Three Men and a Manuscript
Posted on 1 June 2012 by Lynn Rodolico

Two months ago I finished writing a new novel, and instead of filing it away as I have with all the others I have written since I moved to Italy, I sent it to my old literary agent in NYC who had helped publish my first four novels. Somehow I had hoped that she had become less commercially orientated over the years, more literary, as I had.

When she declared Two Seas wasn’t commercial enough to publish, I slid it into a drawer where it would have stayed with the rest of my unpublished manuscripts, if my eldest daughter hadn’t pulled it out.

“You have to publish it—it’s fantastic.”

Immodestly, I thought it was pretty great myself.

“Publish it yourself,” my daughter said.

Which brings me to the first of the three men who have nutured my manuscript—Aaron Shepard, who wrote a book called Aiming At Amazon, which reveals in detail everything one needs to know to self publish. I read the book carefully, then insisted my husband read it—no small feat as my husband is Italian and reading in English is a labor of love.

When he had finished reading Aaron’s book, he offered to start a publishing company. I would be his first author. He is the second man who adopted my manuscript.

In the first month Two Seas was available on line, I made the majority of sales: copies bought for friends and relatives. Otherwise, my baby just sat on the doorstep. A little desperate, I looked on line for ebook marketing techniques and found John Locke’s book, How I Sold a Million copies in Five months.

John Locke is not the kind of author I usually read. He writes fast-paced, plot orientated books; he admits his impatience with description and introspection, which are my specialities: the turn of a phrase and the development of a character. Stylistic differences notwithstanding, overnight I have become a devoted fan of John Locke.

I have picked up many good marketing suggestions from How I Sold a Million Copies in Five Months, but the greatest piece of advice John has given me, the one I will keep close to my heart for as long as I write, as long as I have readers, is that when someone doesn’t like my book, it doesn’t mean the book “sucks”—as he puts it; only that I have found a reader outside my target audience. Thanks to John, I am no longer afraid to receive a negative review.

It isn’t really fair to sandwich my husband between these two other men, however grateful I am to them for their timely advice. Offering to publish Two Seas, and re-issuing two of my earlier novels, Heart & Soul and Intimates, was just one of innumerable gifts my husband has given me in the more than twenty five years I have known him. On the other hand, he is married to me, and for better or worse, he has taught me that I can count on his love and devotion. These other two men have never even met me—but they have given of themselves, as generously and warm-heartedly, as if we were real friends.

My books may not sell a million copies the way Aaron and John’s books have, but these three men rescued my manuscript from the doorstep of obscurity and made it available to you. How can I be anything but grateful?