In the midst of all the wonderful hullabaloo (what is a hullabaloo anyway?) with Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day comes a very different sort of post. A post from an author who entered this world from the other side of the fence. Suspense Your Disbelief is an equal opportunity employer when it comes to all things writing and books. And so even though I adore bookstores as I will adore that deep, hot soaking tub if I ever get one, I am fascinated and impressed by author Karen McQuestion, who, with a little help from Amazon, made it in an otherwise almost entirely self-propelled way. Karen contributed her Made It Moment last year. And now she returns with an update that will blow you away.
By the way, I don’t usually do this because I want this blog to be for every reader, every writer–as many readers and writers as possible–and not a reflection of my particular tastes. But I have to say–I ordered a copy of Karen’s first print novel as soon as it came out, and I heartily recommend it. A one sit read.
Last June when I shared my “Made It Moment,” I thought life couldn’t get any better. During the prior year, I’d self-published six books on Amazon’s Kindle and sold a slew of ebooks, resulting in a film option and publishing contract for my novel, A Scattered Life. It was a wild ride. Even though I planned for it, waited for it, spent years writing and revising and submitting, getting a publishing deal still took me by surprise (not that I’m complaining).
Since that time, I’ve contracted with my publisher, AmazonEncore, for four more of my previously self-published books. Three of them are already out in paperback and ebook, and the next two will be released in April, 2011. In the space of two years, I’ll have gone from failed novelist to the published author of five books. And none of it would have happened if I hadn’t been open to trying something new. All told, I’ve sold over 75,000 ebooks on my own.
My story has been covered on NPR, the Wall Street Journal, and on ABC’s World News Now and America This Morning. In September of this year, my first book, A Scattered Life, was mentioned on Good Morning America when it made the number five spot on the Kindle bestseller list.
On occasion someone will congratulate me and say I deserve my success. It’s nice of them, yet hearing this makes me very uncomfortable. I did work long and hard, but there are plenty of excellent writers who’ve done the same and are still waiting for their day in the sun. It’s unfair, I know. I’m not entirely sure I deserve my good fortune, but I’ll take it anyway.
The best part of this whole thing is the knowledge that people are reading and enjoying my books. The second best thing? Generating an income so that I can consider writing my job. To be able to do what I love, connect with readers, and get paid for it? I’m in writer heaven.
I hope that my publisher will be interested in the book I’m working on now, but if they opt not to publish it, I love that I have other options. As long as my manuscript meets the approval of my circle of trusted readers, I wouldn’t hesitate to self-publish again. It’s all been good.
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.