It’s here! It’s finally here.
Like most novels, its journey to publication was long and had some pitfalls. Seeing it live in the e-stores is gratifying.
But this one is just a little more special. It’s not the story — although I’m really proud of that. It’s not the themes or the characters or the writing. Having just reread it to proof it for publication, I’m very pleased with all those things. This one turned out very well.
But Little Red Riding Hoodie makes me a little prouder than some of the other books I’ve penned, because in a way, it is where my publishing journey began.
Back in 2003, I conceived a fantasy novel I titled Little Girl Lost about a 12-year-old who was living in an abusive household and got a magic ring that would grant her wishes. I wrote the book, had several friends read it, made changes they suggested, and then started researching how to publish it.
I subscribed to Writer’s Digest. I bought a book on how to write effective query letters. I researched how to format your manuscript. I searched for agents who represented this kind of fiction.
And then I started submitting. I got several rejections. I attended writers’ conferences, pitched agents in person, got their permission to send them my manuscript.
But all I got were form rejection letters.
I put the book aside and started writing another. I couldn’t understand what was wrong with Little Girl Lost, but I knew something was.
Over the next few years, I looked at it again several times. I tried to make changes. I began new iterations at least three times. I even examined it about a year-and-a-half ago. As an indie author, I thought it was time to clean it up and get it out there.
But I just couldn’t figure out how to make it work.
And then my stepdaughter and I were driving somewhere, and she used the phrase, “Little Red Riding Hoodie.” I chuckled at the cleverness of that title. I said I would have to use that as the title for my next modern fairy tale.
And then I suddenly realized I already had the book. I just needed to rewrite it. LGL already had the Big Bad Wolf imagery. Putting my protagonist in a red, hooded sweatshirt given to her by her grandmother was an easy adjustment. I put Little Red Riding Hoodie: A Modern Fairy Tale on my plans for 2015.
Then Amazon announced the Kindle Scout program. Fantasy was one of the categories they would consider. But you needed a ready-to-go, never-before-published novel. LRRH was the only thing I had that came close.
I didn’t realize at the time that Kindle Scout would be an ongoing thing. I thought it was limited-time. So I pulled out the most recent version of Little Girl Lost, made some notes, and started working like a man possessed. I averaged 5000 words a day of writing or rewriting. The first draft was done in two weeks. Each subsequent draft took a week.
I had an extremely successful Kindle Scout campaign, but the book wasn’t chosen. So today, I’m releasing it myself.
I published my first novel, State of Grace, in 2011. But three-and-a-half years later, I’m finally releasing the novel that started my authorial journey twelve years before.
So I’m just a little prouder about this one.