Books & A Laptop

Since I’d decided to write about reincarnation, what prior life would my heroine experience?

The practice of child labor in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries really intrigues me, so that’s what I began researching first. But since my protagonist was going to be a middle-aged woman, I didn’t find a “prior life” that seemed like the right fit. I kept searching.

I also thought it would be fun to write about Dallas, my own city, so I researched what it was like in that era. I discovered The Virginia K. Johnson Home and Training School, a real Dallas institution…

Light-bulb With Six Connected Thought Bubbles

In August 2011, it was finally time for me to start another project. Another novel. I wanted to write about something totally new. It’s fun and exhilarating to think of a new story idea! I knew I wanted to write something that would especially appeal to women in midlife — my own age group. But what story?

I love to brainstorm, sometimes throwing the craziest ideas onto the page to see where they take me. I wanted my protagonist to experience situations totally out of her comfort zone, and I love the notions of time travel and reincarnation. So…


In my freelance career — pitching articles and essays to various publications — I have discovered that some writers and editors don’t really want to hear, see or discuss the “F Word” — Failure. It connotes dissatisfaction, lack of hope, lack of persistence, goals not being met, and might be the precursor to a whiny diatribe about why one can’t succeed.

But I think we need to discuss failure. It happens to all of us. It’s happened to me more times than I can count: not yet securing an agent, not yet securing publication by a traditional publisher (or an…

Woman Leaning Over Laptop With Hands Over Face

I decided it was finally time to let Harvey Dunne go. There comes a point when you realize you can do no more with your current project (although it feels very cold to refer to Is Harvey Dunne? as a project when he occupied about ten years of my life), so you begin a new one.

I have five kids, ranging in age from 34 to 16, and also have 15 grandkids. We’ve been through almost every situation you can imagine, and some you’ve hopefully never thought of. My husband suggested I write about our family experiences, for the other…

Cartoon pic of old-fashioned film projector

As my last major effort at marketing Is Harvey Dunne?, I decided to make a trailer for YouTube. Back in December 2009, videos were becoming much more popular. And even though a video trailer for a book probably wouldn’t be as exciting or easy to make as one for a movie (you’ve already got the images from a movie, after all). I would now learn to be a movie maker (or at least a video maker).

Back in 2009, video-making software wasn’t as easy to find or easy to use as it is now. But I was able to find…

Picture of a Kneeling Skeleton Begging

Synonyms for the word BEG:

Seek, Request, Ask, Appeal To, Implore, Beseech, Plead, Entreat.

Another: A writer soliciting whoever they can in whatever manner possible to read their book.

Unfortunately, I was desperate. No one was reading Is Harvey Dunne?, much less buying it. I had tried to send it out into the world, but no one seemed interested. I then decided that desperate times called for desperate (and humiliating) measures.

1) I placed an ad in Publisher’s Weekly, asking for people to “help a grandmother out” and read my book (really embarrassed about this).

2) I sent an email…

OK, so now my book was published. What should I do next? I felt almost like a new mom bringing the baby home for the first time, asking myself “Oh my God! What now?”

I needed someone to read my book. But how did I get it out there?

I bought marketing books: Guerrilla Marketing for Writers and Twitter: Tips, Tricks, and Tweets. I studied and studied hard. I set up a Twitter account and began a furious tweeting campaign.

Picture of the Book Guerrilla Marketing for Writers

I also decided to send letters to organizations I thought might be interested in my book. Because Is Harvey Dunne…

Picture of boy’s eye looking from behind a baseball.

So, to publish a book, the first thing I had to do was choose a service. I didn’t have much money to spend, so I went with a free service. I chose a DIY “bare-bones” publishing service called (which actually closed its doors in December 2012). I wanted my book to be available in print and as an eBook. OK, so that wasn’t so hard (although I had no idea I should have hired an editor to make sure my book was in tip-top shape).

I then needed to create a cover. I contemplated either spending the money on…

Cover of Novel — Is Harvey Dunne? (Boy Looking Out From Behind Baseball)

So, what’s in a name? I’d initially named my novel The Cuckoo’s Cry because my protagonist, Harvey Dunne, felt like he was going crazy, never fitting in. But when it came time to publish, I decided that the name sounded funny when it rolled off the tongue, kind of lame when I said it out loud. When your own novel’s name makes you wince, that’s a good indication that you need a new name.

My Beta reader-critique partner-friend and I started brainstorming. My book was about a kid named Harvey Dunne who grew up in a small Texas town, then…

A Building with the words Let’s Adore and Endure Each Other

After deciding that I would proceed on my own, without an agent, without a publisher, I needed to get my manuscript “out there” for the world to start reading. I needed people to read it, REALLY NEEDED PEOPLE TO READ IT. It was a useless compilation of words of no one ever read it.

I decided to put it on several author websites. One was the eBook site Smashwords (when it was just rolling out, no less). And I also joined an author chat site (where you could also post your work) called (no longer operational). Each of these…

K. L. Romo

K.L. Romo enjoys writing about things on the fringe: teetering dangerously on the edge is much more interesting than standing safely in the middle.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store