Last month she had a new book come out, the short story AN OZARK MEMORY OF GRACE VOTAW DUNIVEN, which won the story award from Eaton Literary Agency in 1989 when Ann was in graduate school. As Ann says, "At age 71, I'm a living testimony that it's never too late to publish a book."
I'm delighted Ann is here today to talk about her decision to explore self-publishing with AN OZARK MEMORY after having been traditionally published by a small house.
|Ann Carbine Best|
I simply used Mark Coker's wonderful, free Smashwords Style Guide. But when I tried to upload my novella to Kindle Direct Publishing, it didn't quite work. After much trial and error, I downloaded Mobipocket Creator and managed to figure that out—I couldn't the first time I tried—then I uploaded the first manuscript to KDP. And it almost worked. But there was still a line-spacing problem. Again, trial and error until I figured it out.
I kept trying because I wanted to see if I could self-publish a novelette and a short story. And I did! And in the process, I learned to use some of the features in Microsoft Word that I hadn't known how to use before I started on this project.
Everyone else this holiday season seems to be self-publishing e-books. So it remains to be seen how well the stories will sell.
IMPRISONED is the story of a Russian woman who came to visit a man in America, not knowing she and her young son would be a prisoner in his house. AN OZARK MEMORY is about a little Ozark "hillbilly" I met in 1962 in a back alley in Licking, Mo.
It amazes me that I got a book "traditionally" published in May. It launched just four days after my 71st birthday, and IN THE MIRROR: A MEMOIR OF SHATTERED SECRETS is still riding high in the Amazon Kindle store. Both e-book and print copies are also selling through my publisher's new and exciting Web site, http://celerytree.com/.
I have often said that I would be pleased if I published only one good book in my life. I was thinking in terms of another To Kill A Mockingbird. But hey, I'll never write a book as good as that. However, with the editing skills of a wonderful start-up press called WiDo Publishing, my memoir turned out very well.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT TRADITIONAL PUBLISHING
It's great to have a good editor and a marketing department who takes care of all the details such as formatting and getting the book up on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It's also great to not have to think about how to get print copies. My publishing company does it all, and it's wonderful.
I like to be able to go into Amazon as a "publisher" and see what's happening with sales. I can also go in and change the price of the book anytime I'd like. If I find errors after it's published, I can upload a new version. I have complete control over everything to do with the book, which I like very much!
I read somewhere that it helps to have published a successful book before you try to self-publish, that a second book can help sell the first one. It will be interesting to see what happens!
WHAT I'M GOING TO DO NOW
I want to publish one more full-length memoir, the story of my friend and her severely disabled son that I'm ghost writing for her. A few months ago, I posted excerpts on my blog, and then I got sidetracked. Now I'm finally working on it again.
But I haven't decided whether I'll try the traditional route first or self-publish it. I think I'd go with the former if I got a good contract, mainly so I wouldn't have to figure out how to get print copies for those who don't like to read e-books. But whatever I decide, I've got to finish the memoir first!
Thank you, Michelle, for your encouragement. I count you as one of my dear friends. Pursue your goals. Keep writing. Enjoy your life with your husband and cats.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your faithful followers!
Ann, I hope all the joy and strength that fill your books and your life come back to you and yours a hundredfold this coming year. You are a brilliant writer whose writing flows effortlessly and naturally. You also are an incredible friend to all who are privileged to know you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Ann Carbine Best lives in the Shenandoah Valley, where she is full-time caregiver of her disabled daughter, Jen.
Ann earned her bachelor's degree in English from Brigham Young University and her master's of fine arts in creative writing from George Mason University.
Visit Ann online at her blog, Facebook and Twitter.
LINKS TO BOOKS
A free Smashwords style guide is available at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52.
IN THE MIRROR can be found at Celery Tree, while IN THE MIRROR, IMPRISONED and AN OZARK MEMORY can be found on Amazon.
IMPRISONED and AN OZARK MEMORY can also be found on Smashwords.
AN OZARK MEMORY: Grace Votaw Duniven wrote songs and sang them at country picnics. She slept in culverts or on the back porch of her friend Sadie's house. Ann first met this unforgettable woman through some letters, then in person the spring of 1962 in a back alley in Licking, Mo.
IMPRISONED: When Svetlana Garetova flies with her son from Moscow to Salt Lake City for a visit with Jimmy Rafael, she has no idea that they will soon be living almost like prisoners in his house.
IN THE MIRROR is the memoir of a woman who planned on her marriage lasting forever. Eleven years later, she is devastated to learn her husband has been having affairs with men. When their marriage ends, Ann is now faced with four grieving children who don’t want to leave their father and their home in Utah Valley. But Ann needs to start a new life in a new place. In the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Ann at last makes peace with the past.