It’s been my dream since high school to be an author. Now I can officially say that I am, finally. And it feels great!
Occasionally, I would write over the years and send a few things in to Publishers. I would get my rejection letters, life would get busy and I would forget about my dreams for a while (years); but that urge to write would always return. Sometime into my fifties I decided I made excuses long enough. I went after my dream again, but this time aggressively. I was going to work on it until I got it done. I enjoyed doing it, so why not?
Here it is folks! One of my first boxes of books that I ordered.
Isn’t it beautiful? That’s my dream in that box. If you want to buy a book or read what the book’s about, you can go to Amazon.com. If you want to visit me, you can go to facebook and search Return to Sleeping Bear.
I didn’t get here alone. There’s so many people to thank. First of all, God gave me this wonderful gift to write and he kept nudging me to get back to it. It always felt great to sit at my computer and put my “fingers on the home row!” I don’t know why I always stayed away so long.
My Publisher, Mission Point Press, definitely needs a shout out. Heather, their graphic artist, did the front and back covers. Love Bree’s intense look and those amazing eyes. Well done. On my Return to Sleeping Bear Facebook page, Jodee has done a phenomenal job picking out posts relevant to the story. I’m the one responding to comments, but she’s been doing everything else. (Computer technology is not my specialty, but I’m s-l-o-w-l-y learning). Love my website. Thank you Zinzi! Scott, I had to save you for last, because working with you was such a delight. I enjoyed every moment. Your suggestions were right on and gave my story an extra polish and shine once I put your suggestions to use. All writers know that it’s easy to see what someone else has missed, but it’s hard to see your own mistakes. You’re too close to your own story. Thank you for helping me step back and get a better look.
I’m truly thankful for the wonderful reviews that I got from Doug Allyn, Dean Feldpausch and John Wemlinger. I’m a fan of their work so it was fun having them read my novel and comment on it. I’ve had the opportunity to talk to Doug Allyn a few times in person and he has been an inspiration to me and has given me valuable advice. Thank you Doug, Dean and John!
I also want to thank my family, friends and co-workers who have encouraged, supported or helped me in some way, shape or fashion. They made the journey fun! Geesh. I’m starting to sound like I just won an award and I’m giving a speech, but I can’t help myself.
I’m having my book launch party this Saturday, March 23, 2019, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. It’s at Mayn St. Flowers and Gifts, 287 E. State St., Montrose Michigan. If you happen to be in the neighborhood, drop in. We’re having a drawing for a two hour sail boat trip for two on the schooner, the Manitou. The company is Traverse City Tall Ship Co. You can go for a sailboat ride just like Denver and Bree do in my book!
Get a copy of Return to Sleeping Bear and enjoy the journey!
Don’t forget to visit my website at marykeastman.com
For wholesale orders go to MPPdistribution.com or call 231-421-9513
I wrote the above on Sunday night. Monday night I started thinking about other things that I should share. I learned a lot the hard way while writing this novel. Perhaps I’ll save someone out there some trouble.
When I was in my late teens and twenties, I loved reading romance novels. Eventually I started noticing some things that irritated me. The novels all seemed to be one extreme or the other. Nothing in the middle. Either it was a Christian Romance novel and pretty wholesome or it was mainstream and had absolutely no Christian characters or anything Christian in there. It was like the rapture already happened and all the Christians disappeared from the face of the earth. Spooky.
This just didn’t seem like real life. Even if you’re not a Christian, you know someone who is. It might be someone in your family, a neighbor, friend or co-worker, but they’re out there. They do exist.
The rebel in me decided to write a romance novel that was in the middle of the road. I guess I was a little naive because I thought I was doing something original. When I had it done I started collecting rejection letters. I kept working on my story to make it better. All I got was the form rejection letters or nothing; no response. The pile was getting higher.
Finally, I got a letter from a publisher that was a real letter. They actually typed a whole letter specifically for me. It was a rejection letter, but it still excited me because even though they said it didn’t fit their needs at the time; they encouraged me to send things I wrote in the future to them. A busy publisher who probably had slush piles a mile high took time to write ME a letter! They obviously liked my writing style. So….
Why wasn’t any of the Traditional Publishers wanting my story? I finally figured it out. They have to try to sell their books to bookstores and libraries, etc. so the books they have must fall into neat little categories. Is it a Christian Romance or a regular Romance? My story was too mainstream to be called Christian and too Christian to be called mainstream. There wasn’t a category for my book! It was a misfit. It didn’t matter if it was good or not. It would be difficult to market because it didn’t belong in an existing category.
I worked too long and hard on this story to just give it up. The characters had become real (in a way) to me so their story had to be heard.
I decided to try self publishing. The advertisements said it was easy. “Just hit the start button!” Okay. I did that and I couldn’t even answer the first question, “How wide do you want the margins?” They were talking about ‘bleed’ and this and that. How would I know how much room they would need for the gluing and binding of the book? I got out of there quick.
My final decision was to invest in my book and pay a publisher to take care of everything. It took some searching for the right publishing company because there are a lot of shady and shabby publishers out there. CHECK THE REVIEWS AND COMMENTS! I liked several things about Mission Point Press. It was in Michigan. The books on their list looked great and they weren’t a brand new company. Plus, I couldn’t find any bad reviews about them. I went with them and haven’t regretted my decision. You can use whatever services of theirs you want to. I had them do the editing, the cover, marketing and website. They also get the copyright and whatever other stuff they have to do that I know nothing about. I wanted my book to look professional, so I hired professionals.
What I want to put out there is that you can be a rebel and do something original, but realize that you might not be able to go the traditional publishing route. If you want a traditional publisher to handle your book, you have to follow their rules. If you want the freedom to do things your way; going with a self-publishing company is an excellent way to go. I have enjoyed the whole process, especially the editing. And seeing my story finally in book form with a beautiful cover and all – it was unbelievable! I’m still pinching myself.
Go after your dreams! It’s wonderful when you get there!