Thursday, 1 March 2012

From Traditional Publishing to e-Publishing. Author Ann Carbine Best tells us why and how she went indie...

Hello there!

Those of you who have been following me a long time might remember my Publication Party. As an aspiring author I wanted to hear the stories of bloggers who had broken through and found a publisher. Along with my Byronic Hero series, (where we wallowed in Heathcliff, Darcy and Rochester) this was the most popular series I've ever run on my blog (which turns 4 this April!)

Ann Best was one of the authors who'd just been accepted for publication with her memoir, In the Mirror. She told us of her journey to publication and shared her life with us. Ann has always inspired me and I count her as a sister across the oceans, one who I'd love to visit one day. We've remained in close touch and today I bring you Ann again, for an update on her journey and an insight into her most recent projects.

Over to you, Ann!

A small press, WiDo Publishing, accepted my memoir In the Mirror, back in December of 2010. It was a long and interesting process that took place at a time when the publishing industry began going through massive changes. It was a major change in my life in other ways, too. Because I was housebound with my disabled daughter, my only means of marketing was through the Internet, so I had to learn how to blog.

My seventy-year-old brain was stretched to the limit! So much so that I didn’t think I could ever self-publish. However, at my age, I didn’t want to wait years to publish something else; and I knew that a novella would be a tough sell, especially one that didn’t fall in one of the “popular” genres.

But I had a novella in my files, Svetlana Garetova’s story.

I met Svetlana in 1997 when she was a fill-in aide for my disabled daughter. On day one, I told her I was interested in miracles and angel stories for a book I was writing. After showering my daughter, she started telling me how she came to America. Instantly I recognised a dramatically compelling story. I held up my hand -. “Stop! I’ve got to record this,” I got out my tape recorder.

 I spent several days transcribing what she told me into story form. But I never did the miracles and angels book, and so her story sat in my file for years. Then last fall when I got it out, I thought, This is fascinating.

I’m getting older by the minute, and don’t have the years to spare to query publishers, let alone the patience. I’ve always enjoyed a challenge, so I decided to self-publish it, partly to see if I could. I couldn’t do a cover on my own. I absolutely can NOT figure out PhotoShop. So a friend came to my rescue. She offered to do it for free, but I paid her anyway.

This was all I had to pay. From a lifetime of reading and writing, and with my editing and proofreading skills, I knew I could produce an error-free manuscript. I just needed some readers who would tell me if something didn’t make sense.

After they gave me their feedback, I went through the manuscript again and again to make sure everything did make sense, and then I had to figure out how to format it for uploading. It took time, but Mark Coker’s Smashwords guide is designed for dummies like me. Up it went on Smashwords.

However, getting it uploaded to Amazon was another problem. I finally used one of the programs suggested in Amazon’s style guide, Mobi Pocket Creator.

Through a lot of trial and error, it worked! Phew! Mission Impossible became Mission Accomplished!

I think Svetlana would be pleased with the way it turned out.

Brief Synopsis:

When Svetlana Garetova flies with her four-year-old son from Moscow in Russia to Salt Lake City in America for a visit with Jimmy Rafael, she becomes very ill. He nurses her to back to health, but when she recovers, she realizes with horror that she has missed the deadline in Moscow to pay protection money for her businesses. Her distraught mother tells her that she would be safer in America, and when Jimmy says he will marry her, she accepts his proposal even though she barely knows him and has some misgivings. On their wedding night, she discovers who he really is, and that she and her son are almost prisoners in his house. She must find a way to escape, and people to help them.

You can download a sample from the beginning of the book on Amazon. (Link:   This also links to In the Mirror)

You can also read a sample of it on my blog post, a scene that’s from the middle of the book, the most dramatic scene in the story. (link to the post:

 Wasn't it wonderful hearing from Ann today? I wish her every success in her new self-publishing career. I still hope she will write another memoir for us...

  • Would you share your self-publishing story with me?
  • Do you think you'll stick to the traditional route?
  • Do you read many self-pubbed books?



  1. Wow, what a story she had to tell.

    Good luck, Ann. You prove that we're never too old to try new things.

  2.'re an inspiration to us all, Anne. Wishing you the best of sales!

    Great post, Denise ;)


  3. Wow, that sounds like one heck of a story.

    Would it sound short-sighted to say that I haven't really given much thought to publication? I mean, I did at the beginning but now, it never really enters my thoughts.

  4. Ann, I think it's awesome you went down both publishing paths.

  5. This is so inspiring, both Ann's story and Svetlana's.

    It's especially gratifying because even though Ann is from a pre - home computer generation (as am I) she didn't let technology impede her progress.

    Well done, Ann. I'm proud of you.

  6. Thanks, Theresa.

    Elliot: I have YOUR wonderful book South of Charm on my Kindle; I'm anxious to read it, and also wish you great success with it.

    Sarah: Just write. That's the main thing!

    Alex: Hope you're having great success with CassaFire. I've begun reading it, and the writing just flows. You get better and better!

    Maria: So you're close to my age. I'm heading over to see what YOU're doing right now.

    Thanks, Denise, my long-distance sister, for hosting me today.
    Ann Best, Memoir Author of In the Mirror & Imprisoned

  7. Ann, I never tire of hearing your story. Hope you come out with a new story soon. I think you're working on another memoir for sure. How's it coming?

  8. Thanks, Richard, for your support! I'm trying to write another memoir with my friend. It's slow going. She's on vacation right now.

  9. Ann is an inspiration. Thanks for sharing her with us, Denise.

  10. Hi Denise - thanks for letting me comment via the pop up box - making my life bearable when I hit a blog.

    Ann is quite amazing and I'm looking forward to reading Svetlana - and I thought In the Mirror was extremely good - opened my eyes to behind the scenes aspects of life, that I certain hope I never have to deal with ... though I guess I've had my fair share.

    However nothing like Ann - and her strength of mind to come through .. she really has been through the mill of life - she is as Glynis says an inspiration ..

    Great review .. and Ann deserves much joy and happiness in her life - as do you Denise .. so glad you've posted this for us to read ..

    Cheers Hilary

  11. Hello Ann, hello Denise! What a story behind the story! Ann - you are brilliant for having published your stories - learning all the tech stuff etc and just going for it! Well done you!! Take care

  12. Glynis, Hilary, Old Kitty - it's great "seeing" you here. I appreciate all your support!!

  13. Very helpful info on the self-publishing thing Ann! I am thinking about self-publishing my book so I was particularly interested to hear more from you!

  14. Ann, that is wonderful you took that leap of faith and self-published.

  15. I've followed Ann for a couple of years now and her success story is an inspiration.

  16. Heartwarming comments for a heartwarming story. Go Ann! You continue to inspire us. D.

  17. I love hearing of author success stories. Ann, that was an amazing journey, and I was delighted to read it.


  18. Anne, you are an inspiration to the rest of us. Like Alex said, it is amazing that you went down both publishing and self-publishing paths!

    I certainly admire you. Formatting is a headache which is why I am thankful for Wendy Tyler Ryan, she makes my books look good! Until you actually read them! LOL.

    Oh, my free GHOST WRITERS IN THE SKY just hit #4 in Amazon's Top 100 Writing Skills books! I just had to tell both you, Ann, and you, Denise.

    Thanks, Denise, for pointing out FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE at the end of this wonderful interview with Anne. Sam McCord tips his Stetson to you.

    I pray that IMPRISONED breaks free and soars to the skies in sales, Anne! Roland

  19. Great to hear the book has found a good place to be found. I've just self-pubbed my book and am happy with the progress.

    I agree that in self-publishing if there is anything you can do yourself, you do it, but if there is a part you can't do to a professional lever, it's best to let someone who knows what they're doing get it done.
    Wagging Tales

  20. Ann, good for you trying the self publishing route. It's a brave move but it is a move and it means that people will be able to read this amazing story much quicker than if you had waited to traditionally publish it.

    What an incredible life this Russian woman had, to go through such terror!


  21. It's encouraging to find out how easily self-publishing can be done for an ebook. I did self-publish a book through Create Space, (The Fourth Wish, an MG Fantasy),and they were very good about walking me through the process for the print book, and later helping me set it up on Kindle (since both are via Amazon.) But I was interested in Ann's news about using Smashwords, since the product is an e-book that can be read in several venues, not just Kindle. I have written other books that I am trying to market via the traditional route, but who know? Down the road, I may consider going through SW. The trend definitely does seem more and more to be toward e-publishing.

    Meanwhile, books sound gripping, and Ann has an elegant way of giving concise information about something without spoilers.

  22. Ann, You are definitely an inspiration for me. I'm thinking about self-publishing a book of poetry. I may ask your advice. Thanks for this post. Madeline

  23. Ann is an inspiration to all of us, but I don't know if I have the know-how to self-pub. It certainly has become a viable, and even logical, route to go these days, though. The new novella sounds terrific, and I'll definitely order it in my next batch of books for my kindle.

  24. Ah, so many of us are thinking of doing the same thing. Smashwords is a good place to start, I believe, but of course we couldn't live without Amazon as it's most readers' first point of call.


  25. Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Ann!

  26. Hi, Denise, thanks for hosting Ann.

    Hi, Ann, Your journey is inspiring to me. I have a self-publishing idea. We'll see.

    Yes, I read self-published authors all the time. I'm never disappointed.


  27. Oh my! This story sounds so ... intriguing. I loved Ann's In the Mirror and I loved her writing style which just magically flowed.

    I wish Ann all the success! Thanks for sharing your publishing story Ann.

    Thank you Denise!

  28. having been burned by signing with a relatively unknown start-up "publisher", I suspect I'll give the self publishing route a try as soon as I get a larger collection together - and the time to wade through all of the things I'll need to learn!

  29. That does sound like a fascinating story! And congrats to Ann, she definitely sounds like someone who's not afraid to take on challenges!

  30. We can learn so much from Ann's tenacity.


  31. I'm very late to this party, but lift my hat to Ann 'cause I couldn't figure out the Smashword guide. I paid someone to do the formatting. If I'd tried to do it myself, I probably would have lost my mind. Interesting story. Gonna check that out.

  32. Uh oh Joy, and I was relying on that Smashword guide! D.

  33. I absolutely can NOT figure out PhotoShop.
    I certainly understand this! There's no way I would have figured anything out if not for Google. I kept going back there and typing "How to..." And that got me through what I needed to know!

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