Wow! It has been so long since I’ve posted on New Authors Fellowship. I have so many fond memories of being a regular contributor here. I made so many connections, found so many friends, and was both the giver AND receiver of so much encouragement. So, it’s with great pleasure that I’m back as a guest today.
For those who do not know, I recently released my first full-length novel, Bellanok: The Reluctant Savior. This novel is actually a compilation of a 4-part serial I wrote over the last year and a half. Last week, I got to hold a paperback copy in my hand. The whole of a dream come true, one ten years in the making.
Tidbits About My Journey
Bellanok was the 5th novel I wrote. I started with a contemporary YA novel, and gradually moved into the realm of speculative fiction, finally settling on fantasy (for now).
My agent and I decided self-publishing it as a 4-part serial would be a good way to start building my tribe, which would hopefully make me more appealing to traditional publishers. My goal has always been to be a hybrid author with self-published and traditionally published books.
I have 2 things I’m glad I did and 2 I wish I would have done for this publishing process.
- I am glad I delegated the tasks that were not part of my passion. I hired J.L. Mbewe as my cover artist and Kristen Stieffel as my proofreader/formatter. They were both worth their weight in gold. Yes, I could have saved money by learning to format myself or going with some generic cover–but I wouldn’t have been nearly as happy with the process.
- I am glad I began building my tribe years ago. Seriously, the experts are right when they say to start building your platform now and not to wait until you are contracted or about to publish or whatever. I started networking back in 2010, when I decided that writing was going to eventually be more than just a hobby. I went to writing conferences, joined online groups, volunteered within organizations like ACFW and Realm Makers. I tried to give as much as I got (which may never be totally possible). When it came time to release Bellanok (both as a serial and as a whole novel), I had a bunch of friends ready to jump in with me.
- I wish I would have been more disciplined in my writing time and my deadlines. The 4 parts of Bellanok were supposed to come out about 6 weeks apart, but I kept over-scheduling or letting life get in the way. I had the time, but I kept pushing writing to the back, maybe because I was scared of releasing it, maybe because I worried what people would say. At some point, I realized I had to trust God–and myself–and jump in.
- I wish I would have researched some more on the actual self-publishing process. I might have figured out that CreateSpace is not like Kindle. I can’t press publish and expect the paperback to pop up on Amazon 12 hours later.
And now, here I am today, celebrating the release of Bellanok with all of you.
For my blog tour, I have several fun posts scheduled over the next couple of weeks, from interviews, to character scoops, to posts that make you think. You can follow along on the My Books tab of my website. (There’s also a really awesome book trailer by Amaeris Designs Productions!)
With evil darkening the mountains to the north, the fairy queen, Fauna, must journey from the island realm of Bellanok to the modern world to find the man the Creator appointed to save their kingdom. A man she has been dreaming of her whole life.
Brian is a down-on-his-luck pastor on the verge of giving up on God. He’s tired and frustrated–a failure. No sooner does he make a decision that jeopardizes his career than an unusual blonde woman shows up and tries to convince him he is some kind of savior.
Fauna must open Brian’s eyes to a different reality, and Brian needs to embrace the haven’s secrets. If neither of them succeeds, Bellanok will succumb to evil and the world will lose all trace of innocence.
About the Author:
Whether she’s wielding a fantasy writer’s pen, a freelance editor’s sword, or a social media wand, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer’s world. And her goal is to make it SHINE! She has worked for a variety of groups, including Realm Makers, The Christian PEN, Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, and as an editor for a number of freelance clients. Her first novel, Bellanok, is available on Amazon!
When her head’s not in the publishing world, she is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their three kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all around crafty diva. If she only had the time . . .