Island Dreams: Indie Phenom Tracey Garvis Graves

Have you read On the Island yet? If not, you absolutely should. Go over to Bookshelf Bombshells for the full book review.

On the Island‘s author, Tracey Garvis Graves, could be the poster girl for Indie publishing success stories.

She wrote a compelling, risky, and slightly addictive romance about two people who shouldn’t be together stranded on a desert island. She sent off the dreaded query letters hoping to find an agent to represent her. Instead of snapping up the debut author’s intriguing story, agents quickly ripped off rejection letters. The book didn’t quite fit into the right genres. The storyline could be dangerous. It just wasn’t for them.

While most writers would crawl into a cave of self-doubt and shove their precious manuscript into the back of a drawer to rot, Tracey fought back. She decided to self-publish On the Island.

Now, many of us are scared of self-publishing. I know I am. There is the stigma that if you self-pub it’s because your book isn’t good enough for the mainstream bookstore shelves, it’s a sad reject filled with poor grammar, typos, and a plot seemingly contrived by a sixth-grader.

If you have read any of the millions of Indie self-published books out there (and if you haven’t, why not?) you know this is not always the case.

She uploaded her edited manuscript onto Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

Then this suburban mom harnessed the power of the internet, promoting her  book to the top of the best sellers lists. On the Island became a word-of-mouth (and blog) phenomena.

I learned about the book through another blogger. Actually, several blogs, but when someone who normally doesn’t talk about books mentioned it was a must read (thanks MomJovi), I downloaded it that day. Once I pulled up that first page, I was hooked. I stayed up past midnight finishing the book in one day.

Tracey’s book sales and loyal fans finally caught the attention of the “big boys.” She got an agent, a two-book deal from Penguin, and  MGM even optioned the book for a feature film.(And there’s constant online chatter about just which actors should play main characters T.J. and Anna.)

Word of mouth sales keep going up. I should get credit for a few copies in my Costco. Twice I watched a woman pick the paperback up, skim the back cover, look slightly puzzled, and set it down. “That was a great book!” I gushed. “It’s not smutty? It sounds … just … “  “It’s not a 50 Shades. At all. Trust me. Not creepy at all. I read it in a day.” They slipped the book into their carts.

PhotobucketWord. Of. Mouth.

Stop by Bookshelf Bombshells to read the full review. Come on: a 30-year-old teacher, her 16-year-old student,  a plane crash,  a deserted tropical island. Can love conquer all despite the odds? Should it? You know you’re intrigued.

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