THE PUBLISHING JOURNEY
by Dianne Harman, Author of Blue Coyote Motel
A number of different old saws come to mind when I think of how Blue Coyote Motel got from there to here: sit down, shut up and show up; bloom where you’re planted; enjoy the ride; etc., and all of them are very true!
I have been a reader for as long as I can remember. I learned to read at an early age and going to the library was one of my favorite things to do even before kindergarten. One childhood memory involves 5th grade. We could go to the school library in the afternoon and check out a book for a week. I would read it from the time I got home from school and under the covers with a flashlight until it was finished and then wait for the next Thursday. I can also remember writing a book about a little girl who goes to China around that age. Why China I have no idea!
College found me as an English major, big surprise! Life happened and thoughts of becoming a writer or an editor got pushed farther and farther into the background as children and other careers took center stage. I became an antique and art appraiser working for the IRS, banks and insurance companies, traveling all over the United States with my experts in different fields looking at wonderful things. Became a bit disenchanted at the number of people who defined themselves by their “stuff,” so I left that field to open yoga studios and teach internationally. Several years later my husband became a politician, first on City Council, then to Sacramento, California as an Assemblyman and finally a California State Senator. A new career emerged as a politician’s wife. During that time we entertained Governors, Congressmen, Lobbyists and numerous politicians.
Blue Coyote Motel was born in Palm Spring, California. We were at a small boutique hotel which had recently been renovated. Our son was the best man. The wedding party had taken over the hotel and it was 106 degrees outside. To this day I will never know what prompted me to turn to my husband and say, “Wouldn’t it be interesting if someone piped a feel-good drug into the air-conditioner and everyone felt wonderful all the time?” He looked at me and said, “There’s your book.” And so it went. At dinner that night a large Irish priest sat at the table next to us wearing a huge cross. He became a character. At the wedding dinner I was seated next to a couple from Brazil who owned gold mines. They became characters. The other three – a Native American pediatrician, a wealthy widow, and a down-and-out salesman – soon followed. We had lunch at the Blue Coyote restaurant. That seemed to be a natural as well. And so it went..
It seemed that the book pretty much wrote itself. Maria, the beautiful Latina woman from the barrio, although fictional, was based on a friend of mine. But once written, then what should I do with it? I remembered that one of the lobbyists in Sacramento had written a thriller and asked if he would meet with me. He was very gracious and vehemently urged me to self-publish. He had been with a publisher who became bankrupt and all of the profits from the sales of my mentor’s book were gone. He felt he had far more control of everything with self –publishing. I took his advice and have never regretted it. He recommended a copyeditor who recommended a graphic designer.
Before long, the book, cover and all, was at the formatter’s ready to go big time on Kindle, CreateSpace, Kobo and Smashwords. That was last October. I had a book signing party that was a huge success. I used a print on demand machine at a library in Temecula, California. There are several throughout the United States. Properly formatted for the machine, the cost of the book is much less than any publisher I could find for the print version. Since then, I have sold the books on-line, to trade industries and hotels. My sales have been a blend of both.
But the “bloom where you’re planted” part has really come about in the last few weeks. Someone sent me an email mentioning that Amazon was having a contest called “Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.” I mentioned it to my husband who strong urged me to enter the book. I kind of pooh-poohed it, but he was adamant, so I went ahead and entered ‘the pitch.” I forgot about it until I got an email saying that because of “the pitch” the book had been selected for the second tier of the contest. The second tier involved submitting 3,000 – 5,000 words of the beginning of the book. Coincidentally, the first two chapters of Blue Coyote Motel came out to just about that length. Once again I forgot about it. Was checking my email early one morning drinking a cup of coffee and saw the word “congratulations” from an acquaintance. The book had been selected for the quarterfinals of the contest. That’s where I am now. Reviewers from Publisher’s Weekly are currently readying 500 books, 100 in each of the five genres to determine who will be a semifinalist. You just never know! Exciting times!
Amazon Book Page http://amzn.to/SO8uIj
Goodreads Author Page http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6568284.Dianne_Harman
Goodreads Book Page http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16119032-blue-coyote-motel
Facebook Author Page http://www.facebook.com/#!/AuthorDianneHarman
Twitter Username http://www.twitter.com/@DianneDHarman