Tuesday, June 03, 2008

SPECIAL GUEST AUTHOR: BOOMER CHICK PHYLLIS ZIMBLER MILLER

I have a special boomer chick guest today! Phyllis Zimbler Miller is one of my clients at Pump Up Your Book Promotion and I asked her if she would write something special for my Boomer Chick blog today to help promote her virtual book tour this month. She loved the idea because "although I'm the co-author of a nonfiction published book, this is my first novel and I actually self-published because, as my 60th birthday approached, I said, 'heck with waiting for others to say yes to me. I'm too old to wait around.'

I am finding that the older one gets, the more one starts thinking about the time issue and it's not any different for boomer chicks who need to get their books out there before they deem themselves 'too late.' Phyllis would like to tell you how it's thanks to being a boomer chick that she even got her book published in the first place. Take it away, Phyllis...

It’s thanks to my being a boomer chick that my book MRS. LIEUTENANT: A SHARON GOLD NOVEL is now available through Amazon. The s
tory of how this happened may encourage some of you reading this guest blog to get off your fanny and follow your own dream:

Thirty-eight years ago in May 1970 I became a new Mrs. Lieutenant – the wife of a second lieutenant on active duty in the U.S. Army – when I went with my husband to Ft. Knox , Kentucky , for him to attend Armor Officers Basic.

As most of you will remember, this was the time of the Vietnam War and, days before on May 4, the Ohio National Guard had shot and killed four Kent State University students during an anti-Vietnam War protest. Four days earlier, on April 30th, Nixon had announced an incursion into Vietnam ’s neighbor Cambodia .

As a newly married Jewish woman from outside Chicago , the world of the army was alien to me. Yet, due to the times as well as the specific women I met during the nine weeks of Armor Officers Basic, I had a very unique experience.

Almost 20 years ago I told the story of this unique experience to two female producers, and they optioned the story for a possible film. They took the story “around town” ( Hollywood ), and then came back to me and said: “People don’t get the story. You’ll have to write the book first.” By the time I had written the first draft of the book, the two producers had moved on to other projects.

Thus began years of rewriting and rewriting, learning to be a novelist instead of a journalist. Because, of course, this story had to be fictionalized to both add dramatic structure as well as protect identities.

And all through these last 20 years, women who read a version of the manuscript liked the story, while agents and editors at publishing houses said “no way.” One editor said that the story was no longer relevant because there was no longer any racial prejudice in the U.S. Another editor rejected the manuscript sight unseen because she said the women couldn’t meet through their husbands – they would have to meet at their mutual place of work, such as a law firm.

And a successful literary agent who had been the wife of an officer liked the manuscript but said: “I won’t be able to convince editors in New York to buy the project.”

My friend Loretta Savery has believed in this book for many years. One day this past December she forwarded an email from an acquaintance: “I’m tired of waiting for people to say yes to my novel. I’m publishing my book through a print-on-demand (POD) publisher.”

Now I knew what POD meant because my business partner Susan Chodakiewitz had been bugging me for the last few months to do this. And at that moment I had an epiphany – I said to myself: “I’m going to be 60 in March. Heck, I’m not waiting any longer for someone to say yes.”

And I also knew no matter what I’d have to do the marketing myself because that’s what Rabbi Karen L. Fox and I had to do in 1992 when Perigee published our Jewish holiday book SEASONS FOR CELEBRATION. Thus days later I was off and running, choosing BookSurge – Amazon’s print-on-demand unit.

And then, totally unrelated, a month later MRS. LIEUTENANT was a semi-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Through another one of those aha moments, I realized something about AmazonConnect – the ability for authors to have a blog on Amazon. And I was now off and running even faster, reading book after book about online marketing and online book promotion.

Fast forward to Sunday, April 13, when my husband and I were invited to dinner at the home of a friend. I had only given the final approval to the book on Thursday, April 10, although everyone had been bugging me to say yes and not worry if there were still one typo.

At 6:30 p.m. on April 13 when my friend opened her house door, I was greeted with a cry of “Surprise – Happy Birthday!” Even though I had a small suspicion (my younger daughter Yael that morning in yoga had uncharacteristically urged me to shave my legs), I was overwhelmed. My sister and my 83-year-old mother had flown in from Chicago , close army friends from when we were stationed in Munich were there from Phoenix , a dear friend drove in from Palm Springs , and there were so many LA people!

And the most surprising “guest” of all – 40 COPIES OF MRS. LIEUTENANT! Where did they come from? Turns out my older daughter Rachel, who produced this party, had been in cahoots with BookSurge. (My BookSurge publishing rep had told me that the presses were down as an explanation of why I didn’t yet even have the newest proof of the book.)

Anyway, I’m a pretty happy camper at the moment even though I’m now running even faster doing book promotion. Of course, I’m lucky that BookSurge recommended Pump Up Your Book Promotion for a virtual book tour. Working with Dorothy has been a delight! And, again, I’m so thrilled to be a guest blogger on Boomer Chick because MRS. LIEUTENANT is about us boomer chicks. Long may we prosper!

The moral of my story: If you’re waiting for someone to say yes to you for whatever it is, at this age look around and see if, instead, you can say yes to yourself!

P.S. To stroll down memory lane, check out original 1970 army documents on my website at www.mrslieutenant.com.

Editor's Note: Phyllis is on a virtual book tour with her book, MRS. LIEUTENANT. As part of her promotional campaign with us at Pump Up Your Book Promotion, we are giving away special prizes if you leave a comment on her tour stops. If you are a published author, you can win a FREE virtual book tour. If you are not published, you can win a $20 Amazon Gift Certificate. Leave a comment below and you could win one of these great prizes!

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7 comments:

  1. Her story is interesting to me although 1970 was the year that I got OUT of the Army rather than just starting. Congratulations to her for following through on her project. Now to see if it takes her that long to produce a second book!

    Dorothy, thanks for your visits to my blog. I finally did get a post done today on three of the wineries we toured on the RV trip, shortly after you visited the blog, so you need to go back.

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  2. Thanks for your comment about my story. And FYI -- I'm actually halfway done with the second novel. I'm using the same format structure that it took me years to figure out for the first novel.

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  3. Dick, I'm on my way over!

    Phyllis, I am thoroughly enjoying your book. It's hard to squeeze in reading time and that's what's taking so long but what I liked about Mrs. Lieutenant was the fact that it lured me in right from the get go. It still befuddles me why NY turned this book down because the writing is so professional. This is really so different from a few POD books I have read and I hate to even classify it in that category, but POD has really come a long way and I'd be proud of your book, Phyllis, because it is truly terrific...you heard it from me!

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  4. Thanks so much, Dorothy! Your words really mean a lot to me.

    I'm hoping in a couple of months to get back to working on the sequel -- MRS. LIEUTENANT IN EUROPE. And I've got an outline for a third novel in the series, when Sharon Gold returns to civilian life.

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  5. Well I can't wait. If NY says there isn't a market for this, create a market for it. It's time the little guys declared war on the publishing industry!

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  6. Congratulations! And yes, for all the most important events in our lives, we MUST shave our legs!

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  7. Oh, oh, my age is definitely showing. I just posted an answer to Sophie on her own blog instead of here. Rather than repeat, here's the link to that blog and comments:
    https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=3717790273617681922&postID=7676725950044248131

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