"Becoming Beauty." She is the Ethel to my crazy brand of Lucy and I'm excited to be here again as the final installment of the blog tour for her second book, "Midnight Sisters: A Retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses."
I have to admit that this time around has been a bittersweet experience for me because I'm no longer the next door neighbor/redheaded bestie who lives all the excitement in real-time. I'm the living-two-states-away friend and so my perspective has been different. In my last blog tour post, I gave you a behind-the-scenes perspective of the incredibly hard work it is to be traditionally published. With "Becoming Beauty", I became Sarah's unofficial marketing director and worked for cookies...no joke. This time around, I've been on the other end of texts, emails and Facebook instant messages as Sarah forged new trails in her author career. The trail of a self-publishing author is completely different than being picked up by a publisher. As is customary for the sassy redheaded friend, I am going to give you the bits and pieces of info that show you how much work Sarah has put in to making this book happen. And......I'm giving you the magic bribery cookie recipe because let's be honest; it's January which is the month in which carbs, chocolate and Diet Coke solve most issues.
My professional background includes marketing, small business branding, social media management and impromptu business owner therapy sessions. I've seen a lot of business owners start from the ground up and create a brand and product that is epic. Sarah's brand is no exception. You may not know this, but by day Sarah is an educator of 5 year-olds. That alone deserves an award of two (or ten), but being a self-published author on top of it deserves some platinum pretties from Tiffany's. My brain is always crunching numbers about which option provides less overhead, but also less stress, and self-publishing is probably not the answer. However, Sarah had a lot more control over elements that mattered to her and I think that has been good for her. First and foremost, the stunning cover art is by her talented cousin, Cindy and Sarah called ALL the shots and attended the photo shoot that inspired this art. I mean, let's just collectively sigh at this one:
I asked Sarah what she's loved and loathed about self-publishing. Here are her musings about the aspects she loved, "I loved having control over the when and the what of publishing. I set up my own schedule and didn't have to wait until I fit into a publishing schedule because someone's a cooler author and they got a primo spot, so I'm scheduled for further and further out. I also loved controlling what was in my novel. My book was in review with a publisher for a long time and in the end they suggested turning in into LDS Fiction. While that may have been advantageous from a marketing standpoint, I didn't feel that it did justice to my novel or my writing style. Instead, I worked hand-in-hand with a professional editor and I had the last say about everything from story arc to chapter headings. I really enjoyed that collaborative process."
The loathing sounded like this, "The aspect of self-publishing I found most challenging was the formatting. Last time I handed them a Word document and they did the rest. This time I had to turn it into what you read. And that wasn't easy. Luckily, I had tech gurus on my side who would work for dinner. So there's that. A lot of self-publishing is like shooting into the dark. You're not quite sure where the target is or how to hit it, but you try and try again until you figure it out."
As I've been working on this post Sarah and I have been instant messaging on Facebook and she further reiterated that control over the design of the cover has meant a ton to her as well as the beautiful formatting inside the book. There is an added element of involvement and investment that has accompanied this book because it was self-published.
In spite of my flee from the 'hood and next door to Chez Boucher, I am still so proud of Sarah and her accomplishment to have book number two on the grid. Buy this book TODAY. Buy it for your daughter, buy it for your book club. Sarah doesn't miss a detail and "Midnight Sisters: A Retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses." will steal a piece of your heart.
Last, but not least, and as promised, I happily share Ethel's delicious bribery chocolate chip cookies with you. They say the magic ingredient is a pudding mix, but I'm pretty sure it's LLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVE. Break out your best vintage apron and expensive chocolate and make these stat. They are my favorite!! Click on the graphic below and hit the print button!
The moral of the story: Hard work pays off. Don't ever give up on your dreams and make cookies on the days when you feel like your dreams are being smothered. Cookies make everything better.
Until next time, my lovelies!