Guest Post: Chelsea Campbell (Harper Madigan: Junior High Private Eye) & Giveaway

Harper Madigan: Junior High Private Eye by Chelsea CampbellChelsea Campbell

Books:

  • The Rise of Renegade X
  • Harper Madigan: Junior High Private Eye

Website | Harper Madigan on Amazon

7th grade detective Harper Madigan works alone. He doesn’t need the vice principal assigning him a new partner to keep him in line, especially a stuffed-shirt wannabe-journalist who totally cramps his style. 

And he especially doesn’t need his troublemaker ex-girlfriend showing up out the blue and asking for his help. She’s accused of attacking the star of the school musical, and with her less-than-sparkling track record, she’s only one suspension away from getting expelled. 

Only Harper believes she’s innocent, and now it’s up to him to prove it, even if it means making an enemy of the PTA mafia, risking his agency, and confronting the mistakes of his own dark past. But when his new partner insists on doing everything by the book, and his old nemesis–the one bully he can’t catch–starts harassing his clients, it’s going to take more than just detective work to solve the case.

Today I have a guest post from author Chelsea Campbell discussing her venture into self publishing!

I always knew I wanted to be a writer, since before I even knew how to read and I had to annoyingly ask my mom how to spell each and every word. I also always knew I wanted to be published, and later, when I got older and started sending out query letters (many years after I’d learned to read on my own), I hungered for The Call, for the sign from agents and editors that my writing was publishable, that it was going to be a real book.

Chelsea CampbellI never thought anything else would be satisfying, and I never, not even for a moment, thought I would self-publish, or that it would be so fulfilling.

Let me backtrack a little and say that I did get The Call. I landed amazing agent Holly Root, and a book deal, and a movie option, and I can hold the real live hardback of The Rise of Renegade X any time I want. Even though it hit the shelves several years ago, I still get fan mail from readers—mostly about whether or not there will be a sequel. (There will! It’s coming—it’s all planned out, scene by scene, and I’m working hard to get the writing done and to get it out by Christmas!)

Despite readers wanting a sequel, and despite me being willing to write one, sales just weren’t high enough for the publisher to be able to buy one. It’s a numbers game, and as much as I’d hoped things would turn around and I’d get the go-ahead for the sequel, it became pretty clear that that was never going to happen. Or, even if it did, it would still take several years for the book to come out. I wrote The Rise of Renegade X back in the summer of 2007. That’s already five years ago! I didn’t want to wait any longer before writing the sequel.

Well, last fall I met another author, Kevin Emerson, who self-published the last book in his Oliver Nocturne series after the publisher decided not to pick it up (and, consequently, leave readers of the six book series hanging). I started to think, “Why couldn’t I do that?” The more I thought about the idea, the more excited I was. There’s an awful lot of freedom in being able to choose which books will be published and when. I got the go-ahead from my agent (who is very supportive of my self-publishing ventures), figured out the premise of the new book, and then a trade deal with the perfect cover artist fell into place.

I started reading as many books about self-publishing as I could get my hands on, and the more I learned about the process and the possibilities, the more I realized I didn’t have to limit my publishing venture to just the Renegade X sequel. Harper Madigan: Junior High Private Eye, my MG noir novel about a rebellious 7th grade detective and his by-the-book partner who have to face off against the PTA Mafia, got a lot of love from editors when it made the submissions rounds. It went to acquisitions several times, but ultimately the editors who fell in love with it couldn’t get enough house support to make an offer.

One of the hard truths of the publishing world is that you might spends months writing an amazing book, your friends and beta readers might love it, your agent might love it, and editors might even go crazy over it. And it still might not be able to jump through all the necessary hoops to make it into the hands of readers. I don’t like taking no for an answer, so I decided I wasn’t just going to let this book go.

I have to admit that even after deciding to go through with publishing Harper Madigan, I still didn’t realize how fulfilling producing this book would be. I looked up freelance editors and chose who I wanted to work with. I searched through hundreds of stock images to find the perfect background for the cover. And I even did the layout for the paperback and the coding for the EPUB myself!

Both being traditionally published and publishing my own book have been amazing learning experiences, but there is something extra satisfying about being in charge of a book’s production and holding the finished copy in your hands knowing you didn’t just write the words inside, but you made it. And holding my paperback POD copy of Harper Madigan: Junior High Private Eye was just as rewarding as holding The Rise of Renegade X for the first time.

And you can bet it felt just as real.

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