Could there ever be a better time to step back, take stock, and decide the future of it all? Does A Blonde Bengali Wife fade gracefully away, her job done? Or does she get a second lease of life? As the author, I don't want to see her go; I love her, warts (aka typos, unnecessary adverbs and adjectives, poor formatting and self-indulgent paragraphs) and all. But objectively, does she still have an audience beyond me?
Yes, she does. Over the past five years, sales have been more tortoise than hare; never going to break any records, but steady, with eBook sales slowly increasing over hard copy, and the royalties all go to Bhola's Children. And, hands up, this is with my non-existent promotional work - I had a baby the week of publication and never got back on the book-tracks. Still, reviews have been 5 star, and I have had, and still receive, enthusiastic messages from unknown readers all over the world. Their comments, and my own ongoing relationship with Bangladesh - I've been back at least a dozen times since that first visit - suggest that the book might be set in 2002 but the place I wrote about then remains very much in existence now.
So, the sensible decision, surely, is to e-publish a reprint (getting rid of the warts but not changing the character). The excellent local publisher, Pilrig Press, were willing to do it, and I, as author, was ready to grab the deal and run. Until the writing professional in me realised that more and more of my consultancy and editing clients were intending to go the self-publishing route. Wouldn't it be sensible to have the experience of e-publishing in the same way I have of the traditional search for an agent? The problem is, that involves all the formatting, placement, marketing, promotional 'stuff' that I really don't understand - or much like.
Step in Claire Morley. If you recognise the name, she's author of the Amazon Kindle bestseller, Tindog Tacloban, which I recommended in my September blog. Claire learned all that 'stuff', enjoyed it and found she is good at it. She realised there are many writers, like me, who would pay her to help them; I knew she was on to something when she made me feel enthusiastic about tackling all the 'stuff'. The result is Claire's online company, My ePublish Book www.myepublishbook.com (see the tab above, also).
We're going to be blogging about our joint experience of e-publishing A Blonde Bengali Wife, using it as a case study to demonstrate the process. And, together with professional proof-reader, Marie Campbell (more about Marie another time), we'll be able to offer three independent services 'under one umbrella' via the links on our individual websites.
It's new, it's exciting, and we're aiming for a re-publication date of early November.
Meantime, I'm editing, and I'm still working on building up the Facebook page (tab above) and my Twitter account @AnneHamilton7. I'm looking for reviewers, and bloggers willing to offer me an interview/guest spot - and as you'll have gathered, I am very much playing with the aesthetics of this blog (See? This is why I need help with 'stuff').
I'm also selling the remaining hard copies of A Blonde Bengali Wife for http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/about-us/emergencies/child-refugee-crisis-appeal
I'd love to hear your thoughts... Please get in touch... And watch this space!