Bethany Lopez, author of Ta Ta for Now! discusses her experiences with Self-Publishing

Bethany Lopez was born in Detroit, Michigan, and grew up in Michigan and San Antonio, Texas. She went to High School at Dearborn High, in Dearborn, Michigan, which is where she has set her young adult novel. She is married and has a blended family with five children. She is currently serving in the United States Air Force as a recruiter in South Carolina. She has always loved to read and write and has seen her dream realized by independently publishing her first novel through Amazon with CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing. Ta Ta for Now! is also now available through Smashwords at Barnes and Noble.com, on the Nook and the Sony eReader.

For a chance to win an ebook copy of Ta Ta for Now! please leave a comment and email address. A winner will be chosen August 31st.
I never imagined I would be an Independent Author. To be honest, I never thought I would be an author at all. It is something I always loved to do and dreamed of when I was younger, but it seemed like too big of a dream to ever actually accomplish.
I wrote plenty of poems, short stories, and even a play when I was a kid; usually something in the horror genre that involved killing someone off, but I was always in a hurry to finish the story. I didn’t have the patience to go into detail. I wanted results. As an adult I found Associated Content, and wrote nine articles for them in 2006. If you search my name on the website, you can still view those articles. Again, it was an outlet for my writing and I really enjoyed it, but they were all short articles, nothing that took a lot of time and patience.
Last October, while my husband was on temporary duty in Jordan, I had an idea for a story about a teenage girl starting high school. Her name was Melissa, and she had characteristics of my stepdaughter and me as a teen. I wrote the first few entries (the book is written in journal form), and then showed my eldest two girls. I decided to have Melissa sign off each journal entry with, Ta Ta for Now!, and that became the title of the book.
I started writing almost every night and on weekends when I could. My husband was gone, I had four children at home, and I work full-time as an Air Force Recruiter, so I didn’t always have time, but it became a fun thing for us to do together. I would write and they would read the new entries. I knew that this time it was different. I knew the direction I wanted to go with the characters and the story, but I wasn’t in a rush to get it finished. I liked the way writing made me feel. It brought back memories, some of which I used in the story, and it got a reaction out of my kids. It took about six weeks to complete the first draft and once it was done, I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I sent it to my mother. She read it and edited it, and then I sent it to my sister-in-law. They both thought it was a good story and that I wasn’t crazy for thinking that I could publish it. 
I began querying agents. For the next seven months, I probably sent fifty query letters. I either didn’t receive a reply or I got a canned statement, saying that the agency was not interested at that time. I never received any actual feedback. So I was unsure if there was something wrong with the story or perhaps the query letter. Some of the rejection letters were harder than others. After a while I began to believe I was na├»ve to think I could write a book and actually have it published, but I couldn’t allow myself to believe that was true, so I kept trying.
When I went back home to Michigan for my grandmother’s funeral at the end of May, I heard that my uncle had written a book and it was available for purchase. I asked around to see how he had done it, and when I got back to South Carolina, where we are stationed, I had an email from my aunt, detailing what my uncle had done. He had gone through Amazon and CreateSpace and published the novel himself. That bit of information was all I needed to get started.
The first proof of my book is dated June 4, 2011. Since that day I have researched everything I could on self-publishing and marketing my book. As an Air Force Recruiter, marketing is a part of my daily job, so it was pretty easy of me to think of ways to market my book. I contacted the Base Exchange, to see if I would be able to do a book signing. They is a department store on just about every Air Force base. I was able to book two signings in the local area. From there I looked at chat rooms and eventually came across The First Ten Steps, by M.R. Mathias. I already had a Facebook account, but reading The First Ten Steps made me decide to get a Twitter account.
Once on Twitter, I began networking with other authors and contacting young adult book bloggers to see if they would review my book. I had a couple say no, because they do not review self-published books, and one just said that she didn’t think my book was one that would interest her. To date, I have found about seven YA bloggers, who said they would review my book, and cannot wait to see what they have to say. It is scary, to put something you worked so hard on, into the hands of someone who could potentially not like it, but it’s a chance I’m willing to take.
As for making a money, in the two months since I have published my book I have to admit that I have not yet made a profit. In fact, I’ve spent money to join the Independent Author Network and to participate in the Indie Blow out. I’ve also given books to local libraries and co-workers with teenage daughters. But I didn’t publish my book to make money; I did it to get my novel out there. To, hopefully, connect with teenagers and to give adult women a journey back to their teenage years.
So far I’ve received wonderful feedback from people who have read my book, and that is all the compensation I need. I’ve had women say that this story has made them remember how it felt to be a teenager and have had young girls say that they could relate to the story. To have people say they cared about the characters or that the characters made them laugh is truly gratifying. I’ve even been told that there better be a sequel, because I left my audience wanting to find out what happens next.
Self-publishing has been an exciting and rewarding journey. Asked if I would do it again, my answer is a resounding yes! In fact, I am writing the follow up to Ta Ta for Now!, xoxoxo, which will continue Melissa’s story.
I would like to say thank you to Jeanne, for allowing me to be a guest blogger, I really appreciate the opportunity!
Ta Ta for Now!
Bethany Lopez
Bethany can be found at:
Twitter: @bethanylopez2
Where you can buy Ta Ta for Now!:
Best of luck to you, Bethany and thank you very much for stopping by J

Comments

  1. Kudos to you, Bethany for following your dream to reality. Wishing you success with Ta Ta For Now!

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  2. Thanks for stopping by, Joy :) I always love seeing your comments!

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  3. This sounds good.

    loveofbooks-blog@yahoo.com

    Love of Books

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  4. I'm glad that you didn't give up after sll the rejections, Bethany. I hope that you're able to realize your dream a second time! Best of luck!

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  5. Please enter me in the draw!

    I'm following you on GFC (Darlene), and my email address is darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  6. Christy, Marlena and Darlene, thanks so much for stopping by. Good luck with the contest!

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  7. What a great story; I love that you worked on it with your girls. I am writing something with my granddaughters now and loving every minute of the time together.
    You can do a guest post for me anytime [both of you.]

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  8. Hi Doreen, thank you so much! I'm now following you and will certainly take you up on your offer. You know, it works both ways. If you'd like to guest blog, please let me know. :)

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  9. J.L. and Marlena, thank you so much for your comments. There were a few times that I wondered if I should keep going, but I wanted to prove to myself and my kids, that a little rejection shouldn't stand in your way!
    Christy, thanks for your interest!
    Doreen, it was a lot of fun! My oldest is reading the second installment and is really embracing her role as critic! Good Luck!
    I appreciate your support!

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  10. Finished the book last night..was really good Beth, can't wait for next one. Did a wonderful job. And knowing the places she spoke of made more interesting. Plus coud see you in the pages ;) lol

    Joyce

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  11. Hello my friend Jeanne! Always nice to come back to read your beautiful article. Very understandable , simple and elegant. I wish a excellent weekend for you, with very smiles and peace! Visit me too. Greetings from Rio de Janeiro/Brasil.

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  12. Joyce, I am so glad that you liked it! Nelson, thanks for commenting! I would love to visit Rio some day! Thanks everyone for your support!

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  13. Hua, Bethany, for believing in yourself and following your dream! I appreciate your marketing advice; please know that the virtual door will always be open on Bird's-eye View should you want to do a guest post.

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  14. Michelle, thank you very much! I would love to take you and Doreen up on your offer to do a guest post.

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  15. I would love to read this. It looks so cute!

    browneyedcutie95(at)gmail(dot)com

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