I’m currently writing a book on self-publishing: my experience, some tips, some of my behind-the-scenes, expectations vs reality,the happy moments…It will not be a book on how to become a millionnaire, but hopefully a book that will give you insights, ideas, resources…If you have any questions you’d like me to tackle in this book, don’t hesitate to send me an email or leave a comment. This blog post will be featured in that book.
Did you know I wasn’t planning on writing A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER? Did you know that this is the book that got the attention of a French publisher, got picked up by said-publisher and enabled me to be in French bookstores? Did you know this book now has 115 reviews on Amazon?
I published A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER in July 2015. More than 5 years ago. And since then?
I sold more more than 1200 paperback copies of the English edition of A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER since 2015. And it has been downloaded for free more than 16000 times. I haven’t advertised this book in English for years and just last July, 400 people downloaded it and I sold 56 paperback copies.
The French version has even much better numbers: both for the paid e-book and for the paperback version. Especially since the French paperback version was picked up by a French publisher and was also sold in bookstores and supermarkets and Cultura and la Fnac and in libraries…:-)
It is truly the little book that could. 🙂
115 reviews on Amazon and counting…
Did you know the English version of A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER has now more than 100 reviews on Amazon?
I mean, granted, not all reviews are raving…the one on top of the Amazon page is a one-star review, telling readers not to read A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER because it will make you angry. And another one on the German Amazon site talks about the fact that this book isn’t Oscar Wild-esque and lacks moral…
I wanted to share those reviews, but apparently, Amazon reviews belong to Amazon due to copyright? Something else to check out in more details later.
Why am I sharing that this book has some negative reviews? To show you that all books get negative reviews. And that’s perfectly fine. Not everyone will like what you’re writing. Not everyone likes what I’m writing.
And some of those negative reviews might actually help your sales, believe or not. The sales of A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER didn’t dwindle since that 1-star review took center stage on the product page.
And while, I still get these little moments where my stomach clenches as I release a new book…wondering about those first reviews trickling in, checking my book page to see if anyone reviewed it or what readers thought about the story I spent months on…I don’t dwell on them as much.
And fine it’s also easier not to dwell on them when most reviews are four and higher, and some readers call A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER the greatest book they’ve read or that they fell in love with the characters.
And did you know A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER got reviewed in The Guardian? I mean that’s pretty cool.
The story behind A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER…
I wasn’t planning on writing A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER.
My goal was to write ALWAYS SECOND BEST as a standalone companion novel to ONE, TWO, THREE. But as I drafted ALWAYS SECOND BEST, I kept on thinking about that summer between Nick & Em. I kept on thinking I needed to really get to know them better. I kept on thinking maybe I should write it out.
So, I did. I did it as a way to really get to know Nick & Em and to make ALWAYS SECOND BEST stronger.
It was only supposed to help me understand the characters better, but I fell in love with that summer story.
And I drafted it very very quickly. It took me a few months only between the moment I started drafting it and the moment I sent it to my copy editor.
My critique partners loved the story and this was one I didn’t need to revise a lot. I had been thinking about it so much while I had started drafting ALWAYS SECOND BEST that I couldn’t wait to dig deeper into their summer.
And it ended up being A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER (Nick & Em #1). And the rest is history…
Languages and more languages…
A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER is available in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese.
I even signed with a French publisher!
The French version really took off when I published it. It shot up the charts…I released ALWAYS SECOND BEST in French not long after and it also did very very well…and that’s how A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER caught the attention of a French publisher. And made me a so-called hybrid author (self-published and traditionally published).
On November 21st, 2016 I received an email from a French publisher, who contacted me by email to see if I would be interested in signing with them for the French versions of A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER & ALWAYS SECOND BEST. Plus a possible option book.
At first, I thought it was a scam.
I don’t have an agent and I wasn’t sure how to go about it. I don’t recommend selling your foreign rights without an agent. An agent may have been able to negotiate different aspects of the contract for me. I got lucky, I think. One, because I speak French 😉 and thus, I was able to do my research, see the story of their imprint, look at the other authors they had signed with, and negotiate with them directly. I only sold the rights to the paperback version and not other format or languages. Two, they have been very good with all follow-ups. They, unfortunately, no longer carry the YA line but they were part of a bigger imprint and thus, I still am receiving royalty information and everything.
They also ended up buying the option book! And they acquired the French version of ONE, TWO, THREE as well.
I got an advance. I got author copies. I got promotion. I even saw my books in French bookstores and grocery stores! Kind of like one of my books making it into Target-level of excitement!
Writing this still feels surreal, even though it happened about four years ago for the first contract and about two years ago
A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER is available in several bilingual editions (I really need to add a tab on my blog for those 🙂 – coming soon!):
Thank you to everyone who has given this little book of mine a chance, from my critique partners to my French publisher to all the people who have read it in whatever language and format. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to review it. Thank you to all the readers who have sent me an email to let me know how much they loved this book…
Let me know if you have any questions…any behind-the-scenes you’d like to read more about…and don’t hesitate to send me questions about my experience with self-publishing that you’d like me to answer in the book I’m currently writing.
I’ve decided to do National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a slightly modified version to fit my November goals. You can find me here if you’re on the NaNoWriMo website. For those of you who may not know:
National Novel Writing Month began in 1999 as a daunting but straightforward challenge: to write 50,000 words of a novel during the thirty days of November.
Now, each year on November 1, hundreds of thousands of people around the world begin to write, determined to end the month with 50,000 words of a brand-new novel. You may know this mass creative explosion by the name National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo—but that’s not all that NaNoWriMo is!
(…) It’s a start-up incubator for novels (books like Water for Elephants, Fangirl, and WOOL began as rough drafts in November!). It’s a teaching tool, it’s a curriculum, and its programs run year-round.
Right now I am still finalizing my adult rom-com and will continue to do so in the coming weeks. However, I am planning on also writing a few short non-fiction books about self-publishing.
This won’t be about how to become a millionaire thanks to writing or how to become a bestselling author (because I’m neither of those).
It will be more related to questions you may ask yourself before self-publishing (why, how, is that right for me, what are my expectations and what are my goals and what are my dreams), during self-publishing (the process, the options…), looking at foreign markets, what has worked for me, what hasn’t and what I have learned.
Because I’ve learned a lot in the past six years. About a lot of things, but I’m still talking about self-publishing here. 🙂 I’ve become a hybrid author (self-published and tradionally published). I’m getting a lot of my rights back from my translated works in the coming months.
I’ll share some of my stats (paperback vs ebook, countries where I am currently selling the most…), definitely a lot of behind-the-scenes and reality-checks and hopefully usefully answers some of your burning questions (again…about self-publishing).
So…do *you* have any questions about self-publishing? Or about my years as self-publisher?
Don’t hesitate to add them as a comment to this blog post or fill out the message form below to send me an email.
I’m used to explaining how to pronounce my name: both my first and last name. I’ve done it for years.
A few weeks ago, Trish Doller tweeted about how helpful it would be for authors to have a pronunciation guide for their name.
I had been meaning to do that for a long time.
Some days, I do believe it would have been easier to go with a pen name for more reasons than one. Other days, I’m happy I decided to publish under my name. Lots of pros and cons. But I digress. Today’s post is about how to pronounce “Elodie Nowodazkij.”
“Elodie” is a common French name. And I may just have spent ten minutes looking at a graph showing its popularity per years. According to data extracted by several websites from l’Insee (National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies), I can share with you that there were 83 babies named “Elodie” in 1900, while 7118 babies were named “Elodie” in 1981. And I was one of them. It actually reached a peak in 1988. So you could say my parents started a trend. 😉 Based on this data, 58 babies were named Elodie in 2018.
Outside of France, it is not a very common name at all. I usually tell people, it’s like, “Melody without the ‘m’.”
For my last name, “Nowodazkij”, well it’s harder because one doesn’t pronounce all letters. The “j” at the end is silent for example. And for the little story, it’s spelled like this because it was transcribed that way from Cyrillic to German when my husband immigrated to Germany when he was a kid.
So, for those of you who are wondering how to pronounce “Elodie Nowodazkij”, you can listen to me below saying it (or you can click here).
At some point, I was thinking of starting a 5-minute podcast on “How do you pronounce…?” And ask authors to tell me one story about their name.
I posted this on Instagram this morning. A little Motivation Wednesday if you will. And it’s stayed with me all day. I am looking forward to adding words to my manuscript. I am gathering them in my mind right now.
I am writing this post from our desktop under the sleeping eye of Bobbie Voltaire The Cat. My laptop’s keyboard is still writing its own story and I can’t really write on it. I did order a new one and it should arrive tomorrow, after some delay. I managed to download Scrivener to the desktop despite the wireless card being a bit problematic so I am gearing up to write. And I am very much looking forward to writing the chapters I’ve unlocked in my last writing session.
Today, I also wrote other words…not manuscript words, but newsletter words. As you probably know I have a newsletter and Mailchimp gives me data on the percentage of people opening said-newsletters. Sometimes newsletters end in spam or maybe my subject lines are not appealing enough or maybe people get busy. And it is important to make sure subscribers are still interested in the news I send. From a business perspective, deleting subscribers who are no longer interested mean I may pay less monthly for Mailchimp 🙂 and from a personal perspective, it’s nice to see higher open-rated on my newsletters….
I’m also working on the back-end of previously published books to keep them updated.
And I just wrote those words.
One word a time.
What are you currently writing or thinking about writing?
This was an easy and yet so difficult question to answer.
Difficult because there are so many reasons I write (including wanting to make a living out of writing – I mean I’m still day-dreaming about getting that call from Reese Whiterspoon about adapting one of my books or maybe Netflix or Lifetime).
But mainly, it is difficult because answering it also means being vulnerable in a way. Putting those words out there. Not a story. But part of my story.
And then answering it is also easy because I know the answers. I know why I write. All the reasons. And one of the main reasons.
I feel like it’s always been because writing is an outlet for my imagination.
Already when I was a teenager…I had those stories I wanted to tell. It’s hard to describe the feeling I have when I finally fully understand my characters and how much I want to be able to tell their stories. And how much I can’t wait for them to have a happy ending. Even though for some of them, it might take a lot of heartache along the way, they will have a happy ending.
Writing enables me to express myself. And know that my words may help others in one way or another. It might distract them. Pull them in. It might make them feel…
And when I don’t write, my anxiety and OCD tend to get worse. It doesn’t mean that writing is easy or that writing is the all-in-one solution.
It’s all about balance, right?
I go to therapy. Well, right now, I do zoom therapies 🙂
And I’m lucky that I have two wonderful therapists. One who’s been helping me deal with the anxieties related to cancer and who’s been helping me with staying in the moment, being more present while also not ignoring the fears that come with *wave hands* everything.
And more recently I also started seeing an OCD specialist. And I’ll be forever grateful to my “cancer” therapist who recognized that she couldn’t help me with what I was going through with OCD. So that I could learn how to deal with it. It’s also a process. I have homework 😛
Apparently, going through months of chemo, then radiation, then immunotherapy, then a stem cell transplant and menopause and vitamin D deficiency and everything means that the brain may not have its usual mechanisms in place to deal with stress. Mechanisms I had learned in therapy back in Germany 🙂 I also had to learn new mechanisms for OCD as I hadn’t done too much work on that before. I’m telling you… it’s a process.
The last book I wrote TRUST ME, TRUST ME NOT meant a lot to me because I wrote it during treatment and right after treatment. I published it before my stem cell transplant. I raised money with it for LLS. I loved and still love Lacey and Hunter. Writing that book was very cathartic. And finishing to write that book felt like such an accomplishment.And the one I’m currently writing? It manages to make me laugh out loud. And swoon. And it’s very different than my romantic suspense (no killers in this one), but it’s another way for me to be in the moment. To work. To be productive. To dream. To be creative. To tell stories.
That’s why I write.
If you’re a writer, why do you write? And if you’re a reader, why do you read?
Today is the release day of the Italian version of A Summer Like No Other. I am so so excited about it. I even got one of the coveted little best-selling flags for it on Amazon Italy. 🙂
Thank you so much to my translator: Annalisa Lovat and my proofreader Cinzia Novi 🙂 and stay tuned for more information on bilingual editions of A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER in Italian coming soon. And for the Italian version of ALWAYS SECOND BEST.
What’s the first line of the book you’re currently reading?
Here are the first lines of my novels (including my Work-In-Progress).
“Bucket List Item also known as “What was I thinking?” or “You’re going to rock this” List (depending on the days): Blind date – tomorrow.” (UNTITLED – Current WiP)
“Here’s what we all know: Sometime this week or the next or the one after that, we will find another dead girl.” (FEAR ME, FEAR ME NOT). Technically the first line of that novel is: Fear. (but I took the first line of the second chapter :P).
“Evil doesn’t sleep, doesn’t rest, doesn’t forget.” (SEE ME, SEE ME NOT)
“The daisies on my mother’s tomb remind me of happier times.” (TRUST ME, TRUST ME NOT)
“Blood. The blood is everywhere.” (ONE DREAM ONLY)
“Chopin’s music is the soundtrack of my life.” (ONE TWO THREE).
“The pop music blasts from the speakers so loudly that it resonates within me.” (A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER)
“I SHOULD HAVE STAYED at the School of Performing Arts this weekend.” (ALWAYS SECOND BEST).
“Kneeing a guy in the balls might not be the best idea.” (LOVE IN B MINOR)
She thought she left the cult behind. He thought he’d always protect her. They were oh so wrong.
Twenty-year-old Lacey Simon jumped from a building on fire to escape the cult her stepdad was leading, so college should be oh so easy. Except Lacey can’t seem to move on. Not only does she receive threatening letters, she’s also failing her classes. Fun times. Only Hunter, the firefighter who saved her from the fire and who’s been there for her ever since, reminds her that her stepdad no longer dictates her future. He tutors her in English, and he makes her laugh, blush and help her be more daring. But why does it feel like he’s only doing this to redeem himself from mistakes of his past?
Twenty-one-year-old Hunter Harrington used to think he was invincible until a frat party turned tragic and he discovered a dead body in the pool. Ever since that day, he’s been doing his best to keep his grades up and help others. Yep, he even joined the volunteer firefighters’ college program. When he’s accused of plagiarism, he’s forced to spend more time with Lacey. Not that he minds. He’d love to get even closer. But he has secrets of his own that could destroy their relationship before it even starts. And can he really keep her safe?
Can they trust themselves and each other enough to no longer be afraid to love and…to stay alive?