The Little Book That Could
The Granite Rose climbed to the #8 spot on Amazon's bestseller list. It wasn't 'the bestseller' list, but it was on the romance/historical/ancient world list. I have to tell you, it was a pretty awesome thing for this author. Especially when I get a look from a certain individual or two who said, "that book?"
The Granite Rose is the definition of the little book that could.
I wrote the first really, really bad draft many years ago after having a very vivid dream. I was young, really young and thought it was the novel of novels. I edited, very badly, I polished very badly and I let my mom read it. She of course liked it. She said it reminded her of Louis L'Amour western without the cowboys. Well, I have to tell you this girls heart soared at that statement. I too loved Louis and his books.
To tell you how long ago this was originally written I typed the manuscript on a typewriter. It was electric and it did have one of those self-correcting ribbons. (Younger people will have to Google this! LOL) But it was 300 or so pages long, without cut and paste.
I promptly sent it to Simon & Schuster, yes I was that naive and young. Needless to say it came back unopened. My mother said they were idiots and to send it out again. Undaunted, I sent it to several more publishers. Rejected and crushed I put the manuscript away and went on with college and life. Mom would ask about it here and there, but I shrugged and let it go.
Fast forward a few years. I'd had many magazine articles published, worked in advertising and public relations and I pulled out the typewritten pages and thought, man this really does suck. The story was good, but the mechanic, plotting and grammar were - well bad. No wonder it was rejected.
I reworked the story, and again sent it out into the world only to be rejected. At least this time I got some feedback -- Rome books aren't selling, no one wants a romance without sex, there is too much politics, too much history, not enough romance, too much dialogue. It was the little book that could find no home.
Even when movie blockbusters like Gladiator and HBO's Rome were smashing records, no one wanted the Granite Rose. The biggest reasons: No sex, too much violence, and a heroine that was too strong.
So, again, I put it away.
Shortly after I was accepted by a small publisher for another series, I approached them about this little book. Though skeptical, they agreed to give it a try. With a professional editor it began to shine. It was originally published back in January of 2012 to very lackluster sales. Although I tried to promote it, no one wanted to blog or advertise a little book about two people in ancient Rome. So even trying to promote it was a struggle.
Everyone loved the beautiful cover, reviewers thought it was a great book (4/5 star ratings), but still I couldn't pay someone to promote it.
Then this week a magical thing happened. Someone, some where bought a copy and then someone else, and so on. Amazon priced it at $1.99 (hoping to get rid of it since no one was buying it!) and I hollered at my readers and friends and they went on there and bought a copy and praised it.
The Granite Rose stayed in the top ten for a week. Although I was absolutely stunned and happy it was a rather bittersweet moment. You see, it was the first completed manuscript of mine my mom ever read, and the revised version was also the last one of my works she read before I lost her. How badly I wanted to call and say "mom, mom guess what, you know that little book of mine no one wanted....." I hope somewhere she knows. She's the one who told me those publishers were 'idiots'. Mom's are are good at saying things like that, at least she was.
So, thank you to all who bought a copy, to my publisher Desert Breeze who took a chance, and to my mom, who thought it was a bestseller all along.
May all the Write Words be Yours,