In August 2012 I had just completed the manuscript of a full length novel (93,000 words) which I called The Finest Line, a highly erotic suspense novel with some BDSM and domestic discipline themes and a very twisted plot. Hell, I was excited. I read it through again and knew I loved my story and I wanted to share it with the world, but I knew absolutely nothing about getting published.
Immediately I went to publisher's websites and started reading the exhaustive process of how to submit my manuscript with a synopsis and the first chapters etc. I felt my balloon of excitement beginning to deflate. If I was incredibly lucky, I might have my book out in six months to a year, if I could get anyone to accept it. That's not what I wanted. I had this book all ready to go. I want it out now!! It was then that I came across this strange phrase "self publish" and discovered that you can do that yourself for nothing, but first I needed a cover.
Again, the price of getting a cover was going to be costly and at that time I literally had no money. My husband and I had our own business for four years, but had suffered a major setback which left us with little money to live, let alone buy a book cover. Never one to give up, I wondered how hard it could be to make one myself. I knew what I wanted. My book explored themes of dominance and submission, pole dancing, spanking and romance. That's what I want to capture.
Through my life I have been blessed by truly incredible friends. Being a part of the film and drama circles in our community I had two dearest friends that were actors and models, one a gorgeous six foot three man and an incredibly beautiful girl, Maggie, that would be perfect for the cover. I approached Maggie first and said, "How would you feel about being naked on the front cover of my book?"
Always the complete professional, Maggie grinned and said, "Sure, I'm keen." My male friend was just as eager and so my cast was set. Another dear friend Leah was a brilliant photographer and was incredibly excited to be involved. I told them all that I couldn't pay them unless I got some sales, to which they all brushed me off and said they wouldn't take anything anyway. They were in it for the fun.
We approached a strip club where I knew they had poles and again I discovered the kindness of strangers in the manager. When I told her what I wanted to do, she immediately got excited and started suggesting ways to set the lights. She also wanted no money, but asked if she would be able to have a blow-up of the final photo for her club. Of course!
The photo shoot took about two hours in which we spent more time laughing than we did working. We captured about 200 shots but it was one photo that stood out to all of us. That photo would go on to be the cover of The Finest Line.
Love it or hate it, that cover has been a huge draw card to my book. I've had emails from random people in Germany, France and the UK just to tell me how much they love my cover. One guy begged me permission to blow it up as a poster for his wall. I was quite happy to do that and sent him the 300 DPI file so he would get great resolution.
So what did it cost me to publish my book? A carton of beer to share with my friends as we celebrated that incredible release. How long did it take from finishing my manuscript to appearing on Amazon? Three weeks. Is it a perfect book? No, it has errors that I missed in all the excitement. I could update it to be error free but I don't because the book is free and it taught me the valuable lesson of getting someone to proofread your work. It doesn't stop it being popular. With over 120 five star reviews, I know that people have enjoyed my story and I keep it free for them to do just that. How do I do that? Well, that's another story that I'll share with you soon.