For Michele Gorman, the choice to self publish her novel Single in the City, which was originally published across the pond by Penguin UK, was a mixture of many things. I was extremely curious to hear all about it, since it seemed that the UK version of the book had done so well....
Here's her story:
Thanks so much Lori, for inviting me today to chat about self-publishing! It’s a completely different proposition than it was even 5 years ago, thanks to the rise of eBooks. And this is great news for both writers and book lovers.
Today there are lots of reasons for published writers to choose self-publishing. Maybe you’ve been with a big publisher and had a bad experience. Maybe you had a good experience but want complete control over the whole publication process. Or maybe you just have more faith in your book, and your audience, than big publishers do.
I was elated when Penguin UK offered to publish Single in the City. And I had a great experience with them. My editor was excellent, the sales team worked really hard and got my book into one of the
biggest supermarkets and into every airport and train station book shop in the
country. And my publicist was incredible. I definitely believe in the
partnership between writers and great publishers but sometimes self-publishing is
the right decision for a specific book in a specific market. UK
Penguin UK offered a global deal but my agent and I held back the US rights. This was because I wanted a US publisher for the book (Penguin UK and Penguin US are run independently each from their own territories). I wanted a US publisher to handle Single in the City on ‘home soil’ because Hannah, the main character, is American and her story about moving to London is seen through her rather baffled American eyes. I figured it would be a great fit.
Unfortunately the publishers we approached didn’t think that US chick lit fans would ‘get’ the culture-specific humour of a book set in London because many hadn’t been there. I reject this judgment. I have more faith in American women.
We don’t need to have experienced something in order to understand it. I doubt many women who’ve bought We Need To Talk About Kevin have a homicidal son, and no one who reads Jane Eyre today has lived in the 18th Century. These books are read because women empathise with their characters’ feelings. Single in the City is about establishing a new life in an unfamiliar situation. Who hasn’t had the same cringeworthy feelings when moving to a new city, or country, starting college or a new job or trying to fit into a boyfriend’s family? And who doesn’t laugh when they hear about others who’ve been in the same boat? This is a universal theme, so I decided to publish the book myself.
It was a lot of work to get Single in the City ready for its American launch. I had to ‘translate’ it into American from British English, and while I was at it I figured I’d rewrite it too. I’m very lucky to have had a year of reviews from so many readers, which allowed me to see what they liked and didn’t like. For example several readers would have preferred less drinking … since that wasn’t an important feature of the story I toned it down (though we do like a tipple over here!). Hannah is also a bit more of a rounded character now, and I’ve deepened the scene settings to give a stronger sense of place – it’s a bit more descriptive. I also took out the footnotes that explained American/British differences (they were aimed at British readers to explain some of our more peculiar habits). Finally, and most fun, I got to design the new cover!
So it’s been a very busy few months, but rewarding, and I’m excited that Single in the City can now be read by an American audience. And I’m looking forward to hearing what everyone thinks, so please don’t be shy. Get in touch! You can send me an email through my website (www.michelegorman.co.uk) or send me a facebook friend request (www.facebook.com/michele.gorman3) or follow me on Twitter (@expatdiaries) and I’ll follow you back. I love talking with readers, so much so that I’ve hatched a plan for the next book. I’m going to write it interactively! I’m posting book excerpts on my blog (michelegormanwriter.blogspot.com) and asking readers for their opinions on storylines and characters. This is SO exciting for me so I hope many many readers will want to take part!
Finally, another exciting development for eBooks is Kindlegraph. Do you know about this? It’s genius - I’m able to inscribe eBooks for you! If you go to www.kindlegraph.com, sign in, find Single in the City and request a kindlegraph. My signed inscription for your eBook gets sent straight to your Kindle.
And if you’d like to give Single in the City as an eBook to your friends for Christmas or Hanukkah, you can gift one through www.amazon.com. I’m more than happy to inscribe their book too. Just be sure to tell your friend in the email that goes with the gift to go to Kindlegraph and make the request. You may even want to add your inscription to that email and ask your friend to copy that and paste it into the request (Kindlegraph lets you do that). Imagine being able to give your friend an eBook inscribed to say Happy Christmas Nicole, Your best friend Amy has sent you this book because you’re fabulous. We both hope you love it! All the best in 2012. Michele Gorman xoxo