Well! Here we are! Publication Day. [insert gif here that exudes a giddy, happy flavor to your day]
In the beginning….
When I got the idea for this novel, I don’t think I really thought this day would come. I thought I’d write something, and I would query some agents and it would probably be panned and then I would give up and shelve it, because all the great writers say that your first book is crap and don’t even think about publishing it, just be thankful for the experience and the lessons learned. Write another (better) book and keep plugging, slugger! (Never tell a budding writer this previous piece of terrible advice. It’s not in the LEAST encouraging. At least, not to me.)
The idea for Ruby’s came from several places. First, I am a member of a Brunch group (HAYYYY DIVAS!) that has been meeting monthly for five years. I was SO. INSPIRED. by these ladies! We are all from different backgrounds (one is from New Orleans, a transplant from Katrina, two are from California), all with different means of employment (three entrepreneurs, one in wealth management, two in the legal field) and different levels of education (one PhD, several BA’s, one BS)… and yet we connected on so many levels and had so much in common. We get along famously and, as at our most recent brunch this weekend, often laugh until we cry. The ‘What If’ Wheel started turning and I thought What if… three women had deep friendships that are like sisterhood? At first I had four characters but I felt like I couldn’t do them all justice, so I ended up with three– Debra, Maxine and Renee. I LOVED Renee from the start. Debra was pretty easy. Maxine took a lot of time to put together (her motivations and her backstory were the hardest to put into words) but she actually is my favorite.
The other impetus toward Ruby’s was the Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal which is STILL rocking this city. From the Superintendent on down, the allegation was that teachers were changing test scores so that their students would pass. I remember an exact quote that I heard on the radio from an interview, “Yeah we changed answers; those kids are dumb as hell!” The ‘What If’ Wheel started turning again. What if… one of these close friends was involved in a scandal that would not only threaten her job, but her marriage?
Lastly, reading the book Still Alice by Lisa Genova coincided with my Uncle T (Edwin) Kennedy’s Alzheimer’s Diagnosis. I started reading message boards and books about the disease (specifically early onset) and those the angels that care for the patients. I knew I had to include something about this disease in honor of my uncle and his wife of over sixty years, DeLois, who died not even six months after he died from complications of Alzheimer’s. Their marriage long, one of the most loving I’ve ever seen and it was my pleasure and deep honor to dedicate the book to them.
Somewhere between “I’m probably not going to get an agent/publishing deal” and Pub Day, I wrote a book, then edited it from one end to the other, had it BETA’d, then edited some more, sent it to MORE Betas, edited and started trying to find out about this self publishing thing that everyone seemed really excited about. I was never really keen on the query process. I didn’t like the idea that I had to formulate my book and my query into something an Agent could sell. I didn’t see a whole lot of black authors writing AA women’s fiction/romance being snapped up by publishing. And the few agents I did query, whom I thought I had my best chances with, quickly sent regrets that they could not take on my project.
But I still wanted my book to be out and thankfully that was not the end of the road for me, as it might have been, a scant ten years ago! I did my test with Anonymous, a short story that I had previously written as fanfiction, rewrote, added material to and submitted to Crimson Romance for one of their holiday collections. It was not accepted, so I decided to publish it myself. I engaged a cover designer, learned how to format for kindle and smashwords and stumbled my way around to becoming an indie author. I offered Anonymous for free wherever I could (Amazon does not let you list titles for free. Try as I might I can’t get them to adjust the price for Anonymous so it remains 99cents) mostly to get my name and work out there but also to get experience in pushing myself into people’s faces.
Once I knew what I was doing, I pretty much made the decision that Brunch at Ruby’s was going to be an indie project. I wanted it out, I wanted it out my way and in my timing– I didn’t want to have to wait till 2017 for this book to come out, which is along the lines of a big publishing house print/release schedule. I did something new with Ruby’s as well… I offered in it paperback, which involves………so much more formatting. I will never, EVER again say that an ‘ebook is the same as a print book’ because…….OH EM GEE IT IS NOT. Totally different formatting, completely different process.
I offered the paperback version through Lulu.com, uploaded the Kindle version to Amazon and distributed everything else via Smashwords, which then sends Ruby’s to Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, Overdrive, Scribd and also allows libraries to purchase copies for their eBook collection. This was entirely better than managing everything individually. So between Smashwords, Amazon and Lulu, I am EVERYWHERE. :)
And now what???
Now we breathe. And sleep. And promo our hineys off. And bask in the glory of accomplishment. And don’t respond to any negative reviews and don’t check sales reports every hour on the hour!
And we start planning Book Two.
Interested in purchasing Ruby’s? Here are some links:
Smashwords (all versions of the file are here if you don’t want to mess with Amazon or B&N)
Add it to your Goodreads TBR pile HERE.
It’s also available via Apple iTunes but I am unable to link to it (because I don’t know how… LOL).
I sincerely appreciate ANY purchases. Please spread the word if you enjoy it and lend a book to a friend!