Texas author Dorraine Darden wrote a stunning novel, Jack Rabbit Moon. She had put a lot of work into it, learning the craft, researching the setting and generally preparing to be a published writer. When she could not interest an agent or a publisher in handling the manuscript, her thoughts turned to self-publishing. The resulting product, as well as all aspects of the story, are impressive in the best ways possible.
Consequently, I decided to ask her about her self-publishing experience:
Do you expect your book to be a financial success, or did you self-publish primarily to establish yourself as a fiction writer?
Although self-publishing is not usually a sure or quick route to a financial windfall, one can always, hope, wish and dream. Behind that comes plain hard work. There are many successful self-published authors who have led the way, which gave me the encouragement to try. I’m not sure how it will end up, but the ride has been extraordinary. I did have an established Texas market for Jack Rabbit Moon, which was set in West Texas’ Garner State Park. This has helped regarding sales.
It’s difficult to establish yourself as a fiction writer without having your leg through the door, so yes to both questions.
What are your criteria for considering the book a success?
For me, hearing from readers is the best indicator. When I’m told someone couldn’t put the book down and another missed the characters when they were finished, it is touching on a level beyond monetary success. Many have also inquired rather I’m planning on a series for the novel. Although, I am not, it is splendid knowing I have given them something authentic, well researched and emotionally satisfying. In my mind, that is success.
Did you attempt to interest agent and/or traditional publishing houses in the manuscript?
Yes, to both. And there was interest in the book, but ultimately in each case I was told there was no market for coming of age stories even though the writing was worthy. No market for coming of age stories? I just didn’t buy it. There is nothing new under the sun and that goes for writing. What makes a book entertaining and worth being read is the way the author tells his/her version of the story. The passion in which they relay it. I felt Jack Rabbit Moon delivered, and so I moved forward with it. Writer's Digest believed so too. The novel was an Honorable Mention winner in this year’s Mainstream Fiction category of The Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Book Awards.