“Joy, I tried to email you from your blog, not sure if you got it. Thanks so much for liking it. Reviewing it, all that you’ve said about it.
Honestly, I just can’t believe the response and flurry around this book. The story is bigger than me, and the girls it has moved so far–ones with a similar story, ones that have told me their stories–have all but broken my heart with what they’ve shared!
Plus the reviews like yours have made it difficult to breathe with the gratitude and amazement floating through my lungs.
I’m truly humbled by your kind review and just know that you made my day. My year. My whole everything. Most of the other reviews save a few, were from family, and people’s kids who I knew. I thought they were all just being really nice.
With this book, everything went wrong. Even the launch went live with a round of edits wiped out of the final XHTML file! I threw out my back on Superbowl Sunday (and the 40 hours after that, going back to page ONE on a mad, loner-re-edit.) Every single hour I had the urge to hit the ‘unpublish’ button, give up and finally admit the universe didn’t want me to be a writer. I made it all the way to the gate with this book, and a few real-live editors and agents told me they liked it, but didn’t want to publish a ‘rape’ book or had ‘no home for a book like mine’.
It wasn’t until my sweet cousin showed up last summer at a family wedding, completely changed in spirit and unable to walk because of broken ribs that I realized this story didn’t belong to me. When this beautiful, independent girl told me she couldn’t stop looking over her shoulder no matter how hard she tried.
When I told her about the 3 years of Almost, the rejection letters (so many), plus the PTSD research sitting under my bed (including the entire book also written in 3rd person) she cried, and told me I had to publish it myself. She said I was the only one she’d spoken to that made her feel understood. That there was nothing out there about being ‘almost’ raped. And during the whole wedding (Italian wedding) the entire loud family kept coming up to her and saying how ‘lucky she was’. When I showed her the pages with the ‘lucky’ stuff in there, she and I both cried (did I mention the Italian part?) and she took the book home on her laptop and urged me to not give up.
So I went for it, got an LLC, tried to ‘be a publisher’ on top of being a ‘writer’ and in a few short months seemed to have messed that all up like a pro, including our botched cover art. It looked like, on Feb. 4th, with the bad launch plus messed up file, that I sucked at the publishing thing even more than I did at the writing thing.
Lowest point was bawling like a baby after two days of no sleep, and singing the song, ‘All By Myself’ alone in the kitchen while sniffling whiniy things like, ‘they call this self publishing’ because ‘you’re ALL BY YOURSELF’, and then singing the song all over again, plus a few rounds of ‘ONE is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do’ while chugging extreme amounts of coffee so I could finish the edits. Because my cousin wanted it published, it was going to do it no matter what. And to spite that wicked, tempting ‘easy unpublish’ button Amazon kept showing me.
I’ve heard there are a few missing words and odd typos still in the book. Sigh. Not what I intended. If you know where they are hiding, this dyslexic person would love to fix what irked you. We will try for another full re-edit on the print version and then post the fixed html file live then. But after an amazing 3,500 free downloads!! IKR? The typos seem to be there to stay for many who have it with them. SO AMAZING that it’s out there like that. I’m not at all in this for any money, that’s for sure. Just want the story to be with any who needs it.
Anyhow, you really touched my heart with that beautifully written review, the time you spent, and the energy you gave it. (Maybe you should have a few books, or do you? If so I’d love to read them as you are quite a bit better than I am with turning a phrase.)
Either way, I hope you’ll accept my too long email of thanks…and yeah, I’ll totally take a bullet for you if needed… (It’s the Italian way. If this were medieval times, I think this is where I’d pledge to follow you on crusade and guard your life etc. etc. etc.) so let me know on that, and again, JUST THANKS…Annie”