So, a long time ago, and not that far away, there was a girl who loved to read.
She loved to read so much that she’d sneak-read under the bed covers when she was supposed to be asleep. She’d try to read while walking to and from school. Mixed success there. She’d even try to hide her novels inside her school text books. Yeah, got in trouble there.
At first, it seemed like there were more books in her local library than she could ever finish, no matter how many sneak-reads she attempted. But as the days and years passed, she worked her way through the library, and then through every used bookstore she stumbled across. When she had the money, she bought the books she just had to own.
This was before the internet.
Not sure if that is good or bad thing.
Just know that eventually, she went from living inside other authors’ books to wondering if she could write a book of her own.
She tried and tried, but every start seemed to lead nowhere for her characters. Then one day she was watching the first Gulf War on television. (Yes, there was a first Gulf War and it was a novelty back then to watch a war on TV.) Everywhere she went, that’s all anyone talked about. How they’d manage the war and what about all that technology? Smart bombs were very hip.
When she wasn’t watching the war, she watched Scarecrow and Mrs. King reruns. And somehow, inside her head, a plot began to bubble, and then it happened. She asked herself the “Eternal Author Question.”
Three months later, she emerged from a writing daze with a monster manuscript of five hundred typed pages. Oh yes, she typed it all out on an electric typewriter. (Computers were just starting to filter into homes. It was that long ago.)
She called this monster, Pig in a Park. And she started looking around for how to get it published.
She learned a few things really fast:
- Titles that “fit” weren’t necessarily marketable. (One person asked about the “pig in a poke” book.)
- The world wasn’t waiting for her Pig.
Neither were agents or editors.
She was going to write another book. Now that she “knew” how. haha
So while she worked on the next book, a quirky story set in New Orleans, where she and her family were living by then, she did the “usual” stuff for that time in publishing. She wrote query letters and entered contests and talked to other authors. And she eventually found an agent. She lost an agent. She found editors who liked her Pig, but didn’t think it was marketable. But every time actual readers read it, they liked it. Some even loved it. 🙂
She learned something else. The general “wisdom” was that your first, even your second and third books were learning books. You put them in a box under the bed and moved on.
She couldn’t give up on her Pig.
So, she looked around for other options.
And found online publishing.
It wasn’t cool. It wasn’t sassy. There weren’t Kindle or Nook readers sitting around waiting to read it. There weren’t eReaders at all.
But it was a way around traditional publishing. A way to reach readers who wanted to read her Pig.
So, in 1998, Pig in a Park was published as a digital-only release. It sold 182 copies the first month. She was pretty amazed 182 people were willing to read it on a computer. It was the first ebook to be nominated for an RT Book Reviews (back then it was called Romantic Times), Reviewers’ Choice Award with six NYT best-selling authors. No, it didn’t win. But it was there. It also received a Dorothy Parker award for excellence.
She was glad she hadn’t shoved it under the bed.
A couple of years later it was picked up by a smaller traditional press for hard cover library publication. That’s when its name changed to The Spy Who Kissed Me.
Since 1998, Pig has been with four publishers and is now independently published. So you’ve probably guessed I’m that girl. Haha I once tried to do the math on how many copies I’ve sold, but yeah, math.
So when I decided to bundle some books together for the holidays, Pig/Spy was definitely on the list. It was obvious that I’d bundle it together with Do Wah Diddy Die (which was the book I started after finishing Pig.) It was just the luck of the draw that when I pushed “publish,” this weekend, that it was #40.
I’m a bit amazed to have gone from one to forty and it “only” took me twenty-three years. haha
If you haven’t checked it out before, and if you love “howling with laughter” (one reviewer didn’t like it because it was too funny O.O), then check out the Perilously Fun Fiction bundle. It includes The Spy Who Kissed Me, Do Wah Diddy Die, and as an extra bonus, the short story collection, Do Wah Diddy Delete. It’s bargain priced for holiday shopping. So get it for someone you love. And get it for yourself. Unless you already own them. haha
Did you ever get in trouble for sneak-reading in school? Or under the covers? Did you ever own a flashlight with a magnet so you could hide it under the bed? Ever dream about eReaders before there were eReaders? I love comments so much that I pick a favorite to receive my monthly AnaBanana gift basket ($25 value). Recipient is announced the first blog post of the new month.