Monday, November 22, 2010

The Reluctant Trailblazer

My guest is woman’s fiction author, Jenyfer Matthews. She has also written three contemporary romance novels, published through Cerridwen Press.

Jenyfer is an American currently live in Cairo, Egypt, by way of too many places to name. Over the years Jenyfer has been a retail clerk, a department store model, a receptionist, a teacher, a freelance newspaper columnist, a librarian, a quilter, and a full-time mother.

Considering the brouhaha between traditional publishing and non-traditional, Jenyfer has some rather well thought out reasons for going non-traditional.

I never set out to be a trailblazer in the publishing world, but I published my first three books digitally, back before e-books were cool. It seemed like a sensible idea at the time – especially since I live in a part of the world where traditional bookstores are meh at best. I don’t think that e-books will ever truly replace paperbacks, but I love the instant gratification of being able to get books online and since I travel frequently, having multiple books available to me in one small device is hugely attractive as well.

Now I’m blazing another trail in the self-publishing world. I didn’t make the decision to self-publish lightly. I went through the traditional process of querying agents and publishers first, but I was doing it at a time when the economy was in the first stages of the melt-down. Agents weren’t taking on many new projects because publishers weren’t taking on so many new projects. I heard a lot of, this is a book I would have taken a few years ago but... In the end I had enough faith in my book to take the leap and do it myself. What did I have to lose? It wasn’t giving me any satisfaction hidden away on my hard drive.

There are up sides to self-publishing: no deadlines, no genre restrictions, no word count worries. However, there is a lot of responsibility too: writing, revising, editing, cover design, proofing and copy editing. Did I mention editing? For better or for worse, independently published books are judged more harshly than traditionally published books. If you're lucky you have a good critique partner, but if there are mistakes and problems with the book it still all comes back to you.

Editing and proofing are tedious processes, no doubt about it, but I suffer from another problem: the desire to endlessly revise. Maybe it’s just a word here and there, perhaps a few lines. It’s so easy to do when it’s primarily digital and you have all the power. It’s not even that hard to make changes when the book is available in print-on-demand form – all you have to do is upload a new file. Poof! Done. It’s hard enough to resist the urge to endlessly revise when it’s a new book you’ve put out there and you notice a typo. Now imagine the temptation when you get the rights to your backlist back…

I’m getting the rights back to my first three romance books on Christmas Eve. Best. Present. Ever. It’s entirely possible I’m a bit of a control freak, but I’m truly looking forward to re-releasing them myself at much more reasonable prices. The problem? The temptation to “fix” them.

My first book was published nearly four years ago and written a few years before that. In that time I’d like to think that I’ve grown as a writer and that I’m better now than I was then. The question then is, how much should you tinker with a book that’s already been published? All of the books have received good reviews so apparently readers like them as they are. Other than updating things a bit – the hero in my first book is a corporate lawyer with neither a laptop nor a Blackberry for goodness sake! – maybe I should just leave well enough alone?

As the author and now the publisher both, I have the ultimate decision making power. I’m doing my best not to let it go to my head or to paralyze me. My *plan* is to format, proof, and perhaps update those three books a bit and then leave them alone. I hope the perfectionist in me will cooperate.

I have other stories to write after all.


Sometimes running away is the first step toward finding yourself...

Aurora has spent her entire married life transforming herself from a regular, middle class girl into the perfect society wife. Life seems perfect until she is unceremoniously dumped by her philandering cliche’ of a husband just before Christmas – and their tenth wedding anniversary.

Devastated and unable to face the social ostracism or the holiday parties, Aurora and her best friend Kat plan a trip to Amsterdam for a weekend…then decide to keep going. Aurora attempts to drown her sorrows with wine in Amsterdam and Frankfurt, finds her anger in Athens and Cairo, and reclaims her sexuality in Dubai. By the time she and Kat reach Bangkok at the New Year, Aurora is ready and eager to move on with her life.

Planned as a way to escape her pain, Aurora’s travels instead become a journey to a new sense of self and a whole new world – post-divorce. Excerpt
Buy: Amazon (kindle or paperback) and Smashwords (distributes to Apple, Sony and Diesel, etc)


Jenyfer Matthews writes books for fun. She is an American currently living in Cairo, Egypt. Aside from writing, she's married, a mom of two under ten, a decent (if reluctant) cook, an encyclopedia of random scientific / medical facts, a wine lover (but not a snob!), and a Capricorn. She loves to travel, spend time with good friends, and laugh at life's surprises. View of life - definitely half full.

You can visit her blog, Writing News & Disconnected Thoughts and her Website.