In Terry Prachett's book, I Shall Wear Midnight, the protagonist realizes she has the three things one needs to conquer a challenge. The first is Pride:
Oh, you hear them say it's a sin; you hear them say it goes before a fall. And that can't be true. The blacksmith prides himself on a good weld...the shepherd prides himself on keeping the wolf from the flock...We pride ourselves on making a good history of our lives, a good story to be told
The second is Fear:
I...have fear...the fear that I will let others down--and because I fear, I will overcome that fear.
The third is Trust:
I have trust, even though I am not sure what it is that I am trusting.
As I face the daunting challenge of self-publishing the next book in the Sophie series I too have pride, fear and trust. I pride myself on my work. I don't want to release anything that I am not truly proud to put my name on. And because of that I am going over this book carefully, rewriting passages that I think could be better and so on. I'm doing everything I can to make this the best Sophie book yet.
I definitely have fear. I'm scared that I'm not going to have all my ducks in a row by this weekend, the deadline I set up for myself. I'm scared that the book won't sell well. I'm scared that I'm going to totally screw this up. And because I'm so scared I'm working my ass off. I'm trying to look at things from every angle. I wake up thinking about this project and it's the last thing on my mind when I go to bed.
And I have trust. In this case I am putting my trust in you, all of my readers who have continued to support me throughout the years. I'm trusting that you will buy this book and that you will encourage your friends to do the same. I'll be selling the ebook for $3.99 (I'm recession proofing it). I'm trusting that my readers will, for the price of a Starbucks coffee, take Sophie to the next level. And why wouldn't I trust my readers, particularly when I have readers like Zee Monodee who lives on the island nation, Mauritius (a little over 500 miles East of Madagascar) who contacted me and offered to create the next cover for the Sophie series she has come to love. She actually offered to do this shortly before I officially asked for help (so on top of being talented, she's apparently psychic). I told her I wanted the title, Vanity, Vengeance & A Weekend In Vegas to be the most prominent thing. I wanted there to be a silhouette of Sophie, but I didn't want her to be like the Sophie's as imagined by Mira and Red Dress Ink. Don't get me wrong, I liked those covers...but they didn't have anything to do with the character I created. In Lust, Loathing And A Little Lip Gloss we see Sophie calmly applying lipstick while handcuffed. The illustration is the epitome of a glamour girl.
She's gorgeous, perfectly put together, polished...and that's not Sophie. The lipgloss in the title is a reference to the Strawberry Shortcake lipgloss she wore when she was a little girl. When have we ever seen Sophie stressing about her make-up? When have we seen her with perfectly smooth, highlighted hair? When have we seen her carefully putting together a high fashion outfit? Never. We never see that. It's not who Sophie is. Is she a bit of a hipster? Yes. But she's real. Bridget Jones and Becky Bloomwood (of the Shopaholic books) are real too and I like them but they're nothing like Sophie either. Too often people who don't like the Bridget Jones/Shopaholic style heroines have told me that they were surprised by how much they like Sophie. "She's so smart!" they exclaim, "and sarcastic and independent! I would never have guessed from the cover but..."
And right there, that last sentence, that's the one that drives me crazy. I want a smart, sarcastic, independent hipster Sophie on my cover. I don't want the glamour girl. Zee gave me that:
That's my Sophie. Sporting her Free People flare pants shooting a dollar sign out of a pistol. That's the girl I created. Thin but not supermodel skinny. Fashionable but not from the covers of Vogue. This Sophie's tough and more than a little fun. I put my trust in Zee and she came through for me.
Right now the first four chapters of Vanity, Vengeance & A Weekend In Vegas are posted for people to read for free. This weekend you will be able to buy the whole book. You'll definitely be able to buy it through Amazon but hopefully it will be up and ready to buy for Barnes & Noble's Nook as well. Shortly thereafter I'll be making a paperback book available for those who like to actually hold a book in their hands and if the book sells well I'll produce the audiobook (and if it sells REALLY well I'll have the book translated into French for my many French readers).
So I have Pride, I have fear and I have trust in you and now I even have a cover. I really think we can make this work :-)
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