on publishing an e book

 

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Sub-titled: I could write a very long piece on this subject but will try to be brief.

 

When I decided to write a book, the brilliant Margaret Foster told me, take brilliant Laura Oliver’s class at St. John’s College. I took the class and worked on my story with Ms. Oliver for three inspiring years. She was and remains my mentor, cheerleader, psychologist, teacher, editor, fashion icon and friend. When it came time to put The near Transformation of Claire out there, Laura recommended that I submit the manuscript to small, and a few not-so-small, presses before committing to self-publishing. She always believed there was an audience for my story and felt strongly that I should test the waters—let the market tell you what it wants, she said. I agreed with her then and do now–it was quite the learning curve–which only helped to build my craft.

I searched hundreds of small presses and spent a couple of months submitting to twenty-four—I was green, green, green. I sent several amateurish letters and bad attempts at book proposals, but I wound up with 2 acceptances, which I still find amazing considering the competition and my flawed, freshman piece. It turned out that the first acceptance was for only an except from my story, however, to be published in an anthology with bragging rights only, no pay—which was fine—it was exposure, validation, and publisher Norman Conquest, New Urge Editions, has all my thanks and respect. New Urge has since published a short story of mine, In Flight, in their second anthology, The New Urge Reader 2.

My second acceptance was from Editorial Trance, a very small (maybe 2 person), Latin based publisher with several books under their belt. I had no problem with a Latin press, in fact, my publisher was from Puerto Rico, which absolutely had to be a positive sign considering I love and want to live in Puerto Rico. They wanted to publish Claire as an e reader, and again, validation—what a kick-ass shot to the ego, I got a contract. I signed with Editorial Trace, their monetary split was good, but my publisher struggled with formatting the e reader—many of my corrections to her proofs went untouched, with me eventually formatting sections as they were intended so she could cut and paste them into the e reader. There are misspellings, dropped sentences, and many inconsistencies in formatting still, all of which I was told could not be fixed. Well, they can be fixed, it just takes too much time. When Claire went up on Editorial Trance’s website, my name was misspelled. When Claire went live on Amazon, the write-up on the page was taken from my original submission letter to Editorial Trance and not written for Amazon book buyers. The books that were Amazon’s suggested reads along with mine were offensive and nothing like my story. I was plenty angry and my publisher knew it, but again, it could not be fixed but yes it could be. I was told she would put up reviews, send press releases, contact bloggers but never did, and I was told that the book would be put on other platforms (nook, ibook) after 6 months with Amazon only and that never happened. And then my publisher fell off the radar. And a couple of weeks ago, she contacted me and told me the business has been sold and all rights will be returned back to me, contract done. Really…it’s a good thing.

I was rather pissy and very emotional about the launch, but I have only one regret—that I didn’t pursue writing as a career 30 years ago. Laura Oliver’s advice was sound, correct, the experience was valuable. Claire will remain on Amazon with Editorial Trance until April, and then I’ll put it back on Amazon (with corrections) and on other platforms on my own. I know my writing is getting better, I’ve got good short stories in the works, I’m waiting to hear on one submission and will send more manuscripts once I hear. I still don’t have a final count on the number of e books sold (maybe 20 some) and I have not yet figured out what it cost to put this book together—costs were primarily paid mentoring and art, maybe $3,000+. There is supposedly a check coming to me from Amazon, but I suspect it will be under $100. I seriously never thought I would make any money with this book. I wrote this story because I had do, my brain would have exploded if I had not. Maybe some day I’ll have a hard cover book to sell. Have a story? Put it to paper. The journey is absolutely amazing.

 

The near Transformation of Claire

 

artwork: Harriet Yake – thank you, Harriet

 

 

a disclaimer or what not to view

 

its a book thing blog

 

First, my unending thanks to my readers who have purchased a copy of Claire. Writing this story has been a journey of looking into myself and looking far outside the lines I have drawn. It has been painful and comforting, it has been difficult, the seemingly impossible task of trying to put the human condition to paper. But it has been marvelous, and I thank you again for taking the time to read my words. My words. Imagine that.

However, I need to make this disclaimer in which I disassociate my Claire from the cheesey-ass books Amazon has listed below her description. Here’s what is placed under the heading of Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed:  Becoming Daddy’s Woman, Bimbo-Fi Trials, Bimbo Lessons. Are you kidding me, Amazon? NO, NO, NO!  My book is nothing like that crap!  Bimbo Lessons? The near Transformation of Claire is intelligent erotica, sex within a good story, not freaky or foolish, not slutty! Think Nicholson Baker meets Diary of a Mad Housewife. Think good writing!

I called Amazon–they’re looking into it. I do believe it can be fixed–a matter of wading through the channels and getting the right person. My e publisher is looking into it as well. What else can I say or do? In life as in everything, I continue to learn. Sigh…

 

photo credit: itsabookthingblog.blogspot.com

 

poetry and erotica and risk

 

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The first entry that I made on this blog is a poem I wrote several years ago–What’s Love Got to Do With It?–a poem I wrote long before I started working on The near Transformation of Claire.  This poem found its way into Claire’s story, and in its broadest interpretation, the poem is about frustration, a place I frequented for a variety of reasons. But the poem or the reasons for my frustration are not the subject of this post: risk is the subject—why did I write Claire, why did I write a story that could be potentially damaging, what would my family think, why jeopardize my reputation, why erotic fiction? Well, for one, I thought my story was smart and relevant, an idea that I just couldn’t shake, a rebuttal almost to the fifty shades of whatever that was. My own little blockbuster, the sleeper story that was going to shorten the distance to my Puerto Rico condo. But I also came to believe that risk was my way out of frustration–my artistic, professional and personal frustration. I took the risk plunge to rid myself of discontent—I didn’t think there was any other way to alleviate my condition. I took the risk plunge knowing that I could come out on the other side a healthier and happier woman. Was risk the right way to go? It’s too early to say, my journey continues to unfold, but strength has shown up as a side-effect, and it is powering me through my choices.

The following excerpt is from The near Transformation of Claire, and again, the poem is part of the story.  When I wrote the poem I suspect it was at that same time that risk first revealed itself in my mind, both as an option and an adventure.

 

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

 

She had an affair not for love nor lust

nor obsession with her fading self.

 

Standing on the edge of old

she wanted to be startled at every turn.

 

Sixty—it was all about turning 60, right? Claire obviously understood that the poem spoke to sex and loneliness and vanity, but age was right up there on the list as well, right? Birthdays had not been important for some time, age an arbitrary number, a number not as important as the one on the scale. But 60 was different, a 20-year window in which to travel, to play, to shed the confines of a suburban lifestyle, to bloom perhaps one more time—60 was the edge of old. But regardless of inspiration or one’s interpretation, Claire knew that the poem was more than grappling with age and sexual frustration. Within her voice was a dreamlike suggestion, a whisper that Claire first mistook for a sigh—you deserve to be happy. Deserve was not a word Claire typically applied to herself, and although she tried to imagine herself happy, she really had no idea what it looked like. That’s disturbing, she thought.

 

photo credit and note: I have used this image several times and do not know its origin. I would love to acknowledge the artist and welcome any insight as to the source.

 

 

the near transformation of Claire

 

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I’ve spent the past four years writing a story, a dirty little story titled The near Transformation of Claire. Claire’s e reader launch is August and I am thrilled. It is not, and never will be, a literary phenomena, but I believe it has significance and an audience. It is my first-born book and I love it, and really, perhaps what I love most is that I did it, I wrote it, I persevered.

Claire is erotic fiction written in a sixty year old, female voice. Erotica was unfamiliar territory, a risk, an embarrassment every time I handed my mentor a new chapter. But it was a voice I heard in the back of my head, at ladies luncheons, a voice that I pretended belonged to Tipper Gore or some other gray divorcee. Claire is not the story of the suburban mommy-wants-nasty, nor the story of some sweet, young thing, spiraling into carnal confusion—it is the story of a woman struggling with a thankless job and a sexless marriage, a woman who finds escape, desire and hope, in the erotic letters of a business relationship turned very, very personal. Some of these letters are found within this blog. The story is sexy, it is not slimy, it is contemporary and relevant. It is about women and men and love and sex and how change, transformation, as bright and shiny as it may seem, is not always what we imagine.

I hope you will read my lovely Claire when she arrives. She is my baby, flawed, stitched up, reworked again and again, but finally ready to face the world. I thank everyone who is reading this post and this blog for your support and validation. Carpe diem.

 

photo credit: imgkid.com