Forever My Lady tells the passionate story of Dio, a juvenile delinquent who is sentenced to prison boot camp. Everyone he has ever trusted gives up on him except one special girl who promises to stay by his side. She is the love of his life, Jennifer. Dio promises he will turn his life around for her and she promises she will wait for him. In fact, they plan to marry one day. When Dio is released however, he discovers Jennifer is about to marry someone else.
Forever My Lady was initially published independently, but has since been acquired by Warner Books/Grand Central and has won several awards including, Best New Author Award and the Best Urban Fiction Award.
Jeff, who was once homeless and living in his car, writes passionate stories of those often forgotten and neglected by society. He believes even in the eyes of a gang member, even beneath the soiled clothes of a bag lady or behind the tears of a lonely kid in the back of the class, there lies a common thread that links us all— the universal human story.
I asked Jeff to share with us briefly his experience on publishing his book independently.
Q. What made you decide to take the self-publishing route?
A. Initially I self-published Forever My Lady because I was afraid of rejection and because I wanted total creative control of the book, as well as creative control on how I wanted it marketed.
Q. Did you self-publish independently or through a self-publishing company?
A. I did it completely independently. If I was going to do it, I decided, I was going to do everything on my own terms, so, I created my own publishing company named after my grandparents, www.GumboWriters.com.
Q. What level of marketing did you do to boost book sales?
A. I was very active in marketing my book online through message boards, forums, email blasts, etc. I use the same techniques with authors I consult with through GumboWriters.
Q. Would you recommend this route to unpublished writers? If so, why?
A. Yes, I would. I would also suggest they try the traditional route. If that doesn’t work then certainly, consider doing it independently. Keep in mind however, that if your work is rejected continuously, perhaps you need to take a good look at your writing to see if it’s at the level it needs to be in order to be taken seriously.
Q. Do you consider yourself a successful self-published author?
A. I consider myself an independent author and of course, as you know Warner Books or Grand Central as they are now known, have since acquired the book.
Q. What were the positive/negative aspects of self-publishing?
A. The positive aspects were that I took my destiny into my own hands and because of the lessons I learned, I’m able to help so many more writers now. The negative turned out to be positive because the mistakes I made, I will never make them again.
Q. Do you have any forthcoming novels in the pipeline?
A. Yes, the much-anticipated sequel to Forever My Lady, a historical love story titled Chains and a spiritual love story Falling In Light are in the works.
For more information on Jeff or to get a copy of his book, visit http://www.JeffRivera.com