Q: What was your publishing journey like?
It is an amazing time to be a creative person with wifi access! I've been dreaming of being a published author since I was a little girl writing fanciful stories in my notebook during math class. I had no idea that by the time I had a novel-length project publishing and sharing my book would be so accesible.
A couple years into writing HIDING I realized that if I was not willing to omit either the explicit language or the overt Christian spirituality I would have a lot of difficulty finding a conventional publisher. I could not have self-published without the editing work of Amy Robertson on the manuscript, and the graphic design work of Jesse Adams Studio on the cover. I invested hours and hours of my own time to format the manuscript, but when that was done it was very simple to upload that document and the cover image to creatspace.com and create a book that people can order on Amazon or as an ebook on Kindle.
CreateSpace is the print-on-demand arm of Amazon.com, and there is no fee to submit your work and no requirement that you print a certain number of copies. There’s a minimum amount I have to charge for the physical copy of the book, but apart from that minimum I set the pricing myself. When people buy my book online, Amazon takes a cut of the profit, and I make about $5/book. From what I understand about conventional publishing, 25% is a very generous royalty.
How are you promoting the novel?
I have this gorgeous author website/blog - thanks again to Jesse Adams Studio - and I’m pursuing speaking engagements with youth, young adults and church leaders. Whether you have an agent and a publisher or are self-published, there’s no magic way to get people to love, buy and share your book. It’s just the week in, week out hard work of showing up in your social media channels, of reaching out to your network by email, of putting yourself out there to strangers with a website or over the phone who might connect you to a speaking or reading opportunity.
This fall I started to work with a marketing consultant from The Creech League and his help and advice have been invaluable. What I love about the work Tony is doing with me is that we're not trying to create some false persona online to sell books. Tony is helping me use marketting tools to connect the authentic, curious, candid, thoughtful, earthy person that I am with way more people than I could meet face-to-face.
This December I am giving 10 copies of HIDING away! #Sharethestory is sponsored by a long-time Free Methodist pastor’s wife who got her copy at a Regional Pastors’ Gathering and then urged me to get as many copies of the book into the world as I could, and paid for those copies to be given away. Folks can like and follow the HIDING Facebook page or subscribe to my email newsletter to get the latest news on that as it unfolds. :)
What is your hope for this novel?
My hope is to share this novel as widely as possible while writing the next book. The internet creates an amazing opportunity for a niche author like myself to build a following over time. A mischievous part of me would love to see HIDING to blow up as huge as ‘The Shack’ by WM P Young, and to have fundamentalists try to ban it and write outraged blog entries about it, while people who are starving for some sign that God is real and paying attention snap it off the shelves. This novel project already feels bigger than me, and I keep giving it to God and saying – here’s what I have and You’re the one who gave it to me in the first place. If You could use it to share your grace and power with more people – I’m all in.
Excerpt from an interview with Alison at 'The Little Big Picture' blog coming soon on the Free Methodist Church in Canada website.