Book Release! Won't Let You Go, by Weslie Ashe
So Friday, April 12, 2019, my first "real" romance book launches. It's called Won't Let You Go, and it's the first in my new series, the All Tied Up With String Romance series, which is basically a set of fluff books about couples who are tied together by some kind of string. Won't Let You Go is childhood sweethearts turned steamy adult romance--set in Milan because what a beautiful place to fall in love?--and the string is kite string. The next book in the series--Same Heart String--is healing love in Buenos Aires, and that pair is connected by stringed instruments.
These stories are sweet, sexy, and short, and I'm excited about Won't Let You Go coming out. But I gotta tell you, writing and publishing a book is such hard work! Here is a short and not very inclusive list of the sort of things that go into it:
having an idea for a book
writing the first draft (which will probably look very little like the final book)
rewriting the first draft
revising the rewritten draft
revising again until it's fit for human eyes
editing the manuscript
giving the manuscript to beta readers, critique partners, editors, etc. to tear apart word-by-word and page-by-page
designing a cover
redesigning the cover based on feedback from anyone who will look at it
editing the manuscript yourself again
proof-reading the manuscript
formatting the manuscript for print and epub (takes MUCH longer than you'd think if you're doing it yourself and you're new to this)
setting up a pre-order campaign
finding advance readers, distributing ARC copies to them, and managing that
proof-reading the manuscript yet AGAIN
submitting final files to Amazon KDP
praying for a minimum of two or three typos
going live / actual publication!
This time around, I'm also publishing an audio book, which I am narrating myself, so add to that list above recording your book in your walk-in closet, editing and uploading those files, and then correcting all the random errors you found in the manuscript while recording. (Because guaranteed, you will find new typos when you read it out loud to a microphone. That's just how this goes.)
Won't Let You Go is a short book--about 200 pages--and even still, this book will have taken about five months to create.
I know. Not exactly a profit center, right? And none of your hard work guarantees that anyone will like your book. Actually, I kind of think that the more editions you produce--print, ebook, audio, etc.--the more convinced you become that no one could possibly like your book. Because by the sixth or seventh edit, you start to see things you're sure will drive everyone crazy but that it's a bit too late to change unless you want to start back over from "revise it again." Hopefully your things will be small things, like how you overuse the word "vague" or have this one sentence about desperation that you managed to repeat twice in the book because apparently you just liked it that much.
Or...they could be worse last-minute catches. Like how you only realized after the tenth read-through that you--a self-proclaimed rebellious feminist--made your damned female heroine "petite" and "small" and made your male hero the kind of guy who would way over-focus on that. I mean...what you wanted to convey was a sense that regardless of how much space said heroine took up, she was still an explosion of color inside, and he was attracted to all of it. And yet, when you look back with a critical eye, you feel concerned that you've just promoted an unrealistic vision of female perfection that you will need to cleanse yourself of by reading a whole pile of feminist literature.
(I actually started a feminist book club this month because of this. True story. I love Won't Let You Go, but I don't want all my heroines to be little, petite things, and I definitely don't want them to fall into some normative trap that I should have been able to avoid. But the traps are All. Over. AF. Solution? I need to be surrounded by more feminists so that I have people who can help me become more aware of the things I still do that are obviously driven by the patriarchy, even when I don't see it happening. I mean, feminism is a work in progress, but I'd like to fall on the progressive side of the scales.)
(p.s. Wait, what? Does your book editing NOT involve a critical look at whether you're living up to your own feminist ideals? Seems like a totally normal part of the process to me.)
But anyway, the point is that independently publishing a book is a major production.
Still, for all that work and all those hours spent second-guessing yourself, I think for a writer who enjoys being an entrepreneur (and I am both of those things), it's really pretty cool to see your work finally come together in a published form. And you learn things as you go about yourself, your writing, your creative abilities, and your readers.
All of which is to say: I'm very proud and excited to announce that Won't Let You Go will be available as an ebook on Amazon tomorrow! It will also be available as a paperback very soon (as in, like, Saturday), and I'm hoping the audiobook will be ready for people by next week. Here's the link to the ebook on Amazon if you want to get started on it right away: Won't Let You Go on Amazon.
Happy reading and happy thoughts!