I can’t believe it’s been a year since I completed my first novel. By July 2015, A Second Helping had been re-written six times, edited and proofread. I hired a group of really talented people who helped with the editing process, photo shoot for the cover, cover design and book layout. As an indie author, I had an opportunity to be hands-on every step of the way, with on-the-job training that will be invaluable when it’s time to publish my second novel.
Once the book was done, the real work began. I had to get my book out there and let the world know that A Second Helping was available. With no formal education in book distribution, I just worked on instinct and logic. I had a book, so I went to bookstores to offer them the opportunity to sell it. I soon learned that that wasn’t how it worked. I contacted independent bookstores all over the state of North Carolina, and only one store got back to me. Park Road Books was more than willing to sell copies of my book. They had a program for local authors that I signed up for. That was an exciting day to see A Second Helping on the shelf next to New York published authors.
I was feeling pretty good about myself, so I thought it would be a good idea to reach out to Barnes and Noble. We have three stores in the Charlotte area, and I figured at least one of the locations would be interested, right? One store manager never called me back, another manager pretty much said I was wasting my time. He said, “First priority goes to traditionally published authors, and I’m not looking for any self-published authors for this store.”
I was a little irritated after that call, but at least he called me back–even if it was to burst my bubble. By the time the third store contacted me, I was less than enthusiastic. I told the assistant manager about my book, and she asked if I was willing to give her a copy, so the staff could read it. I agreed and brought her a book the next day. She mentioned something about an event they were planning, and if the staff liked my book, she’d get in touch with me.
That was October 2015. I never heard from her again. I almost forgot about going to that Barnes and Noble until I received an email in June 2016–eight months later–inviting me to participate in a local author event the store was having to spotlight area writers. I felt like a minor league pitcher who finally got her shot in the Big Leagues. Of course I said yes. The store ordered my book to put on the shelf and took care of the promotion. How cool is that? Now all I have to do is spread the word and talk about my book, which will be easy, since I love my story and love talking about love.
This experience has reiterated to me that I can’t let one person’s no stop me from pursuing my goals. I know in my heart that no one can close a door that God wants open. I just have to continue to move forward and trust in Him. Since I’m feeling pretty good about myself again, I will be sending Devon Franklin and Tracey Edmonds copies of A Second Helping. They produced Jumping The Broom, so I know they will do a good job with my book when they make it into a movie. Crazier things have happened.