"The Ednalor Mysteries" by Shirley Windward (CreateSpace, 2011)
At age 92, Shirley Windward is an inspiration:
Although Shirley is known for founding, at age 52, the highly regarded Windward School in Los Angeles for grades seven through 12, it is in the realm of her ceramic art (she continues to sell her ceramic pieces in shows) and fiction writing that she can inspire us all.
She gave me a copy of her two-part fantasy novel “The Ednalor Mysteries,” which had been produced on a copy machine and bound. I found it a delightful story for any age:
Books one and two of “The Ednalor Mysteries” take place in two imaginary kingdoms on the island of Ednalor. With Dame Alleman of Castle Ednalor weaving her magic web throughout the island, the inhabitants of both kingdoms must overcome obstacles in order to achieve peace for their lands and to live in harmony together.
“Shirley,” I said, “would you like me to publish ‘The Ednalor Mysteries’ as an actual book that would be available on Amazon?”
Needless to say, Shirley was very excited about the project.
First another friend of hers put the two parts of the story into one Word document. Then my business partner (and younger daughter) Yael K. Miller and I visited Shirley, and Yael downloaded the Word document onto a thumb drive.
Back at our computers, Yael uploaded the file. I then worked on formatting the two separate parts of the novel into a coherent whole. Meanwhile, at his law office, my husband scanned the illustrated map of the imaginary world — created by Shirley’s daughter-in-law Suzie Windward, and he emailed me the scanned art.
I opened a new account on the Amazon-owned CreateSpace.com for this project. Yael took one of the standard CreateSpace covers, added the scanned art, changed the color of the book cover — and the book cover of “The Ednalor Mysteries” was created!
I wrote the back cover copy in collaboration with Shirley, and then I uploaded the cover, back cover copy and Word document to CreateSpace.
Then we waited for the first proof copy to arrive in the mail. (You have to pay for the proof copy.)
Now I have to admit that it took a few proof copies before Shirley and I were both satisfied with what had been created. For one thing, we decided to add a headshot of Shirley on the back cover. But finally we approved the book for print.
And then came the problem of marketing. Shirley’s email isn’t very reliable, but she has a huge old-fashioned card index of names and addresses.
Solution? I created a flyer that could be folded in three and mailed. My husband ran off 300 copies on the color printer at his office so that the fabulous green of the book cover could be displayed.
Now Shirley, with the help of her home health care aide, is busy addressing the flyers and handing them out wherever she goes, including her yoga classes and beauty shop appointments.
In conclusion, I hope this article has encouraged those of you who have been writing to consider self-publishing your own work. You are never too old to start on a career as a writer.
And do get Shirley’s delightful fantasy book “The Ednalor Mysteries” for yourself — available on Amazon at http://budurl.com/EdnalorMysteries — and perhaps share it with grandchildren or other young relatives or friends.