MRS LIEUTENANT: A SHARON GOLD NOVEL has a two-part “story behind the book.” The first part took place 38 years ago when I was a new Mrs. Lieutenant at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, learning how to be a proper army officer’s wife.
The young women who were part of the same experience had secrets even at our young ages of 21 and 22. And they came from backgrounds much different than mine. Plus the unpopular Vietnam War “played” in the background of our experience as we worried about our husbands being sent to fight in that faraway war. I felt this was a story worth telling.
Skip ahead about 18 years to Los Angeles and a meeting of the LA Chapter of Sisters in Crime, which I had founded. I told two female producers the story of my experience as a new Mrs. Lieutenant. They quickly optioned the story’s film rights.
Then they came back to me and said I had to write the book first Hollywood because people didn’t understand the story when it was pitched. I wrote the first draft of the book – but by that time the producers, as often happens in Hollywood, had moved on to their next project.
Then I took classes to learn how to go from being a journalist to a novelist, read book after book bought from Writer’s Digest Books, rewrote and rewrote the story. Friends who read the book really liked it, but everyone said “something is missing.” I hired an editorial consultant who put his finger on the main “something missing” – a clear timeline. And I rewrote again.
Meanwhile I got rejected by agent after agent and publisher after publisher. One New York editor said there was no more prejudice in the U.S. so the book was no longer relevant. Another said that the women couldn’t meet through their husbands. They had to meet through their own job, like at a law firm. (What part of Mrs. Lieutenant did the New York editor not get?)
Then in December of 2007 a friend forwarded to me an email she got about a writer not waiting for someone to say yes to her. This writer was self-publishing. I had an epiphany. That’s it! I said to myself. I’m going to be 60 in March. My business partner has been bugging me to have the book published through a print on demand company. I’m saying yes to myself. And that’s what I did, using Amazon’s POD unit BookSurge.
In the meantime I entered the book in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, and MRS. LIEUTENANT was named a semi-finalist. This gave the book a page on Amazon, and by accident I noticed another author’s AmazonConnect blog. I was off and running on my own quest to learn internet marketing to promote my book.
BookSurge’s marketing guy suggested PumpUpYourBookPromotion.com for a virtual book tour. I said yes to this, too, because I already knew what a virtual book tour was. And here I am today – almost at the end of a very exciting month of guest posts and reviews on several book blogs.
I hope you read MRS. LIEUTENANT: A SHARON GOLD NOVEL. It’s been a long time in coming.
(And check out original 1970 army documents on www.mrslieutenant.com along with book group discussion guidelines, information on organizations that support military families today, and the first four chapters of the novel.)
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the women’s fiction novel, MRS. LIEUTENANT: A SHARON GOLD NOVEL. You can visit her website at www.mrslieutenant.com.