Wednesday, May 25, 2011

First Book Stories: Shannon Mawhiney and The Death of Torberta Turchin

Today's first book story comes to us from Shannon Mawhiney. When I began pursing my dream of being a published author, I quickly learned the stigma that followed authors who opted to self-publish. Fast forward seven years and that stigma has all but disappeared. Shannon shares her journey to publish The Death of Torberta Turchin. I hope you enjoy it.

I just self-published my first novel, The Death of Torberta Turchin, in March of this year. The idea started out as something mostly unrelated to what it became (which is good, because a story about a seven-part demigod probably wouldn’t have been as appealing to write, let alone to read). Torby is a normal girl in most respects, if subconsciously quirky, and I like her much better that way. I’m sure I don’t remember all of the different transformations the story took over the last five years, but I know it went through a lot: from mythical septuplets, to psychic kids in a dystopic future, to a girl losing her grandmother and baby brother, to a girl who hears voices and attends a boarding school for the mentally ill. I don’t know if that’s normal or if most writers usually sit down and write the story they originally imagined. But I do hope that the sequels to Torberta don’t take nearly as long to write.

When I first felt that I had “finished” Torberta, I tried to find an agent and met only rejections. So I re-edited, over the period of at least a year, and tried again. But again, I only received rejections. At that point, I somewhat gave up on the book and set it aside. In the meantime I went to grad school and got married. And then I came across an article online about how easy it was to publish on Kindle. I decided I was tired of having a finished manuscript sitting on my computer, collecting virtual dust. So why not? I published on Kindle, then discovered how easy it was to publish through CreateSpace and went through that process too, so that I could have the book in print. And I have to admit, having something to hold in my hand was really cool. Marketing is tough, but I’m trudging my way through it and learning a lot. And so far I’ve really enjoyed the process. 

Shannon Mawhiney is the author of The Death of Torberta Turchin. After growing up all over the Midwest, she currently lives in Missouri with her husband Matt and kitten Punkie. She has a B.A. in Anthropology from Missouri State University and a M.A. in Library Science from the University of Missouri. She enjoys being entertained, whether by books, movies, games, crocheting, or geocaching.

Visit Shannon online at

I would also like to ask our readers a question:

Have you considered self-publishing your book? Did you end up going that route? Why or why not? If you were hesitant in the past about self-publishing, has your perception changed any over the past 3 years?


Cheryl said...

I'm going to go ahead and answer my own questions to get us started. In the beginning, I never considered self-publishing, mainly because of all the dreadful things people were saying about self-published books.

Right now, I am looking at another two years or more before my next picture book could come to market via the traditional route, and I don't want to wait that long. Self-publishing is becoming an option I am seriously considering.

Hope to get more input from others.



4RV Publishing said...

I've tried self-publishing, and books that are have problems getting into bookstores and having major reviews. I'm not going that route again.

I do have a publishing company, but any of my submissions must go through acquisitions anonymously as does all other submissions. Some are accepted, but one has been rejected. Our acquisition editors are good, and they are honest.


Karen Cioffi said...

I self-published my first book, Day's End Lullaby (a children's bedtime story) in 2008. Since then self-publishing has taken on new esteem, but isn't quite the same as traditional publishing ... not yet anyway.

My 2nd children's book is being published traditionally.

I do self-publish nonfiction ebooks though.