If you've ever had an ugly duckling you'd meant to be a swan, then you can relate to this story.
My first ebook, The Vanishing Magic of Snow, had special importance for me:
1) After 25 years in The Desert, ignored by all agents and editors despite four published novels, it was the first all-new project I'd completed in roughly a decade. And I'd set out to prove that I still had the stuff.
2) It spearheaded my master plan to lay siege to EBookLandia with a razzle-dazzle blend of new work, rewritten versions of the work that I'd done in The Desert, and reissues of my four novels published under the name Kelley Wilde.
3) Though it's a work of fiction, TVMOS was sparked by a true life nightmare: I'd lost my job, could not find work and found myself faced with the dual threat of eviction and starvation. The first part of the novel was written in a white heat: I wanted to leave something, in case I didn't make it, to tell the world how it felt to go down without a prayer. When a miracle occurred, I continued writing: a fantasy about one man's desperate efforts to manifest his salvation through the power of positive action and thought. The theme had been on my mind since the 1970's, when I lived in Canada--and for the first time I found myself writing about my Canadian decade. Part fantasy, part thriller, part horror, TVMOS became part personal testament too.
Enough about me, though. My thoughts turned to you and my growing awareness that good writing is translation. More and more I realized that talk about Me comes to nothing--unless it is grounded in thoughts about You as a reader. No one cares--and rightly so--about Reb MacRath losing his job. So many of you have lost yours or know someone who has lost theirs. Somehow we need to translate our tales into universal terms. Where is the real terror that all of us can relate to? How can a wealthy CEO, an actress or a best-selling author relate to the tale of an old call center clerk who's made a mess of his life? The universal lingo had to be something that all of us share. And the book began to write itself the instant I thought of a premise that all of us could relate to: things in the hero's apartment begin to disappear--while he is in the apartment. The job loss is simply one more loss as his entire life begins to vanish piece by piece.
So, then, then book represented a writing milestone as well. Onward with next to no online connections, little knowledge of ebook publishing--and no needed skills to format my Word text for Amazon. And this brings us, at last, to the part of the story I wanted most to tell: I succeeded in finding a formatter for only $25. The results appeared...well, a little strange when I viewed her work on the Kindle previewer: faulty indentations and line breaks...extra spaces between words...etc. She insisted, though, that the problem lay in the previewer. The published text would be perfect.
No such luck. The published version looked a little like a tone poem. And though I acquired some five-star reviews, though nobody groused of the formatting, TVMOS became my ugly duckling I seldom talked about. The book I felt ashamed to tout.
So much for the bad news. The good news is this: my new formatter, Yvonne Betancourt, will reformat the manuscript within the next week. And I've used the last few weeks to really bring the book to life with polishing and tweaking.
Result: TVMOS will soon take its proud place among my seven other ebooks. And I'll stage a free event for as long as Amazon will allow.