Three months ago I would have been the last writer on the planet to indie publish. Now, after hearing God and choking down a hairball of pride, I’m a lot like Paul who persecuted Christians, then became one.
I was the 2011 president of the Phoenix chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. My BA in creative writing swung discretely from my belt beside the inscription of my highly respected literary agent. I’d notched a long list of writers’ conferences into my belt and worn out copies of Donald Maass’ books, Jack M. Bickham’s Scene and Structure, and Renni Browne and Dave King’s Self-editing for Fiction Writers. Self publishing was fine for people who were impatient or not quite ready for “real” publishing. If anyone could land a traditional publisher, I could.
The ten year anniversary of when God called me to write loomed over me in January. The popularity of e-books and e-readers had started the book industry down the same road the music world had plummeted when people started downloading songs from the internet. Publishers were feeling the pinch from e-books selling cheaper and being published by authors without the aid of a publishing house. As the publishers’ revenues shrunk, they laid off workers, published fewer books, stuck with well-established authors, and took risks on fewer new novelists. Even literary agents struggled to stay in the business. My agent of two and a half years let go all her unpublished clients, including me, to pursue more lucrative business ventures.
On February 17, at the lowest point of my despair, my son, who followed the decline of the music industry, suggested I indie e-publish my four completed novels. At that moment, God infused me with hope and directed me to do something I never would have considered without His prompting. Since then, I feel like He is jostling me forward, saying, “This is the way, walk in it.”
First, a friend snagged me a slot in a month-long book-marketing course for free because the teacher needed a test class for her first run. A family friend and graphic designer offered to produce my book covers with no money down and allow me to pay him as funds came in from the sales of my books. Another friend hired an MBA who is a high school classmate to consult with her as she e-publishes her books. She is sharing much of his expertise with me. Jeff Bennington’s Indie Author’s Guide to the Universe crossed my desk at just the right time, and I stumbled onto Twitter Power, by Joel Comm at a garage sale.
The day after my husband and I prayed for the capital I would need to pay for professional editing and promotion, a part-time job appeared. In March, a string of checks arrived from odd sources. My two proofreaders refused payment and said they wanted to invest in my career.
In April my alma mater slated me for four speaking engagements next spring. Many more of my far-flung friends and relatives than I could have hoped agreed to read and pass on my debut, Kicking Eternity.
I don’t know where this path will lead, but I feel joy in cooperating with God.
My inspirational romance, Kicking Eternity, launched June 1; The Art of My Life, September 1; Avra’s God, December 1; Tattered Innocence March 1, 2013.
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Stuck in sleepy New Smyrna Beach one last summer, Raine socks away her camp pay checks, worries about her druggy brother, and ignores trouble: Cal Koomer. She’s a plane ticket away from teaching orphans in Africa, and not even Cal’s surfer six-pack and the chinks she spies in his rebel armor will derail her.
The artist in Cal begs to paint Raine’s ivory skin, high cheek bones, and internal sparklers behind her eyes, but falling for her would caterwaul him into his parents’ life. No thanks. The girl was self-righteous waiting to happen. Mom served sanctimony like vegetables, three servings a day, and he had a gut full.
Rec Director Drew taunts her with “Rainey” and calls her an enabler. He is so infernally there like a horsefly—till he buzzes back to his ex.
Raine’s brother tweaks. Her dream of Africa dies small deaths. Will she figure out what to fight for and what to free before it’s too late?
For anyone who’s ever wrestled with their dreams.
“Ann Lee Miller writes stories straight from the heart with characters who’ll become friends, remaining with you long after you turn that final page. You won’t want to miss Kicking Eternity!”
Jenny B. Jones, Author of the Katie Parker Production Series from Think and The Charmed Life Series, and other single titles from Thomas Nelson
“In Kicking Eternity, Ann Lee Miller masterfully weaves the delicate web of emotions experienced in that turbulent ‘twenty-something’ stage of life. Powerful family dynamics, intense loyalty challenges, and tender new loves find their niche in your heart as this story unfolds layer by lovely layer.”
Mesu Andrews, Author of Revell titles Love’s Sacred Song, and Love Amid the Ashes, which won the 2012 CBA Book of the Year, New Author Category
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