Shadow of Time
by Jen Minkman
Published: January 1st 2013
All Hannah needs is a nice and quiet vacation after her first year of teaching French at a high school. She joins her brother Ben for the summer in their mom’s log cabin in Arizona. There, she meets Josh again, Ben’s childhood friend from the Navajo reservation. The little boy from the rez has grown up fast, and Hannah can’t help but feeling more for him than just friendship.
But fate apparently has something else in store for her. And it’s not peace and quiet. Night after night, Hannah is plagued by strange nightmares about the past of Navajo Nation and terrifying shadows chasing her. They seem to come closer – and why is Josh always present in her dreams?
Sometimes, the past has a way of catching up with you.
Publishing paranormal romance in Europe
by Jen Minkman
Writing paranormal romance in Europe is quite a challenge. Why, you say? Because most of the books in the genre are in English. This means all other European countries usually stick to translating those bestselling books into their native languages, because they are bestsellers and everybody knows who Stephenie Meyer is, even if the book itself is in Spanish, Hungarian or Finnish. Sales guaranteed.
I decided to turn this whole process around. After signing a contract with a Dutch publisher (yippee!) to get my paranormal romance ‘Schaduw van de Tijd’ on the market in the Netherlands, I then took my manuscript and translated it into English so I could publish ‘Shadow of Time’ through Amazon and make sure my book ended up on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, all the other European branches of Amazon as well as all the Kindle stores, including the new one in India. In April, the book will go live on Smashwords as well, making it accessible for everyone without a Kindle. Sales guaranteed (I hope!).
Curious about the whole self-publishing process? Well, read on.
First of all, I spent about three months translating and re-writing my book into English. I am more or less bilingual, but of course I did call on a few other teachers of English (I myself am one) to help me every now and then (those teachers being my dad, my mom and my sister). Yes, we are indeed one such family with a single big talent that we all use to earn a living. ;)
After translating the whole book, I sent it off to an American freelance editor who checked my text for cultural inconsistencies (one notable error was my main character eating pancakes with jam for breakfast – however, Americans use maple syrup!) as well as grammar and U.S. spelling. I mainly speak British English, but the book is set in Arizona, so that would be weird. This is when I found out that ‘no-one’ is actually spelled ‘no one’. (*ashamed*!)
After that, the real work began. I e-mailed so many book blogs I lost count, asking them to run a promotional, giveaway or review for my book. I set up my own blog tour (of which this blog is part), making sure I would have blogs from all over the globe. I ran give-aways on Goodreads, participated in give-away blog hops, and basically tried to sell myself and my book from June till December.
Why did I think this book deserved to be published in English as well?
When I started work on ‘Shadow of Time’, I had no idea it would require me to do weeks and weeks of research about Navajo Nation and the history of the Navajo people. I set out to write a paranormal love story, but ended up obsessing over every last bit of history and culture in the book being flawlessly described. I learned so much about the hardship the Native Americans had to go through, their rich language and culture, and the state that present-day Navajo Nation is in, that I felt I had to share it with the world. Don’t worry, the book hasn’t turned into a major info-dump fest where I flaunt all the knowledge I’ve acquired (all those Umberto Eco-ish ramblings were cut out in the third draft :), but the story does have a background that hopefully gives readers a feel of what life is like on a reservation. I hope everybody will enjoy reading ‘Shadow of Time’ as much as I enjoyed writing it!
And remember, Shadow of Time will be available on Smashwords from March 14th onwards!