MELBOURNE – For the last seven years, local author Jaimie Engle has been self-publishing children’s novels and other works, all while teaching herself how to become a successful authorpreneur.
But last month, when querying publishers for a current work in progress, she stumbled on a serendipitous opportunity: a five-book deal with Texas-based publisher INtense Publications.
The agreement includes new and previously self-published works based on Mrs. Engle’s Clifton Chase series.
As Mrs. Engle initially struggled to get the first book, “Clifton Chase and the Arrow of Light” published, the author likens her journey to the main character in the series.
“Clifton is bullied, and his journey to help two bullied boys find their voice became a message I now share to students across the country,” Mrs. Engle said. “It’s funny how this theme of perseverance, belief, and the power of words has given me the strength to never give up, and to keep working toward my dreams.
“I hope someone reading my story will feel inspired to chase their dreams too,” Mrs. Engle added.
Mrs. Engle first began her self-publishing journey in 2012 when she created JME Books Publishing House – a move that came after numerous attempts to sell “Clifton Chase and the Arrow of Light” to existing publishers.
“Clifton had a rocky start, with nearly 100 agents and publishers rejecting the manuscript before one finally said yes,” Mrs. Engle said. “Only three weeks before the launch date, the publisher fell off the map and I had to figure out how to self-publish the book.
“Within 2 weeks I had the book rights back, republished, and released on schedule, all by myself, with no clue what I was doing,” Mrs. Engle shared.
Since then, she has published 11 books, learned how to market her works, presented anti-bullying programs to tens of thousands of children across the U.S. in person and through video platforms, and offered more than 12 Barnes & Noble book signings.
With that experience behind her, Mrs. Engle knew sending a query to INtense Publications could pay off.
She had been looking for a publisher for a paranormal mystery, but realized after learning about INtense that they may be interested in the Clifton Chase series.
“They mentioned that their mission was to promote literacy by connecting books with readers and educators, and that they considered publishing previously published work,” Mrs. Engle explained. “Since I had a complete first draft of book 2, ‘Clifton Chase on Castle Rock’ I thought it would be a great opportunity to try and sell my property to a publisher.”
Mrs. Engle sent the query Sept. 4 and received a contract for books one and two Sept. 7 – but was then able to expand the deal to five books with a sixth under consideration.
The deal includes “Clifton Chase and the Arrow of Light” and “Clifton Chase on Castle Rock,” both in paperback, hardcover, e-book and audiobook; a paired coloring book for each novel in all formats; and “Teacher Edition: Clifton Chase and the Arrow of Light” in paperback, hardcover, and e-book.
Mrs. Engle, a Melbourne resident and the mother of two boys, is grateful for the journey leading up to this point.
“This little book has been through so much, but it has also opened up doors for me to speak to kids about bullying, teach authors about marketing, and make so many new friends through books,” Mrs. Engle said. “The one thing that kept me going was a quote I heard during my very first writing conference: ‘The ones who make it never give up!’”
For more information about the author, including her Oct. 30 release of “Write a Book that Doesn't Suck,” visit thewriteengle.com.