Monday, May 23, 2011

My Big News

After a year and a half of writing non-stop (I'm currently working on my SIXTH manuscript) I am THRILLED to announce that one of my books will be available to the masses! I'm self-publishing my quirky southern mystery, TWENTY-EIGHT AND A HALF WISHES.

And my release date is July 12.


TWENTY-EIGHT AND A HALF WISHES will be available as a soft cover book and as an eBook at Amazon (Kindle), Barnes and Noble (Nook) and Smashwords (Sony, and other formats.)

This wasn't an easy decision. Many people in the writing world look down on self-publishing (or indie printing) and with justifiable reasons. There's a lot of junk out there. Lots of people think they can just write a book, slap on an image for a "cover", and put it up for sale. The truth is a lot of people don't spend much time on their book editing and revising after writing a first draft and it shows. There's a reason why those people couldn't get published in the traditional publishing world.

But sometimes, a book comes along that agents or editors aren't sure what to do with. Or they might like it but don't think it will sell. Traditional publishing likes neat genre packages and TWENTY-EIGHT AND A HALF WISHES doesn't fit that mold. Its part mystery, part paranormal, part romance, with a touch of woman's fiction. I sent out over fifty query letters to agents (rewriting my letter three times) and got only a handful of requests. And the ones who read part of it said it had a great "voice" but it wasn't for them.

So now you're saying "Isn't that a polite way of saying it sucks?" and I'd be inclined to think so if I hadn't won The Beacon 2010 Unpublished Division, Mainstream category. Obviously, the writing is good, the voice is good and I have about 30 beta readers and critique partners who tell me that the story is good. Some, who've read everything I've written, say it's their favorite of my manuscripts.

I had two choices. I could let TWENTY linger on my external hard drive for eternity or I could send it out into the world on my own, without the help of a traditional publisher.

Here's what finally pushed me over the edge: the world of publishing is changing since the birth of eBooks. I learned with financial investing that it's best to diversify. You spread your money out in several different investment areas. With the changing landscape of publishing, why not apply that same principle? I still want to be published with a traditional publisher. I still want an agent. But my writing career is just like financial investing. I'm investing in my career.

But all that aside, I believe in this story. I LOVE this story. It won't be for everyone and that's okay. NO book is for everyone.

So how is my book going to be better than a lot of the other self-published books out there?

1) I didn't write this book, immediately fit it into the proper eBook formatting and upload it all over the place. I've spent hours on this book. No, wait. That's an understatement. I spent hours, and hours and HOURS on this book. I spent more time editing and revising than I did writing it. A conservative estimate is approximately 700-800 hours. And yes, some of those hours were in VERY long days. During first draft, one day I started writing at 9 am and finished the next morning at 4 am. (Yes, that did include breaks for kids, eating, etc. but for those who are writers, it was a 10K day)

2) My book is being professionally edited. I don't want people to be distracted by typos or misplaced commas. It's my hope that readers won't be able to tell it didn't come from a legacy publisher.

3) My cover will be made by professionals. The saying people judge a book by its cover is true. Even my 13 year old daughter notices book covers and has on more than one occasion NOT bought a book based on its cover.

4) My characters are very well developed and real. I love Rose, the main character. She's sweet, innocent, funny and once she decides to live her life, she embraces it to the fullest.

We have an exciting two months ahead of us! I'll have some giveaways. TWENTY-EIGHT AND A HALF WISHES will be part of a book blog tour. I'll be revealing the cover in about a month. Those of you who were readers and followers of my blog before I abandoned you all will get a chance to see what I ran off to write. And hopefully you'll love it too.

So what's this book about? How about I show you the blurb on the back of the book?


“It all started when I saw myself dead.”

For Rose Gardner, working at the DMV on a Friday afternoon is bad even before she sees a vision of herself dead. She’s had plenty of visions, usually boring ones like someone’s toilet’s overflowed, but she’s never seen one of herself before. When her overbearing momma winds up murdered on her sofa instead, two things are certain: There isn't enough hydrogen peroxide in the state of Arkansas to get that stain out, and Rose is the prime suspect.

Rose realizes she’s wasted twenty-four years of living and makes a list on the back of a Wal-Mart receipt: twenty-eight things she wants to accomplish before her vision comes true. She’s well on her way with the help of her next door neighbor Joe, who has no trouble teaching Rose the rules of drinking, but won’t help with number fifteen-- do more with a man. Joe’s new to town, but it doesn't take a vision for Rose to realize he’s got plenty secrets of his own.

Somebody thinks Rose has something they want and they’ll do anything to get it. Her house is broken into, someone else she knows is murdered, and suddenly, dying a virgin in the Fenton County jail isn’t her biggest worry after all.


Rhonda said...

I'm SO excited for you. I know that making the decision to self-publish isn't for everyone but publishing is a changing landscape and you have to roll with what works. :)

As one of the lucky few who have had the pleasure of reading Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes, I have no doubt that you will find an audience of people that love it as much as the rest of us have!!!

Denise Grover Swank said...

Thanks, Rhonda!

Kristen said...

Denise, I am so proud of you for doing this! I can't wait to get my hands on this book. I know you will be successful! *hugs*

Denise Grover Swank said...

Kristen, thank you! You're support has meant so much!

The Gotch 5 said...

Sounds like a very interesting book and just in time for my summer pool reading!!! I will be looking forward to reading it!!

Kristen said...

Awww *hugs*

jennifersusan said...

I am so excited about this news and can't wait to purchase a copy. Any chance you'll be autographing any???

Kristin said...

How totally exciting!! I knew you'd be publishing soon!!

Shannon said...

SO exciting! Congrats to you, girl!

Cody said...

Just in time for the grand opening! Can you pre order a few copies?

CaraBee said...

How exciting! I can't wait to read it!

Anita said...

I had to go searching for this because I got a fb invite, but Denise I am oh so happy for you. Look at folks like Karen McQuestion who got a published book deal after she was just selling her books in Kindle format. Good things can still happen!!