Friday Feature: Courage to Hope

Before my novella, Angelica’s Christmas Wish, was published in 2019, I independently published a series called Legacy of Courage. The idea for the books came to me in 2003. I did indepth research into the history of our country. I chose to set the book in the southern part of Indiana in a little fictional town. The story begins in 1857, and continues on through several books.

I first sold the Courage books in a spiral bound copy that friends and family purchased. I wrote five books and published them, selling less than 50 copies of the series. Each time I wrote a book, readers asked when the next one was coming out. I did some editing over the years to the first book as I learned more about writing style and also correcting errors in research.

Then my husband passed away in 2010. I wrote a sixth book and sold it in the spiral bound print, but I didn’t sell any more copies of the first few books.

In 2012, I decided to independently publish the books in a nice paperback binding. I hired a professional designer to create covers for me. He did some amazing work for me. He also set up the text in the books.

Instead of a working with a publisher, I paid a printing company to print the books and purchased the copies from them directly. In doing so, I retained full rights to my books. The difficulty was marketing them beyond friends, family and local stores. In 2014, I put them on Amazon for Kindle. I didn’t know how to set them up properly, but I kept them up on the Amazon website for a few years.

After I received a contract with Anaiah Press for my Christmas novella, and my full-length novel, I took the Courage series down from Amazon. I had learned a lot about contemporary writing style through the editing process and felt that the Courage books needed a lot of work to make them marketable.

Earlier this year, I took another look at the series, trying to decide whether to rewrite them and find a publisher, or offer them on the market as they were. I have a following of around 300 readers. I asked a question on Facebook: Should I rewrite the books and try to find a publisher, or should I keep them the way they are and continue to self-publish? I didn’t get a lot of responses, but the answers pointed to keeping the books as is and not rewriting them.

A few weeks ago, I literally dreamed up a scene for the next book in the series. I woke up in the night, laughing as I remembered a story that a former Bible study leader told me. His wife had made some yeast rolls that turned out really hard. When they went to a friend’s house later that night, he took one of the rolls out of his pocket and knocked on the door with it.

One of my characters, Seth, the brother to the hero, has lost his way spiritually, but he has his eye on the teacher at the country school his nephew goes to. He’s known her since they were kids, but he’d never paid much attention, preferring to flirt with girls who were not as proper as she is. When she catches his interest, he has to do some convincing before she will give him a chance to court her. He likes to joke around, so I can see him acting out this scene with dinner rolls she bakes to tease her.

With fresh ideas for the series, I’vedecided that I will go forward with marketing them again as they were. I’ve had the interior of the books designed to comply with the proper Kindle format.

You will most likely find typos and other errors while reading the books. You may not agree with the historical research. I’d like to think I could make them perfect, but I don’t think that’s possible. For now, I’ve done the best I could in catching errors. I think you’ll be able to look past some of the imperfections and see that the characters and the story are as heartwarming as my traditionally published books.

The first two books in the Legacy of Courage series are available on Amazon in the Kindle version now. I’m hoping by the end of the year I can have them in print form.

Buy links for Kindle versions:

Published by Carol Underhill

Author of Christian romance. Mom to 3 adult children and a spoiled Lab. Household includes several rescued cats. Loves flavored coffees and quiet mornings. Likes finding new authors on Kindle and binge reading all their books.

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