I told myself when I finished Grad school, I’d have all the time in the world to write. Little did I know that the entire world would be in a state of chaos in the spring. In the meantime I was furloughed from work and I struggled just to have the drive to finish publishing Quarantine stories. Then I was called back to work, and I truly didn’t have time to write. Still I continued to write on, publishing stories as they came along. Meanwhile, I’d push the stories out to social media to promote them when I published.
I started writing them in early April at the beginning of the lockdown and I was surprised at the response I got from them. I pushed myself to keep writing through one of the most difficult times of my life. My husband also really encouraged me, and by encouraged I mean handed me my laptop and coffee, saying I couldn’t come out of my room until the story was finished. He’s an excellent cheerleader and I’m grateful for him.
Meanwhile I continued to publish these small love stories. To me, they seemed like a small piece of love and hope in a world that has become scary and uncertain. Creating moments of love, connections to one another, and hope for the future seemed like a small way I could help during this difficult time. Now, please don’t understand my intent here, I know I am not a best selling author (yet, hopefully) so my Quarantine Stories haven’t had a massive reach. Yet, as I published I got feedback from complete strangers that they loved the stories, or it brought them hope.
Around the time I published my fifteenth story, I started to get messages on social media from fellow authors and readers suggesting that I put the collection into an eBook and self-publish. I had not initially been open to the idea because I had read that unless your sales are wildly successful that self-publishing actually hurt your chances of publishing via a traditional route. I’ve been seeking representation for some time now, and have even had a few bites on the Twitter pitch contests, but I haven’t grabbed that brass ring of signing with an agent yet.
I was discussing this with my husband again, and he turned to me and said, “Babe, you have nine novels written and they’re just sitting on your computer. Start sharing them with the world.” I knew he was right. I have been writing almost nonstop since I wrote my first novel four years ago. I didn’t know where to start, and he suggested Qurantine Stories. I felt so stupid, so many people had told me to put them into a book too, but suddenly it clicked.
I am very lucky to have such wonderful resources in Twitter’s #WritingCommunity who offered excellent advice, and family that has been down the self publishing route. My husband just published his first book, called Adventures in Anglotopa. We’ve also published several smaller guidebooks over the years for our business Anglotopia. Yet, through all of this self publishing, I never thought to publish my fiction on my own.
Having made a career marketing and PR, I know how to market a product. I now have to make a marketing plan for my own book, and a cover, and typeset of a book. SO MANY Decisions! I also realized that why would anyone want to buy a book that is essentially published online for free? I knew that I did not want to pull the stories down off of the website either. The more I thought about it, it became clearer.
Quarantine Stories- the book, will have five or so additional quarantine stories that are not published on the website. Furthermore the published stories will have additional pieces to them, in the book, that aren’t on the website. This seemed simple enough, but let me tell you, this has been a mammoth undertaking.
So as I type this today, I am finishing up my first full edit through before the manuscript goes to my supremely talented copyeditor. From there I’ll take the next step towards design, then a full marketing plan and onward after that. Like anyone putting out any creative endeavor out into the world, I hope it’s successful. Wish me luck!
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