self-published author, but not a new author: Years ago, I had an adult novel
published by a huge publisher, and the experience was not as wonderful as I
hoped it would be. I’m not ungrateful for the experience, but unfortunately,
because that book did not sell very well, I was not able to get any other books
accepted for publication afterwards. (Of course, my big-time publisher did
little to publicize it, but that’s an old story, isn’t it?) Every time I queried an agent, or editor,
about a new book, the question would always come up: What were the sales
numbers on that first book? Why didn’t it sell? It was all very discouraging,
and I feared my career as a novelist was over just shortly after it had begun.
book, spanning a number of centuries in Irish history–I found myself dreading
the marketing process. But I continued writing it with some feeble hope that it
might one day get into print, despite the odds against me. My first marketing
attempts were as dismal as I feared: Agents I contacted praised the writing,
but, oh, there was that first book failure…Others thought the subject matter
was too arcane, even for young history students. “Historical novels about the
Tudor Era and US civil war do well,” one told me. “Anything else, forget it!”
Discouraged, I stuck the manuscript away, and forgot about it for awhile…though
every so often, I’d hear an Irish tune or see a picture of Ireland’s rocky west
coast, and I’d feel a wave of sorrow and regret, for the novel I’d written that
would never be published.
and e-publishing, and it was my moment of epiphany. My Irish novel was meant to
be self-published! I pulled it out (never destroy anything!), decided to cut it
down into a series of books, starting with my tale of the 15th
century and the Galway scholar Aedan. Two months later, The Raven Girl made its
debut on Amazon.com. I also had a print version published with the help of
CreateSpace, and was quite pleased with the results.
June!–but they are beginning to pick up. And I’ve since gotten some great
reviews, which reinforce my gut feeling that the book was worth publishing.
to fade, and would urge mainstream publications, such as the NYTimes Book
Review, to consider reviewing and publicizing more self-published books. I am
convinced this is the future of literature, and I think all those
readers out there voraciously devouring
Kindle and Nook books are showing us the way.
Kathy Cecala is a former editor, researcher and
English tutor, currently a full-time freelance writer living in Northern New
Jersey with her husband, graphic artist Frank Cecala. She has a grown daughter,
an aspiring dancer and choreographer in New York City.
The Raven Girl is a
historical novel for young adults, set in 15th century western
Ireland during the Age of Exploration. A mysterious golden-skinned girl with
raven-dark hair washes ashore on a remote Connemarra island, and the primitive
islanders fear she is a supernatural being, a witch or mermaid. A young scholar
journeys to the isle from Galway city to investigate and falls under her spell.
This book is part of a series of novels spanning 1000 years in Irish history.