Choices Made: Always is here!
Well, it's been a long road that I've traveled with Jamy, from his street years to Paris, and back to Missouri, and well traveled. We've met lots of friends along the way. Choices Made: Always, the last book of the series, is a bittersweet ending. It's like saying goodbye to an old friend that you will always remember, but won't see on a daily basis.
I started writing Jamy's story, as a very novice writer, in 1994. It took some years and lots of encouragement by friends to finally show someone my work. Once that step was achieved, I began working with Chris DeSmet at UW-Madison, who was a great help to me. About two years after working with Chris, I self-published Choices Made: The Street Years.
Why, you ask, did you self-publish? Well, it comes down to - do I want to write to the 'genre' specified by the most popular sales that book companies know they can readily sell, or do I want to tell my story without being pigeon-holed. I chose the latter.
Self-publishing for me was a massive task as I also didn't want to keep dropping money into a black hole. Some companies will offer to retype, edit, polish, market, print, supply, basically do all, but write your book. Be prepared to open your check book. If you have a calculator, you can see the numbers running into the thousands - yes, thousands. I don't have thousands so I found someone to edit my work (former teacher), formatted the work myself using the publisher's style recommendations, created the PDF, and finally had a document. The next hurdle was the cover art. I had the idea, but didn't know how to execute it. Taking it to a graphic designer only got me a quote for $500, without any changes. Not wanting to afford that, I spent a Christmas holiday painting my first cover. A good friend, Tory, helped me work through it until we were both satisfied with the outcome and I had the cover for The Street Years.
Having the cover art was the beginning. I then had to decide on the placement of the title, font, etc. I worked through a graphics program – self-taught – and did the mock-up for the cover. On to the back cover work, and then I thought I was ready.
The printer also had a website where I could be featured, but there was more work to do. Many hours later, I had my excerpts, 30 word synopsis, 100 word synopsis, biography, and all the other components for their site. That took care of their criteria, but I wanted more. I took a class on website development and by repurposing the work for the printer’s site, I created my website: www.ChoicesMade.com. The site has gone through some changes over time. A few years ago buying via the web became popular so I worked through the PayPal site and created BUY buttons. It was more difficult then, than now, but they worked and I started making a few sales that way.
All these years later, I have 4 books self-published telling Jamy’s story. The Street Years was his beginning as a 15 year old. Fathers and Sons took Jamy from 15 to 18 which followed with Missouri or Misery. Always takes Jamy into his late 20’s. Though all of these, his son JamyNick is also along on the journey and we get to see him grow up under Jamy’s influence and love. Jamy has grown and changed, too. Anger and resentment gave him a hard edge, but The Heart of MacGregor, taught him another path. To join Jamy on his journey, visit my website, buy the book, and sit down for a good read. Lois, one of my readers through these years, has said that she always has to buy the book near her long weekend from work because one she starts, she doesn’t stop reading. Thanks, Lois!
Though I will miss Jamy’s companionship, he will not be forgotten. Daniel is waiting for me to finish his story which was started during the Choices Made series and then set aside, and Grayson wants me to tell his story of his trials and tribulations of living with dyslexia. So I say – ‘Enjoy your life, Jamy’, the other guys are wanting attention.
To purchase Jamy’s story, visit my website: www.ChoicesMade.com