From Christina: Today, I’d like to introduce you to two of my favorite people — Vikki Vaught and her “alter ego”, V L Edwards. Like Vikki, I fell in love with historical romances when I was young, and it’s become a lifelong love affair. For Vikki, her love of reading led to her love for writing. Here’s her story.
by V L Edwards
I want to talk about my experience with self-publishing today and my journey that led me to publication with Secret Cravings Publishing. For most of my life, I never had a burning desire to write. Of course, in college I wrote school papers and in my thirties, I kept a journal, writing in it every day, but never thought about writing a novel until a story popped into my head and just would not leave. I kept saying to myself, “Someone needs to write that story,” for six months, but never really thought about doing it myself.
In June of 2010, I had an opportunity to take some time off from my day job. I made up my mind that I would spend at least two hours a day working on this idea that had so preyed upon my mind for so long. The story just poured out of me faster than I could type. Some days, I would be at my desk from early in the morning until late at night. Three weeks later, I had an 80,000 word manuscript and a complete story on “paper”. Of course, that’s when the real work started. I didn’t have a clue about writing, but I knew I had written an engaging story with great characters.
I found out that there was no easy way to get it published. I bought a Writer’s Market 2011. Using a suggested format from that book, I put together a query letter and started sending it out to agents listed in the book. I received lots of rejection letters. I did have one agent request the first 50 pages of my novel, but I received a “Liked it, but just didn’t love it” rejection letter. Of course, I was devastated, but refused to give up. I found some publishers on line that would take a look at three chapters of my manuscript and sent them to those publishers. Again, I received more rejection letters. While on this journey, I also stumbled across writing techniques that I knew nothing about.
I went through my manuscript and applied those techniques. Again I sent out more queries and received more rejection letters. By this time, I’d had a few friends read my manuscript and received a lot of encouragement from them. So I kept trying to find a publisher. Then one day my husband came in and told me about a company that published manuscripts for a fee. I went to the website and found out that for a fairly reasonable price, they would publish my manuscript. At last, here was a way to get my book out. I immediately signed up and went through a process to publish my novel. It was a great learning experience, but I found out later, there were less expensive ways to publish a book.
By this time, I had written two more books that were related to the first one. These books were also sensual historical romances set in Regency England and the continuation of some of the characters from my first novel. I wanted to publish them also. Even though, I hadn’t had a great deal of success with my first book, I was willing to try again. Since self-publishing that first book, I had joined Romance Writers of America and had also joined a local chapter. Through this group, I learned a lot more about writing and publishing. I found out about Amazon and Barnes & Noble publishing services. I stumbled across a free-lance editor, and for an excellent price, she would line-edit and format my additional books. Once my manuscripts were ready, I published them with Amazon first. I entered one of them with the KDP Select program and experienced some success. Using their free promotion days, I had thousands of downloads over the five days. These downloads created interest in my other books, and I actually made some money.
This has been an incredible journey and very rewarding. I’ve learned so much through this process, and I highly recommend this to other struggling authors. While I haven’t made a ton of money, I have gained confidence in my writing from the many wonderful comments I’ve received from my readers. Of course, there have been some who didn’t enjoy my books, but that’s okay. It’s all a learning process and with each comment, I’ve learned more about writing.
My first novel with Secret Cravings Publishing was released on January 3, 2014. Since it is an erotic historical romance, I chose the pen name V.L. Edwards for it.
I want to thank Christina Cole for asking me to participate on her blog today. I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse at my journey to publication. Good luck and happy reading and writing!
Vikki, here’s wishing you much success with To Live Again!
Vikki lives in the beautiful foothills of the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with her beloved husband, Jim, who is the most tolerant man in the world to put up with her when she’s in a writing frenzy. When she’s not writing or working her day job, you’ll find her curled up in a comfortable chair with her Kindle in hand, lost in a good book.
Her erotic historical, To Live Again, is now the #2 best-seller in the “Historical” category at Secret Cravings Publishing. It is available at the publisher’s website, as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other on-line book-sellers.
Readers can visit Vikki at her website: Vikki Vaught