June 26, 2012

Marking another year

Today marks three years since I published my first independent project, Save The Best For Last.

I still remember how excited I was when I saw my baby listed for sale on Amazon. Not only was I an author, but a publisher under the name of Bunderful Books. Of course, that was just the beginning. I didn't publish it in eBook format until several months later, and three original titles plus one eBook backlist title and one bundle followed. I am presently working on two new projects, including my first women's fiction to be indie published.

It's been an exhilarating ride, one in which I've been largely self-taught. I made many stumbles along the way, but I'm proud that I didn't miss a beat in transforming from traditionally published author to indie author and publisher. When I published Save The Best For Last I was still working on the manuscript for what would be my final traditionally published novel, Trouble Down The Road, which was released the next year, 2010. When I learned that Dafina would not offer me another contract, I just kept writing...and kept publishing. Now the life of a traditionally published author is but a memory that gets dimmer with every passing year. I never really thought of myself as being the take-charge type, but the truth is that I absolutely love doing it all myself and reaping the rewards.

I don't do it all myself, of course. I use a professional cover designer and work closely with her to get the "look" I want.  With the publication of Isn't She Lovely? this past March, she created a brand look for me (specifically the hero, heroine, and a dented front end of a vehicle, since a car crash plays a pivotal role in the plotline) that I intend to keep...at least until it's time for something new. I also use an editor, not a professional, but one who is very knowledgable and perceptive, and we also work closely together to ensure that the characters' motivations are clearly put across for readers. But it's wonderful to be so involved in the process, and it's wonderful to see results on an immediate basis.  Isn't She Lovely? has met with thumbs-up from the majority of readers, and it was a mainstay on the Amazon Top 100 bestsellers of multicultural romance for over three months, and occasionally still squeaks in there.  So Happy Birthday, Bunderful Books...and many more! With any luck, the stumbling period is over and it can now, well, run.

Next week I'll be celebrating a personal milestone...my 55th birthday. It seems odd to think of myself as being 55 years old (if anyone tried to put in a candle on a cake for each year, it would look something like the picture above). Where did the time go?

I'm certainly grateful to be here.  Two of my four siblings did not get to see 40, much less 55.  But the actual day will seem rather anticlimactic.  I used to look forward to qualifying for those 55+ discounts certain restaurants and stores give. When I was in Florida in February, my sister and I took her twin grandchildren shopping with us, each of us putting a baby seat in our shopping carts. When it came time to check out I was charged less than the actual cost of the item I purchased, even after tax. When I looked at my receipt, I saw that the cashier had automatically taken off 10%. I guess she took one look at the gray in the front of my hair (I don't use color, at least not yet) and at the nine-month-old baby (at the time) in my cart and figured I couldn't possibly be the mother, so I must be the grandmother. That's certainly a reasonable assumption, given that my eldest grandchild will be six years old later this year. So I got the discount five months ahead of time.

Similarly, when my husband and I stopped at IHOP for breakfast while out early last Saturday, we both ordered from the 55+ discounted menu (he already meets the age requirement) and I was not questioned.

I'm not worried about getting older, other than trying to retain good health and hoping to get all my ideas put into book form before I check out.  But I am concerned about staying relevant, about being able to write younger characters without showing my age. My current work-in-progress is about women in their late 20s...an age I haven't been in over 25 years.

Something Real, my work-in-progress, isn't my first attempt at trying to write young characters.  Since this is a sequel, these characters were even younger the first time they made an appearance in Save The Best For Last.  But I wrote and published that just before I turned 52. I find myself wondering if I can really pull this off.

How about you? If you're a reader, have you ever noticed characters who are written too old (or too young) for their given ages?  If you're a middle-aged writer, do you worry about being able to capture the emotions of characters under 30 or over 70?

Anyway, to celebrate my third year as an indie author and publisher, I am offering a half-price sale on Save The Best For Last .  Simply go to my author page at Smashwords, where all my Bunderful Books titles are listed, click on Save The Best For Last , choose the file type (Mobi for Kindle, ePub for Nook, etc.) that corresponds to your device, add to cart, and at checkout enter this code:   RR54J.  It will automatically take 50% off the list price of $3.49. 

This special is only good for today, so enjoy!


PatriciaW said...

Congratulations Bettye on your publishing success! I know there's a bunch of us who are watching and learning from those such as yourself who have ventured into the waters before us.

And Happy Birthday! I'm prepping for a big one too. Not until next February, but I'm already thinking about where I want to be in my life (and yes, geographically) when I turn 50. Hoping to be on a spa vacation somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary, Bettye! :)--Reon

bettye griffin said...

Patricia, a spa vacation sounds lovely! You certainly deserve it, with all you do. Thanks for your good wishes for both my upcoming birthday and my modest success with Bunderful Books. I do hope you and other aspiring writers have found my posts helpful.

Thanks, Reon! I'm waiting for you to join me in the world of indie publishing. You're a talented writer, and I know you have plenty more stories to tell.