Creston Mapes made a fair living as a freelance copywriter in Atlanta, but he dreamed of working for himself as a published author. He burned the midnight oil for many years, working hard during the day to pay the bills and using the night hours to write two full-length novels. He made dozens of contacts with editors, sent out scores of proposals and sample chapters, and kept on striving despite receiving hundreds of rejections during an eight-year span.
Finally in 2004, Creston caught the attention of a publisher who offered him an attractive three-book contract. His hopes soared. “But as many authors will tell you,” says Creston, “getting published doesn’t mean you have ‘arrived.’ In my case, that was the farthest thing from reality.”
Creston’s publisher released his gritty, inspirational thrillers, one per year. Nobody, Full Tilt, and Dark Star are tension-filled suspense tales about larger-than-life but deeply flawed individuals—a rock star on trial for murder, a homeless millionaire, mobsters, psychics, and meth addicts. Underneath the glitter or the dirt, Creston’s characters all search for peace, contentment, and the meaning of life, just like the rest of us. Critics swooned.
“I thought, ‘This is it. You’ve made it. You’ve broken out. The world is going to read your stories!’” Reality, however, was harsh. “During the next eight years of doing all that was humanly possible to market my books, they sold less than 20,000 copies combined—a sales performance my own publisher would later call ‘dismal.’
“Ah, but like Cinderella, we writers are resilient. You see, I still believed in my three books with every fiber of my being. In contrast to sales, the reviews were off the charts. I’d also heard from inmates, addicts and terminally ill readers who said the stories had drawn them closer to God.”
Creston was certain that the books deserved a bigger audience. So, he decided to take advantage of Amazon’s independent self-publishing platform, which allows any author to bring their books directly to market. He got the rights back to those three novels, put his own covers on them, and used the self-service platform to put them on Kindle.
“That’s when the magic happened. Kindle Direct Publishing enabled me to promote my newest book, Nobody, for free during one weekend in February. I told my author friends, and they helped share the Kindle Store link for Nobody with their circles of friends and readers.”
Creston smiles. “Blast off,” he says.
“Nobody became the No. 1 book in the Kindle store that weekend, and has gone on to sell thousands of copies since then. I used Amazon’s technology to blow through all the traditional gatekeepers. Can you imagine how that feels, after struggling so hard, for so long, for every…single…reader? Now inspirational fiction-lovers I never would have reached are enjoying Nobody and my other two novels on the Kindle.”
“I’ve always wanted to write a Cinderella story,” says Creston. “Now I have—my own.”
Creston Mapes is one of thousands of authors being discovered by Amazon customers.