I wrote a lot during the grieving process and the book contains much of what I produced during that time.
That said, it was probably around 2001 when I began trying to formulate my various writings, journal entries, concepts and ideas into a novel. I sent my first query letter in December of 2007 and my last query letter sometime earlier this year. Yes, it was very painful, but with just enough encouragement along the way to make me keep on keeping on. When I learned about the Amazon KDP select program which makes it easy (and free) to self-publish an ebook, I decided to give up on the traditional process and just make my book available through Amazon.
SO HOW IS IT YOU HAVE A PUBLISHER NOW?
I know, right? So here’s what happened. In July of this year, I published my book to Amazon and immediately began doing everything I could to market the book. I won’t get into all the details, but there is a lot of work behind that. In fact, most authors will tell you that writing the book is the easy part. At any rate, as part of my efforts to expand my platform (writing a blog, creating a new facebook page, getting active on Twitter, etc) I made the acquaintance of the multi-talented Louise Caiola. Long story short, Louise downloaded my book from Amazon and liked it enough that she invited me to work with Immortal Ink Publishing (IIP) to have it published.
SO WHAT’S GOING ON WITH THE BOOK NOW?
Now that I’m working with IIP, I have unpublished my book from Amazon. Over the next 2-3 months the manuscript will be going through multiple rounds of editing and revisions that I am confident will make it an even better story than it was before (which is VERY exciting for me!). That new story will be published with a new title (Where The Broken Lie) in February of 2014. Initially it will only be available in ebook format and print-on-demand (meaning you can order a physical copy of the book online and have it mailed to you). If it does really well, then perhaps someday we might even see it on the shelves of your local bookstore.
Ok, that’s all for now. Do you have additional questions you’d like me to address? Or perhaps you’re an author who’d be willing to share your own experience? Please feel free to leave a comment or email me at DerekRempfer@yahoo.com . I am truly honored by the interest people have shown.