Welcome Bonnie Schroeder!
March 16, 2014
Bonnie Schroeder ‘s first book has been published ! A most special appening (I think!.) I asked Bonnie(1) to come and talk about her experience. Her book, Mending Dreams, is marvelous–and that’s high praise from a diehard mystery lover! Not only is her novel well written, but her protagonist is wonderfully drawn, and yes, I was rooting for Susan all the way! Here’s Bonnie…
On September 30, 2013 my life changed forever, but in a very good way. That was the day I got an email from Champlain Avenue Books, telling me that they wanted to publish my novel Mending Dreams.
For a few minutes I sat in front of the computer, mouth hanging open, trying to figure out if this was some sort of cruel joke. It wasn’t. So I got up, did the happy dance, and started spreading the joyous news. One of my friends, a published writer herself, said “Welcome aboard the Crazy Train. You’re going to love the ride.”
She was right, on all counts. This has been a wild ride! Along the way, I learned a few things that I’d like to share. If you’re already a veteran of the publishing process, these may be old news to you, but my eyes were sure opened by some of the things I encountered.
- Think the work’s been done when you find a publisher? Guess again! Besides their offer letter and book contract, the publisher sent me three pages of requested changes, plus an annotated copy of my manuscript. I had to set aside my pride of authorship and acknowledge that their revisions (in addition to being tactfully phrased) were right-on and would strengthen the manuscript.
- Prepare to be humbled by the errors that slipped past you on your “last” edit. I consider myself a fairly careful proofreader, but when the publisher sent me the next proof of the book, which I had to read to be sure all the changes were made, I was surprised by the number of typos and style lapses I had overlooked. Missing quotation marks, wrong words (“being” instead of “behind”, e.g.), and overuse of words (“just” is one of my pets, I discovered.)
- The day you see your book cover is one of the most amazing days in a writer’s life. It starts to feel real at that point.
- Have your marketing ducks lined up in advance of publication. This one caught me by surprise, because my publisher moved fast. I didn’t even have a website until I got the publishing contract. I’d taken some courses on website development, enough to convince me this was a job for a pro, and I found a good one! But good websites don’t just write themselves. They take time and thought.
I was also clueless about the ins and outs of “social media” marketing. (Some might say I still am.) No Facebook Author Page. No Goodreads Page. No Amazon Author Page. And you know what? Each of those accounts takes time, and—you guessed it—more writing! And I have only scratched the surface.
- The writing community is one of the most generous in the world. This was a happy lesson. I’d sensed it before, but not until this whole publication train got rolling did I truly appreciate the friendship and support of my writing friends. Madeline Gornell started it when she suggested I contact Champlain Avenue Books, which is also her publisher, and she let me use her name: that opened the door.
And of course, long before the book reached its publish-able state, I had the advice and support of some terrific writers who read my work and helped me shape it and revise it and make it stronger. One of my earliest critique groups universally disliked the main character, and that was such a valuable observation. I reworked Susan’s character over and over to soften the edges and let her inner goodness peek out so readers wouldn’t slam the book at Page One because they didn’t care what happened to her.
But the part that really struck me was this: every one of my writer friends, without exception, was happy for me when I got the publishing contract. We had many celebrations, and the smiles and cheers of my friends were genuine. I came from a background in Corporate America, where backstabbing is practically an Olympic sport, so this outpouring of support was an unexpected joy. Even people I didn’t know all that well offered advice and encouragement. We’re all writers, and we’re all in this together, and I am so proud to be a member of this special tribe.
So the journey’s not over yet. I have a lot more promotion work to do, and I hope a lot of books to sign, and when the dust settles a bit I can finally get back to the novel I’d drafted and was beginning to revise when I got the publishing contract for Mending Dreams. With any luck, it will buy me another ticket on the Crazy Train, and I’ll take that ride in a heartbeat.
To me, Bonnie’s happiness “Crazy Train” experience is so exciting! Admittedly, I’m doing a bit of retro-vicarious reliving those special moments. For me, Aberdeen Bay and Andy Zang took a chance–and Bonnie is so right–life changed. And all for the better.
Much success Bonnie!
Susan Krajewski seems to have it all: career, boyfriend, strong social network. She’s even stayed friends with her ex-husband Frank, despite the fact that he left her when he fell in love with another man. Beneath the surface, however, you’ll find a different Susan: a woman masking seriously damaged self esteem and great emotional pain. When Frank is diagnosed with terminal cancer, Susan’s carefully structured world begins to disintegrate. Although she’s convinced herself that she’s no longer in love with Frank, when he and his life partner, Clayton, ask for her help, Susan can’t refuse. She stands by Frank in his final days, juggling his needs with those of her boyfriend Noah, and with the demands of her career. Susan pays a steep price for her loyalty. Caught up in his own family crisis, Noah abandons her. She loses her job. Then Frank dies, and Susan is ambushed by a riptide of grief she can’t control. In the aftermath of Frank’s death, Susan quarrels with her best friend Margaret, who doesn’t offer the kind of sympathy Susan wants. But how could anyone know the depth of Susan’s loss? She’s worked hard at hiding her feelings. As Susan sifts through the wreckage of her life, she wrestles with her fears and emotional scars and comes to accept that she can’t heal without help. She acknowledges all that she’s lost and realizes all that she still has. Along the way, she finds love and support in unexpected places, and as she begins to heal, she comes to understand that, painful as they can sometimes be, it’s her ties to others that make life worth living.