Saturday, May 7, 2011

First Book Stories: Bartlett's Rule by Chelle Cordero

Today's First Book Story is from Chelle Cordero. I recently learned of her work when I interviewed her for my book blog, The Book Connection. You can read our interview hereHyphema sounds amazing. I hope you enjoy  Chelle's story.

The first book I saw published wasn’t really the first.

I signed with a POD publishing company for Courage of the Heart. At the time a writer had to be accepted and basic publishing didn’t cost anything. By the time the book actually was available, the publisher had turned into a self-publishing outfit. While they didn’t charge me anything, they also didn’t do anything to help me promote or market the book, the cover was more than bland, and the retail cost was high and increased at least twice in a short period of time. I think I sold 20 copies.

Several years later I connected with a traditional small press publisher and sent my manuscript for Bartlett’s Rule. Kimberlee Williams of Vanilla Heart Publishing accepted me almost immediately. I remember being so excited when I received her email that I couldn’t even speak – I literally dragged my husband into my office to read it and share the news! I downloaded the contract, had a legal advisor read it through, and signed it. Woo-hoo, I was flying.

Bartlett’s Rule went into production and was available in print within just a few months. Kimberlee promoted it online, sent packets to libraries and book stores, and explained a lot about what I needed to know to help my own promotional efforts. While my books aren’t necessarily stocked on the store shelves, they are warehoused by some of the bigger chain stores and they are available through major online retailers. With Kimberlee’s guidance I found a few stores that hosted me for book-signings.

A few manuscripts later and Kimberlee spoke to me about re-publishing Courage of the Heart (the rights were mine under the previous contract) with a new attractive cover and better promo – this time more than 20 copies were PRE-purchased! Kimberlee started publishing each book in ebook formats as well and as we have read in the latest industry news, those sales are doing very well.

With my latest story Hyphema, I have nine novels on the market (Hyphema is only out there as an ebook right now, the print copy will be coming in July). Each time I see a book cover with my name on it, I swell just a little bit, that’s a feeling that doesn’t get old.

I’m amused when acquaintances ask me how my book is doing, and I reply “which one?” They seem surprised when I tell them I have nine novels and one writing instruction book. I think to them I am just an everyday person and only “famous people” get published, LOL. My uncle has a collection of my books and loves to boast, “yeah, my niece wrote all of those.”

I am a full time freelance writer and have had many articles published in newspapers and magazines, but I always wanted to grow up and become a novelist. While my fiction writing isn’t making me independently wealthy YET (I am very optimistic), I feel that I have achieved my dreams. I write because I can, that’s just me.

Chelle Cordero, is the author of seven romantic suspense novels, two murder mysteries, and one writing guide all published with Vanilla Heart Publishing; she also has short stories in five anthologies (published by VHP and Mandimam Press). She also writes for several national newspapers, magazines and regional publications; her articles have appeared in Gannett Newspapers, SPOTLIGHT Magazine, Hudson Valley Magazine, and EMSResponder.

Ms. Cordero has conducted several writing workshops and authors the Amazon Kindle blog Living, Breathing, Writing (available by subscription). She also does book and project editing in her “spare” time.

Along with her husband Mark, Chelle is a partner in By-Lines, an editorial and photography company catering to the business community. They live in the scenic Hudson Valley of New York with their son; her daughter and son-in-law live nearby. She is also a NYS EMT and the entire family volunteers with their local ambulance corps.

Chelle Cordero's website is and she blogs at

Chelle has a media room for publicists at

Visit us again on Monday when our special guest will be Nancy Stewart, author of the bestselling children's picture book., One Pelican at a Time.


Chelle Cordero said...

Thanks so much for the opportunity to share my First Book story.

Pat McDermott said...

A few stops and starts don't seem to have slowed you down a bit, Chelle. Good for you for persevering in your quest for publication.

Chelle Cordero said...

Thanks Pat! Sometimes it seems to be frantic and sometimes I worry there isn't enough movement. I love being a writer and especially published and knowing that people read my words.

Managing Editor, Vanilla Heart Publishing said...

Imagine how thrilled Vanilla Heart Publishing is to have you, Chelle! :) Kimberlee

Deb Hockenberry said...

Hi Chelle,
You're story is such an inspiration for me to keep trying!

Anne K. Albert said...

Wonderful interview, Chelle. I love hearing stories about our incredible Kimberlee! I did exactly the same thing when she emailed me about my debut book. I just sat there and grinned until my face hurt!

Chelle Cordero said...

Hi Kimberlee, let's just say it is a mutual admiration. Thank you for all you do.

Hi Deb, I truly believe "Never give up, always keep writing." Not everyone wants to or can (discipline & tenaciousness) write, but for those who want to, don't let anything stop you.

Hi Anne, LOL, Mark said it was one of the few times I wasn't talking!

Thanks all for stopping by.


Sun Singer said...

I'm glad we share the same publisher, for it's been nice to have a home for my books as well as getting a first look at the work of other great authors. "Hypehma" is open in another window right now on my PC and I'm enjoing it a lot.


P.S. See you on Malcolm's Round Table on May 8th.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

A great story. Like you mention, it just shows you should never give up. Nine books is awesome. Best of luck to you.

Chelle Cordero said...

Thank you so much Beverly