Many Winding Roads to Success

I love Canadian success stories!!

It took three years of revisions and rejections by major Canadian publishers before Nino Ricci’s book, Lives of the Saints, was picked up by Cormorant, a small publishing house. The initial print run was only 1,500 copies and many of his readings were sparsely attended. In an interview, Ricci admitted that he had very low expectations for the novel.

While in Winnipeg during that debut year, Ricci had a reading with only six people in attendance. Two of the attendees were authors Sandra Birdsell and Carol Shields. Birdsell was on the jury for that year’s $10,000 Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction.  She recommended Ricci and he received the 1990 award. Lives of the Saints became a bestselling novel in nearly twenty countries. In 2004, the novel was adapted into a television miniseries starring Sophia Loren.

Shadonna Richards has been penning stories since she was a little girl. But she did not start submitting her manuscripts until five years ago. After receiving over 200 rejection letters from agents and publishers, she decided to pursue a different path.

Inspired by Amanda Hocking’s success, Richards decided to self-publish her books through Amazon. Her motivational books did not do well so she decided to sell her romance novels. She sold seven copies of An Unexpected Bride on the first day and then went on to sell 43,000 copies in six months time.   She credits word of mouth and book bloggers for her success. She is currently earning about $6,000 a month from her writing.

Shadonna’s advice to aspiring writers…

• Hire a professional editor.
• Get a great cover.
• Write a great blurb.

Richards’ blurb for An Unexpected Bride: “Emma Wiggins is about to marry her heart-stopping, gorgeous boss, CEO Evan Fletcher, in seven days—too bad he doesn’t know it yet!”


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