I’ve been following author Karen McQuestion’s (great name, right?)journey avidly. I first became aware of Karen through Joe Konrath’s blog. Joe talks about his move away from mainstream publishing and to Kindle and Amazon’s new publishing arm, Amazon Encore. He’s at the forefront of a movement that could eliminate part of the publishing chain, putting the author at one end and the distributor at the other. Karen had never been published traditionally and thus didn’t have Joe’s following when she began doing the same thing. Could she possibly succeed? As you will see below, her results have surpassed all expectations, making Karen also a pioneer in this brave new world of book creation.
As a writer I felt I’d “made it” when I got a complimentary email from a woman I’d never met.
My story is like so many others. Being a writer was a lifelong dream of mine, but I didn’t approach it seriously until my three kids were all in school. Once the youngest went off to kindergarten, I kept a disciplined writing schedule, attended critique groups and workshops, and over the next seven years managed to write five novels, none of which were ever published.
When I discovered that manuscripts could be self-published as e-books on Amazon’s Kindle, I was intrigued by the idea. Initially, I uploaded two of my books, just to see how it went. I had no expectations, so when they started selling, I was thrilled. Still, without feedback, I didn’t know if anyone liked them, or even read them, for that matter.
A few weeks later, I got an email from a woman named Kimberly who lived in Las Vegas. The subject heading said, “YOU ARE HILARIOUS!!!!” Her email was as enthusiastic as her heading, and just as full of exclamation points. She loved my books, and wanted to know if I had others. I was overjoyed. I printed her email and read it over and over again, then made my husband read it (he was happy for me, but not nearly as emotional about it).
This was a turning point. Hearing that a complete stranger connected with my stories convinced me to upload my other books.
Since that day, I’ve heard from other readers, gotten some terrific reviews, and sold thousands of e-books. One of my novels, A Scattered Life, was optioned for film and will be published in paperback by AmazonEncore this coming August. There have been many validating moments, but Kimberly’s email was the first of these, and I still get a thrill thinking about it.
Karen McQuestion’s essays have appeared in Newsweek, Chicago Tribune, Denver Post, Christian Science Monitor, among other publications. She is the author of six books self-published on Amazon’s Kindle, one of which, A Scattered Life, caught the attention of an L.A. based production company and became the first self-published Kindle book to be optioned for film. It will be published by AmazonEncore, Amazon’s new publishing division, on August 10, 2010. McQuestion lives with her family in Hartland, Wisconsin.