The Latest On My Novel (An Honest Update)

One of the book cover images taken by Jennifer Bumgarner.

Dear Readers,

I thought that since I had offered updates prior to the book’s publication, and you were kind enough to follow along, it was only right that I share what’s happened since the book’s publication. I try to stay positive about it, and continue to try new avenues to spread the word.

What I’ve learned?

It ain’t easy being a self-published, independent author.

It’s been two months since “Beneath the Mimosa Tree” launched. Here’s what I can tell you about the challenges and rewards of self-publishing:

The Big Challenge: Marketing & Spreading the Word—Being an independent author isn’t easy. I’m not backed by a publisher (though sometimes that doesn’t guarantee book sales, either), and that was my choice.  I chose to “go it alone” without even attempting to solicit an agent or publisher. Therefore, I don’t have a Twitter following of 20,000 people like some other independent authors have, and The New York Times Bestseller list hasn’t called begging me for a copy (not yet, anyway-LOL), so marketing it isn’t too easy.

To be perfectly honest, it’s been my Facebook friends, friends, and students who have helped me spread the word the best. When they post a link to my book on their Facebook page and personally recommend it, I see a rise in sales. This has been most helpful, and I’ve continued to thank them for it.

I continue to try to find ways to promote it. My hometown newspaper, The Severna Park Voice, along with The Pasadena Voice, have covered it, and I’m trying to get a little press in the Annapolis papers, as well. Yesterday, I was interviewed by a woman at Howard Magazine for the upcoming September issue, which may coincide nicely with the fact that I’ll have an author table at The Baltimore Book Festival  at the end of September.

When I start to get a little discouraged, I channel Anne Lamott saying, “Take it bird by bird, buddy. Bird by bird.”

The Rewards?

First: When someone emails me, calls me, sends me a note or a FB messages that says they, or someone they know, has read it and enjoyed, I get tremendous pleasure and satisfaction from that.

Second: Just knowing I completed a project I started is the reward.


I’ve entered two contests, and the results of those contests will be announced within the month. Who knows what my chances are of placing, but I’ve sure got my fingers crossed.

The one contest reviewer for READERS FAVORITE gave “Beneath the Mimosa Tree” a 5-Star Review. To see it, click to see the web page.  I’ve also pasted the review below.

Thanks so much for allowing me to update you. I’m sure there will be more to follow.


Reviewed by Alice D. for Readers Favorite

Annabelle Marco and Michael Contelli have been next door neighbors in Annapolis, Maryland, since they both were five years old. In their senior year of high school under the mimosa tree in Michael’s back yard, they realized their attraction to each other. By the end of their college years, Annabelle and Michael are ready to marry. And, oh, aren’t their parents excited about this! However, Annabelle deserts Michael on the eve of their Caribbean wedding as she feels the pushiness of her parents and Michael’s. Both sets of parents obviously are furious with Annabelle, and Michael goes off to London alone and stays there for ten years, marrying the wrong girl for a short and dismal time. Now he is coming back to Annapolis and Annabelle has just ended a disastrous affair with an alcoholic. Will Annabelle be able to apologize to Michael for what she did ten years before and will he accept her apology and be able to love her as he once did?

“Beneath the Mimosa Tree” is a lovely, well-written and well-edited story of childhood sweethearts. Annabelle and Michael, their parents, Annabelle’s grandmother Vivi and all their supportive friends in the United States and London are totally believable. The special charm of this story is that Annabelle and Michael have much to overcome and take their time doing so. They don’t just make up and jump right into bed together. The story’s true-to-life plot flows smoothly to the book’s conclusion and “Beneath the Mimosa Tree” is a story to read and cherish.


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