Thursday, January 26, 2017

Thankful Thursday: My first traditionally published book!

It's Thursday and I'm thankful for my first traditionally published book! I'm officially a member of the Forget Me Not Romances family of traditionally published authors.

My journey to being a traditionally published author is a long one. It spans four years! Are you ready to hear the story? I'll try to keep it short.

After my first book was self-published through Crossbooks in Sept. 2013 and re-branded by WestBow Press in Nov. 2015, I've been praying for God to bless me with a writing contract from a traditional publisher. My reasoning at the time was that since I could not afford to self-publish another book (it's very expensive) through a vanity press, it only would make sense for God to bless me with a writing contract from a traditional publisher. If that happened, I knew that I wouldn't have to pay any money to have my book published.

So I started praying about this off and on for years (four years, to be exact). As I waited on the Lord, there were ups and downs in my journey to traditional publication but He carried me through it. Last Spring 2016, I reached out to a popular Christian publisher to see if they would consider publishing my second book and I received a positive response. They requested to see my full manuscript.

One of the editors with that publishing company reached out to me within a few weeks after I submitted my manuscript saying that they liked it but would like to suggest a few revisions. So after a brainstorming session with my own editor, I made the revisions to my manuscript and resubmitted it to the publisher, then I waited. While I waited, I remembered that someone told me years ago at a writing conference that the traditional publishing industry moves slowly. So I expected to wait for several months to hear whether or not they wanted to publish my book.

During the waiting, I read a book by Rachelle Gardner about the pros and cons of both indie and traditional publishing. The book's main purpose was to help writers decide whether to publish independently (indie) or with a traditional publisher. Now here's the fun fact: There was a checklist in the book that listed the pros and cons along with characteristics of the type of people who may be happier publishing their book traditionally vs. the type of people who would be happier going indie...and I met every category on the indie list! 


So from that day forward, I started to think that maybe I should publish my book independently through Amazon.com's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and CreateSpace program. I knew and heard of many authors who are experiencing great success going indie and I hoped that it would work out for me too.

But since I'd prayed for a traditional contract for so long (it had been three years at this point) and a publisher was interested, I decided to wait longer just in case this was God's answer to my prayers.

Longer story short, in the third week of Jan. 2017, I followed up again with the first traditional publisher that I submitted my story to and they told me that they were still considering my book for publication with their company. I decided to ask if while I was waiting on their decision, may send my manuscript to other publishers. They said yes. So I sent it to a publisher that I knew through a mutual friend. She expressed interest in my manuscript and received it on Friday, Jan. 20.

Over the weekend, I was thinking about the pros and cons of indie publishing and indie publishing was looking like it may be the best path for me. I called an elder from my church for prayer about my finalizing my decision. I told her that my game plan was to independently publish my next books until hopefully, it caught the attention of a great literary agent and a traditional publisher. So I settled on my decision and on Sunday, Jan. 22, I e-mailed the publisher that I'd been waiting to hear a response from and requested to withdraw my manuscript. They allowed me to and then I reached out the other publisher to inform her of my decision to indie publish my book.

But within minutes of receiving my e-mail, she wrote back and told me, "Okay but I was going to offer you a contract." 

Now that's what we call a "plot-twist" in the fiction writing community. I thought that I knew the outcome and decided on the direction that I was moving forward in, but her response threw me for a loop (in a good way)

I had to re-read the e-mail twice because I could not believe what I was reading! Given my concerns about the pros and cons of indie vs. traditional publishing, I asked her if we could talk over the phone first because I had questions. We arranged a phone call for Monday morning, Jan. 23. She answered all of my questions and put my mind at ease. I no longer had those concerns and I realized that this was an answer to my prayers! So I accepted her offer and signed the contract.

Everything moved forward 
quickly from there. 

My new publisher sent paperwork for me to complete and I did so on Monday. She also sent the formatted version of my manuscript to me along with a few corrections for me to apply to the formatted copy. So I started working on that. Then on Tuesday (Jan. 24), she sent five images for my book cover design for me to choose from and by Wednesday morning (Jan. 25), we finalized my book's cover art. She told me that once I finished making the corrections to my manuscript, it would go LIVE on Amazon.com. So by Wednesday afternoon, I sent the final edit to my publisher. Then, on Thursday morning (today, Jan. 26), she sent the entire file including my author bio and other details, to me for a final look before she published it. I spent about two hours making sure that everything was perfect (which it was, much to my delight) and I returned the files to her with my approval. She told me to check Amazon.com in a few hours and by 2:00 p.m. (EST) today, my book went LIVE on Amazon.com!

Here's the cover to my new novella:


God is good! Right now, only the digital version (e-book for Kindle) of my book is available. The paperback version will be available for purchase within a few weeks.

I am still amazed at how God answered my prayers for a writing contract with a traditional publisher and I'm awed at how quickly He moved this process along! I mean, I signed the contract on Monday and less than four days later, my book was published!

I hope that my story about my path to traditional publication inspires you and encourages your heart. Whatever you're going through in this life, don't give up. Don't lose hope. Keep praying to God and serving Him. Help others and do good works. God has not forgotten you. He hears EVERY prayer that you send up to His throne and He will answer your prayers, maybe not on your timetable but in His perfect time. And when He does answer your prayers, get ready because as you can tell from my story, He moves fast!

God bless you.

Love,

Alexis

P.S._ Here's the link to my book on Amazon. It's an inspirational romance standalone novella called, A Second Chance. I hope that you will buy a copy and read it! 

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