When I read today’s guest blog, the first question I had for Denise was why she and Monica would team up to write a book. When she sent me their bios, it not only made it clear, but made me want to read the book. Read on, and you’ll see what I mean.
After writing 11 historical romances, one of which won Romantic Times Magazine’s Best First Historical in 1994, the last thing Denise Domning thought she’d be doing was co-writing someone’s memoir, especially someone she didn’t know. So how did she connect with Monica? Through their shared Homeopathic doctor. At every visit the doctor and his wife would insist that Denise had to write this Monica’s story. They eventually wore her down and she agreed to meet Monica, and the rest as they say is history. Thank heavens it only took her five years to do the research on Monica’s life as compared to the twelve she took before she completed her first Medieval novel.
Monica Sarli began to consider writing her memoirs in 2001 after her then ex-husband Steve died from Hepatitis C acquired during the nineteen years of their shared Heroin addiction. That’s when she realized she’s a statistical anomaly: only one percent of Heroin addicts are able to leave behind their addiction and live sober, healthy and productive lives, and she’s now been clean for twenty-five years. She credits her recovery to three principles she learned while at the Amity Therapeutic Community, principles that now guide her life: Never Lie, Honestly Share the Truth of Your Life, and Help Others. She continues to use these same principles today in her recovery from her sex addiction. She hopes all those living with addiction or living with an addict find inspiration in her story. Today, she’s single, sober, happy and loving her life just as it is.
After almost a year of twiddling our thumbs, Monica and I have turned our back on New York and decided to strike out on our own. This isn’t a decision I would have made a year ago, but a year ago I still believed in the idea of a New York publisher. I’m not so sure any more.
I’ve been promising for years to bring out my novels on the Kindle. I finally got around to doing it—on my own. You know, I just wasn’t willing to share that 70% royalty Kindle was offering. I was astounded at how easy it was . . . okay, for me. I’ve spent a few years working at web design, so coding the books myself into html/xhtml format was pretty simple, although plenty tedious.
Much to my amazement, my Kindle books started selling immediately. A hundred dollars a month royalty isn’t much but it’s a heck of a lot more than those books were earning for me over the last few years. Each month, that number climbs.
At the same time I also used the “Back In Print” program through Authors’ Guild to bring the first five books out in print through iUniverse. I will not be repeating that experience with the other books. Not only did they get the covers wrong on two of the books, they actually blamed me for not getting them the covers and/or changes. That wasn’t what happened, but I was overwhelmed with our move from Scottsdale up here to the farm, so I let it go. Then I heard from another author that the same thing happened to them. Now, maybe wrongly, I’m seeing a pattern. I’m sure as heck not spending any money with iUniverse for promotion, not if this is the way they handle their projects.)
That’s when Monica and I got yet another rejection for our book. It’s not the quality of the writing that keeps New York from buying—it’s that Monica isn’t famous.
I looked at my Kindle statement, looked at Monica (who is the sort of person that walks into the room and everyone starts whispering, wondering which movie they’ve seen her in) and thought, “You know, we’re going about this all wrong. If we need to prove to New York that Monica can hold up her end of the deal and promote the book, then why not do it for ourselves? Why put our book into the hands of people who don’t believe in it?”
If that wasn’t enough to convince me, the other day I was speaking with a friend who is an author that consistently hits the Times. She had heard from someone high up that the publishing world as I’ve known it is doomed — with maybe six more years before they’re going to have to either change or die.
That was it. Monica and I sat down, looked at our project, divided the book up into smaller parts and created her new memoir series: The Men Wars. The first book, which we intend—I’m writing as fast as I can—to have out before the end of July, is entitled Men-ipulation.
We’re not going into this on a hope and a prayer, plugging it into Kindle and waiting. We’re going to use the marketing and PR plan we had to develop for our non-fiction proposal. Did you know that all non-fiction books require a business plan to be submitted to New York? I didn’t, but I sure do now.
So, instead of doing our PR in tandem with a publishing house’s marketing plan we’re going to be suiting ourselves. Tomorrow, Monica is doing the photo shoot for the cover art. A new website is in the planning stages. We’re not letting anyone else put their fingers in it. If this one fails, it fails because we really don’t have the talent to make this fly.
I don’t believe that and neither does she.
Here’s my promise to the readers of this blog. Each and every week as we go along, I’ll keep you updated on what happens and how it happens.
Starting July 15, I’ll be teaching a course called “Bringing Your Historical to Life”. At the end of the course you should know how to weave your historical research into your novel so deftly that your readers will feel like they’ve used a time machine after reading your book.
Have you considered publishing naked? If so, how? If you already have, how did it turn out? We’d love to hear about your experience.
You’ll want to be sure to stop by Writers In The Storm on Friday. Our guest blogger will be Kitty Buckholtz, the founder of the amazing blog, Routines for Writers!