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lisa genova still aliceI was a bit late to the party on Lisa Genova’s 2009 best-seller Still Alice. But I finished it yesterday—devoured it over the course of a single day—and thoroughly enjoyed my experience. This was, for the most part, a polished and engrossing novel. Imagine my delight when I skimmed through the reading group guide and learned that it started out as a self-published book!

As Genova explains it, she had begun work on her marketing plan even before the book came out. Since it deals with the subject of Alzheimer’s Disease, she contacted the Alzheimer’s Association with a link to her website, and they agreed to link to the book and publicize it. The only problem was, it wasn’t out yet. So Genova made the decision to self-publish so they could use the book immediately.

Her advice to new writers? Follow her lead! Straight from the Still Alice Reader’s Group Guide, here is what she says about self-publishing:

“My advice is this: if you don’t find a literary agent falling into your lap quickly enough, if you feel like your work is done and is ready to be shared with the world, self-publish. Give your work to the world. Let it go. And keep writing. Freedom! I was recently in my car listening to Diablo Cody…she said “self-publish.” I yelled alone in my car, “Woohoo! See? Diablo Cody agrees with me, and she’s just been nominated for an Academy Award!”

My only begrudgement with this inspiring story? Now that Genova does have an agent and a publisher, her five-year-old epic is still going for 14 bucks at the Kindle store. Sigh.

 
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