A small press, WiDo Publishing, accepted my memoir IN THE MIRROR, back in December of 2010. It was a long and interesting process that took place at a time when the publishing industry began going through massive changes. It was a major change in my life in other ways, too. Because I was housebound with my disabled daughter, my only means of marketing was through the Internet, so I had to learn how to blog.
There were times when I felt like my seventy-year-old brain was stretched to the limit! So much so that I didn’t think I could ever self-publish. However, at my age, I didn’t want to wait years to publish something else; and I knew that a novella would be a tough sell, especially one that didn’t fall in one of the “popular” genres.
But I had a novella in my files, Svetlana Garetova’s story.
I met Svetlana in 1997 when she was a fill-in aide for my disabled daughter, for a week. On day one, I told her I was interested in miracles and angels stories for a book I was writing. After showering my daughter, she started telling me how she came to America. Instantly I knew she had a dramatically compelling story. I stopped her. “I’ve got to record this,” I said, and got out my tape recorder.
I spent several days transcribing what she told me into story form. But I never did the miracles and angels book, and so her story sat in my file for years. Then last fall when I got it out, I thought, This really is fascinating. IMPRISONED was born.
But I’m getting older by the minute, and don’t have the time or patience to query publishers. And so, because I’ve always enjoyed a challenge, I decided to self-publish it, partly to see if I could do it. I couldn’t do a cover on my own. I absolutely can NOT figure out PhotoShop. So a friend came to my rescue. She said she would do it for free, but I paid her anyway.
This was all I had to pay. From a lifetime of reading and writing, and with my editing and proofreading skills, I knew I could produce an error-free manuscript. I just needed some readers who would tell me if something didn’t make sense.
After they gave me their feedback, I went through the manuscript again and again to make sure everything did make sense, and then I had to figure out how to format it for uploading. It took time, but Mark Coker’s Smashwords guide is designed for dummies like me. Up it went on Smashwords.
However, getting it uploaded to Amazon was another problem. I finally used one of the programs suggested in Amazon’s style guide, Mobi Pocket Creator.
Through a lot of trial and error, it worked!
The last time I saw Svetlana in 2005, she said I could do whatever I wanted to with her story. I think she’d be pleased with the way it turned out.
Brief Synopsis: When Svetlana Garetova flies with her four-year-old son from Moscow in Russia to Salt Lake City in America for a visit with Jimmy Rafael, she becomes very ill. He nurses her to back to health, but when she recovers, she realizes with horror that she has missed the deadline in Moscow to pay protection money for her businesses. Her distraught mother tells her that she would be safer in America, and when Jimmy says he will marry her, she accepts his proposal even though she barely knows him and has some misgivings. On their wedding night, she discovers who he really is, and that she and her son are almost prisoners in his house. She must find a way to escape, and people to help them.
You can download a sample from the beginning of IMPRISONED from Amazon HERE. This link also takes you to my own memoir, IN THE MIRROR.
You can also read a sample of IMPRISONED on one of my blog posts. It’s a scene from the middle of the book, the most dramatic scene in the story.