I’m so pleased to welcome the fabulous Holly Schindler to the blog today on this, the book birthday of her new adult novel FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS — her first independent release. (I just bought my copy and can’t wait to start reading. Find out where to get yours below!)
Holly and I “met” two years ago when I started blogging with all the wonderful authors at YA Outside the Lines, which she administers. Recently Holly and I had the chance to talk about the inspiration behind her latest book and the decision to “go hybrid.”
Talk about the story. What was the inspiration for FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS? How did the NYC setting come about?
The inspiration was my dog, actually. I have a Pekingese of my own (while Mable and Jason are the love interests in FAF, Innis, the Peke, is a main character, too). I got Jake a couple of years out of grad school; we’ve been together now for over eleven years. I initially wrote FAF shortly after Jake came into my life—so this is a book I’ve been wanting to get out in the world for quite some time. Though I usually write about the Midwest, I gravitated toward NY for this one because this is also a story about a young woman wanting to conquer the world. Very “if I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.” NY seemed the perfect fit—one of my favorite scenes in the book is Mable leaving her home in Queens, crossing the Queensboro Bridge to Manhattan (with her four overprotective police-officer brothers in tow), determined to find out what her talent is, what makes Mable—well—Mable.
You’ve had great success pursuing the traditional route to publishing with your young adult and middle grade novels, what made you decide to publish your new adult novel, FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS, independently?
FAF was on sub a few times; initially, editors said that the book was well done—a couple flat-out said, “This needs to be published,” but also indicated they didn’t know what to do with it. Wasn’t YA, wasn’t adult. One editor used the phrase “neither fish nor fowl.” This was before NA emerged, of course…But even after New Adult became a well-read age category, FAF was continuing to break the mold: This is a sweet comedy—not overtly sexy, no graphic erotica, not about college life…Editors were hanging onto it, trying to find a place for it, and were unsuccessful.
But that’s what makes FAF perfect for the indie platform. There are just books that don’t fit the traditional publishing agenda—and that’s where indie comes into play. Independently published no longer means “inferior.” There are just certain works that are better suited for the independent world. FAF is one of those books.
Tell us about your journey. How has this process differed? What does a writer need to know if she has written a novel and is considering self-publishing?
Authors come to indie publishing for all sorts of reasons. There are certainly benefits and drawbacks to both the traditional and independent platforms. I’ve just gotten my toes wet in the indie world myself, and feel as though I’m only beginning to explore what’s possible. One of the earliest lessons I learned is that the independent author community is incredible. Welcoming and forthcoming about what they’ve tried, what their process was, what worked / what didn’t. They’re also quick to offer technical guidance. I’d suggest finding an online forum—through Facebook, etc.—and jumping into the conversation.
What about the editorial process, did you hire an editor/consultant for proofreading, copy edits etc.?
I’m lucky—I have an in-house critique partner and editor. My mom’s always been my first reader—she had a long career working a slew of jobs involving copyediting and proofing. We bounce ideas; she reads chapters as I’m writing, and then we line edit together.
How about the cover art? Who designed the adorable cover and how did you find that person?
I did the cover for FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS. I spliced together a couple of stock images and downloaded a couple of fonts for the cover. I don’t have a print version that the cover has to fit, so I felt free to play—it’s orientation / shape is different than most books. But I also had to work to find a cover that wasn’t overtly physical (again, FAF is more sweet than sexy), and to find a woman for the cover who wasn’t a size two (Mable’s a “sturdy” size sixteen). I also felt that the cartoon image (rather than a photograph) promised a more comedic read.
How do you go about making sure an e-book is formatted correctly for Nook, Kindle etc.?
I used Scrivener, which allowed me to format both .mobi and .epub files. I’m pretty in love with Scrivener—can’t wait to draft my first book from start to end on it. I also recommend Ed Ditto’s book on using Scrivener to format your e-book: Click here.
You may have already answered this in question two, but how did you copyright your book and acquire an ISBN and/or barcode?
You can upload your book straight to the copyright office—just $35. You need a separate ISBN for each version of your book: .mobi (you can actually rely on Amazon to assign a number via Kindle Direct, if you prefer), .epub, print. ISBNs and barcodes can both be purchased by heading to isbn.org.
What about distribution? How does that work?
I didn’t do a print edition for FIDOS, so distribution is still an unknown. The indie authors I interacted with before making the indie plunge indicated that their own NA readership was e-oriented; they sold few print copies. I felt I was better off focusing my attention on e-versions for FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS. I don’t count out doing a print version of an indie book in the future, though.
As the publishing industry continues to evolve, do you think we’ll see more and more hybrid authors?
Absolutely! The publishing world is being revolutionized by indie publishing. Indie authors are small businesses; I incorporated myself, and am releasing all my indie novels through Holly Schindler, LLC. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, I think you naturally gravitate toward the indie route.
What else is on the horizon? What’s next? It’s seems like you’re always writing (you inspire me!), do you ever sleep?
I do have a YA in development with HarperCollins and an MG on sub now. My next indie release will be the NA sequel to my YA romance, PLAYING HURT. I’ll announce the official release date on my newsletter. But sure to sign up so you’ll know when you’ll be able to download the steamy new installment of Chelsea and Clint’s love.
Where can readers buy FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS?
Amazon: Order here.
Kobo: Buy now.
It will also be available through B&N; there’s no pre-order option at B&N, requiring the book to go live on the 20th.
You can also add FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS to your Goodreads shelf.
Fifth Avenue Fidos
A New Adult Rom-Com with “Bite”
When a mutt from Queens meets a purebred New Yorker, it takes man’s—and woman’s—best friend to convince them what they feel is more than puppy love.
Mable Barker, a hilarious, good-natured sweetheart who is always the pal but never the girlfriend, endures nine horrendous months of bouncing between lackluster New York City jobs (and suffering unrequited love) in her unsuccessful attempt to find her one true talent. So when she meets Innis, the ill-tempered Upper East Side Pekingese, she assumes her dog-walking days are numbered, too; soon, she’ll be heading back to Queens brokenhearted, tail tucked between her legs. But Innis belongs to the adorable yet painfully shy young veterinarian, Jason Mead, a man whose awkward ways around women have him dreaming not of finding love for himself but of playing canine matchmaker—breeding Westminster champions.
When Mable and Jason meet, romance is officially unleashed: they find an instant connection and shared goal, as it appears that Mable could very well have what it takes to be a professional handler, soon to be seen holding Innis under a banner labeled, “Best in Show.” As Jason and Mable get closer to putting a new twist on the term “dog lovers,” outside forces—Mable’s overprotective brothers, a successful wedding planner with her eye on Jason, even the theft of purebred pups from Jason’s Fifth Avenue apartment building—all threaten to come between them. Will Mable and Jason simply let their burgeoning love roll over and play dead? Or will they rally to make sure Innis emerges as the leader of the pack?
Brimming with humor and endearing characters, Holly Schindler’s Fifth Avenue Fidos offers a sweet romance and modern-day fairy tale in which dogs, not dragons, rule the land…a story about the loves that help us realize our dreams.
Holly Schindler is the author of four traditionally published books; her work has received starred reviews in Booklist and Publishers Weekly, has won silver and gold medals in ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year and the IPPY Awards, respectively, has been featured on Booklist’s Best First Novels for Youth and School Library Journal’s What’s Hot in YA, and has been a PW Pick of the Week. Fifth Avenue Fidos is her first independently published book. She is owned by a Pekingese named Jake and can be found working on her next book in her hometown of Springfield, Missouri. She can also be found at hollyschindler.com.