Several years ago, on this very blog, I wrote an angry rant about the trend of literary fiction writers dropping the use of quotation marks. In the years since, I still haven’t embraced the trend, but I’m maybe a little less angry. I decided to use my latest Shelf Esteem video to explore this phenomenon and see how widespread it really is. It does get a bit angry at one point, but only at Cormac McCarthy.
This summer, I’ll be releasing my novel What You Want, a work of contemporary fiction about three unlikely friends on a road trip, as a self-published e-book. There’ll be a paperback release later, probably sometime in the fall.
What would convince me, as a writer in mid-career who has had 23 books published by traditional publishers, to self-publish a novel? You’ll be amazed by the answers!!
1. I have run out places to spend or store the piles of cash I made from traditional publishing.
As we all know, there’s a TON of money in traditional publishing. Authors can make as much as one or even two dollars for every copy of a book sold, and with small publishers like the ones I’ve worked with, that can run into three and even four digits! It’s just not fair for one human to have so much wealth at her fingertips.
2. I need a break from the paparazzi.
The book trade is glamorous but exhausting. I’m sure you’ve all read blog posts and tweets from your favourite authors complaining about how tiring it was when they went on that nine-city book tour and had to be up at five to do morning television and come back to the hotel room and ice their hand after signing 3000 books in two hours. I myself have gone on tour to locations as exotic as Mount Pearl and even Conception Bay South. I have spoken to groups of up to sixteen people and signed as many as five books in an afternoon. A gal needs a break from that kind of adoration.
3. Matt Damon is bugging me to know if he can star in the movie adaptation.
We all know that some writers have achieved mind-blowing success with books that started out as self-published works. Let’s take E.L. James for example. Wait, no, let’s not. Let’s take Andy Weir, whose book The Martian, originally self-pubbed online, not only became a bestseller when it was picked up by a traditional publisher, but is now being made into a movie starring MATT DAMON. MY MOVIE BOYFRIEND. So apparently, self-publishing a book will lead directly to me meeting Matt Damon. I can’t draw any other conclusion, can you?
So, I kind of fell down on posting the Women’s Suffrage Trivia Questions here on the blog. I ended up posting five photos with trivia questions on Facebook, and had many readers playing along there, but I fell behind here on the blog. It turned out that having your new book come out the same week that you start teaching classes at school is … kind of a lot to have happening. And now that we’re into the third week of school, and the book is more-or-less out there (still on its way to some bookstore shelves), things are still, well, kind of hectic. But the main thing is, the book is out there. Ish. And I apolog-ish for letting the blog fall a few days behind, but I did have a contest winner, and Edwina now has her free copy of the book, and I’m hoping a lot more people will be reading and enjoying copies of it very soon.
I’ll post book-related updates here as I’m able, but an even better place to look is on my official website, www.trudymorgancole.com . If you click on “Events” you’ll find out when and where I’m reading from and signing the novel, and I’ll post links to reviews and interviews under the “Press” tab. I’ve also created this page which has links to a lot of information about the historical background of A Sudden Sun, so you can check that out too!
Here’s today’s WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE TRIVIA QUESTION (I can’t really call this a Fun Fact):
NAME THIS FAMOUS SUFFRAGIST! She is probably best known for the circumstances of her death in 1913, when she stepped in front of the King’s horse at Epson Derby, sustaining injuries that led to her death four days later. The reasons why she did this have been debated for, well, a century now, but the consensus seems to be that she was attempting to disrupt the event and draw attention to her cause — possibly by throwing a “Votes for Women” sash around the horse’s neck, though this theory, like everything else about the incident, is controversial.
It’s the last of my summer series about books I love and what I’ve learned from them, and I filmed this one in Amsterdam (where the book is partially set).
All this week I’ll be posting trivia facts and questions about how women won the right to vote, in honour of my novel A Sudden Sun coming out later this week. I’m not sure how exactly I’m going to work it out but there will be some free books involved for at least some of those who participate, so check either here on the blog or on Facebook if you have me on Facebook for a daily trivia post/question about women’s suffrage. Here’s today’s trivia question:
This woman, Kate Sheppard, fought for women’s right to vote in the country which in 1893 became the first self-governing country in the world to give ALL women the right to vote in parliamentary elections. NAME THE COUNTRY!!
Yes, it’s that time again. I have a book coming out. Books, in fact. Which is great. But also awkward, from a social media point of view, because it’s such a difficult line to walk — how, and how much, to promote your own work.
On the one hand, you have to do it. No writer can exist in the social media world today without talking about his or her own work: helping to promote it to readers is part of your job.
On the other hand, nobody wants to be Todd Manley-Krauss. And every writer is secretly afraid that they are — afraid of being the one whose self-promotion is so shameless that people start unfriending you. If you don’t think it’s a difficult balance to strike, then you’ve probably never tried to promote your own work, in any field (or else you actually are Todd Manley-Krauss).
So here’s the deal: I’ll be talking about this stuff here on the blog a little bit over the next few weeks — here on the blog, and on Facebook (amidst my vacation photos), and on Twitter. I have a new book coming out next week. And an old book of mine has just been re-released in a new format. And as a writer, it’s my job to make sure that if you are interested in either of those, you know that they’re out there and where to get them. And if you’re not, to avoid boring you so much that you stop hanging out with me in cyberspace.
Today I want to talk to you about Kingdom of the Heart, because with all the promotion I’m going to be doing for A Sudden Sun over the next few weeks, Kingdom might get a little lost in the shuffle. So here’s the story:
Back about 1989 or 1990, I wrote what was, for many years, my favourite thing I’d ever written. This was before I started writing historical fiction about Bible characters; this was almost the opposite. I tried (not the only writer to do so by a long shot) to imagine Jesus coming as an everyday person in today’s world, doing and saying the things he said and did the first time, but in a modern North American context. I loved that book, and it was published in 1991 under the title The Man from Lancer Avenue. Some people read it and also loved it (presumably others read it and didn’t like it, but I didn’t hear from them) and in due course, a few years later, it went out of print. End of story.
Awhile back I was contacted by Pacific Press Publishing Association about re-issuing The Man from Lancer Avenue as an e-book. I thought that this would be a great way to make an out-of-print novel available to new readers in the digital age — in fact, I did it myself by self-publishing The Violent Friendship of Esther Johnson as an e-book re-release — so I was eager to do the same for Lancer Avenue. The idea grew with time, and it ended up involving somewhat of a rewrite — I wanted to bring the story and characters into the twenty-first century. Also, Pacific Press asked me to create a condensed version of the book for a print release. This is the book that’s currently available under the new title Kingdom of the Heart — the e-book of the whole story will be out in a few months.
The complete book tells the story from the point of several characters who more-or-less correspond to modern-day versions of Jesus’ disciples. The condensed print version focuses on just two of those characters — Marie Castillo, a contemporary Mary Magdalene, and Pete Johnson, my updated apostle Peter. Marie and Pete, along with their families and friends, both meet up with an unconventional street preacher named Chris Davidson who allegedly has the power to heal the sick, and who invites ordinary people to leave their jobs, homes and families behind to follow him.
Kingdom of the Heart is a short book, novella-length, and it’s available for only $2.99 (US) at this link. I also have some copies to give away, and I’ll gladly send them to the first five people who post here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me why you’d like to have this book.
If you’d like to read the whole story, look for the e-book, which will be out later this year. I’ll let you know … and I’ll try not to be too annoying in the process!