PATH TO PUBLICATION
CAROL: Did you try to publish BOUND through “normal” publishers? If so, was there a pattern to your rejections?
VIJAYA I tried the trade route for a couple of years, but got tired of even the good rejections. Many loved the writing and the characters but wanted a different outcome! That was non-negotiable. Early on, one agent sowed the seed for self-publishing. He said the industry was shifting and less open to publishing a book that was counter-cultural. When I was down to small presses, I remembered his words and decided to take all the risk to publish BOUND. It’s been so empowering, I feel a certain lightness. I would definitely recommend this as a path to publication.
CAROL: Can you share some of the ups and downs of self-publishing?
VIJAYA: I prayed about this decision for a year, but once I took the plunge (after another good rejection, lol) it was a whirlwind six weeks trying to learn everything necessary to publish BOUND myself. I still have much to learn, but what joy! I was able to use my contacts in the industry to hire a designer. I loved having the freedom to be true to my characters and have control over the entire process. And the best part is knowing that Rebecca and Joy are taking up residence in others’ hearts and minds as well.
But the most difficult part has been growing my readership. All my other books magically found their way into schools and libraries, but BOUND hasn’t been reviewed by any of the journals that librarians read, so they don’t even know of its existence.
I’m learning that to be successful in this business, one has to be good in three areas: writing, publishing, and marketing. I am good at writing, competent in publishing, but dismal at marketing. So this year, I plan to learn how to advertise more effectively. But at this stage, as a novice novelist, I believe my efforts are best concentrated on writing the stories that will make a difference and trusting that impassioned readers (like you!) recommend it to their circles, and so on and so forth to grow organically. I am grateful for each and every one of my readers. By the way, it will help if your readers request BOUND at their local library!
Vijaya was willing to discuss the choices she made while writing BOUND. Here are two observations I made about the novel and her responses.
CAROL: I thought that Rebecca’s “conversion” from being against abortion to being pro-life was too abrupt. One minute she was taking Joy to the abortion clinic, the next minute she’s totally changed her mind. I actually found their father’s transformation was more gradual and believable.
VIJAYA: I’m glad you brought this up. Rebecca’s transition mirrors mine and it was like scales falling off my eyes. And speaking of mirrors, Jim Bell, talks about the “mirror moment” at the midpoint of a story. This is where a character is at a transition. She can see who she is and who she’s becoming. She must make a choice. It’s a moment of clarity. And in that scene (which ironically has Rebecca looking in a mirror) once Rebecca understands what’s at stake—the life of a child—she’s able to recall the wisdom of her mother’s words. And she does what she has to do without counting the cost. So yes, it feels sudden, yet natural.
CAROL: The only parts that I found “didactic” were Rebecca's college interviews. I thought that Rebecca was long-winded and those could have been either shortened.
VIJAYA: I wrote BOUND for the ICL Book Course and my wonderful instructor, Nancy Butts, warned me about this exact danger. But by the third revision I knew that Rebecca had to articulate her position even if it cost her a seat in medical school.
ONE LAST WORD FROM VIJAYA: Thank you for writing such an in-depth review and your thoughtful questions. I hope your readers feel encouraged to never, ever give up on a story they believe in. God bless all the works of your hands!
Bio: Vijaya Bodach is a scientist-turned-children’s writer, an atheist-turned-Catholic, and most recently, a writer-turned-publisher (Bodach Books). She is the author of over 60 books for children, including TEN EASTER EGGS, and just as many magazine articles, stories, and poems. BOUND is her first novel. To learn more, please visit: https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com/
Leave me a comment if you want to enter to win an autographed copy of BOUND. It's fine if you already entered; I'll put your name in twice. If you are new to my blog, please leave your email address. The winner's name will be drawn on Thursday, February 14. A great book about love--just in time for Valentine's Day.