by Ellen B. Alden

I’ve never been good at waiting. After all, how do you move forward if you’re stuck in one place? My debut novel, a historical fiction entitled Yours Faithfully, Florence Burke, has been caught in “publishing purgatory” for seven months now, and I’m frustrated with the snail’s pace that Literary Agents and publisher’s move.

There has been interest in my book; in fact it has been sitting on the desk (probably on the bottom of a huge stack of other manuscripts) at a literary agent in London and New York and at a small publisher in Boston. But I can’t get an answer from them! A simple “yes” or “no” is all I am asking for so I can plan my next move. I prefer straight up rejections (and I’ve gotten plenty of those).

author ellen aldenLuckily, self-publishing is an alternative to traditional publishing, and it’s a much faster and easier way to get your book into print. There has been a boom in this industry over the past five years and now over 45 percent of all books are self-published. If an author feels ready to go to print like I do (my novel has been professionally edited, I have built a website and had a designer create the cover) then why wait? It certainly worked out well for these originally self-published authors: Lisa Genova, who wrote Still Alice, Gillian Flynn, who wrote Gone Girl, John Grisham, who wrote A time to Kill and even E.L. James, who wrote Fifty Shades of Grey. In these cases, a traditional publisher acquired them after noting their successful sales and high level of interested readers.

For me, the key to unlocking the doors of the “purgatory gates” and entering into the exciting world of book marketing and promoting was to find the perfect Indie Publisher. I was fortunate enough to stumble across Rick Lite at Stress Free Publishers. His company took my manuscript and within a month I had a professional book with a gorgeous cover. Talk about taking the fast track to publication! He also handled all the fine details such as getting the copyright, the ISBN number, the barcode for Amazon and my website, and making sure my book was available digitally and in paperback and hardcover. He advised me on how to “launch” my book so that I would receive the most media coverage and therefore have an amazing turn out for my big event. It turned out to be one of the best days of my life! Rick’s proven marketing strategy has kept my book sales climbing. Three months post launch my novel is in four bookstores, I’ve presented “author talks” at libraries, Irish organizations and educational institutions, and I’m selling books through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and  iTunes. Rick Lite has truly made publishing and promoting Stress Free! I couldn’t have done it without him.

Why did I decide to write a historical fiction and what is it about?

I began the journey of writing after discovering an old leather box filled with 19 Civil War letters in my attic. The letters were written from my Irish Immigrant great, great grandfather to his wife and children at home in Western Massachusetts. Ever since that day I’ve worked tirelessly to retrace their lives all the way back to Ireland during the Potato Famine and to follow their journey to America and the events that led up to the Civil War.

Yours Faithfully, Florence Burke is a story of an Irish immigrant family struggling to make it in America at a time when the nation is torn apart by the Civil War. It’s a novel of love, bravery and the indestructible bond of family.

Bio: Ellen Alden is a teacher, speaker, mom and author. Her rare Civil War letters have received national attention from museums, libraries, universities, historians, archivists and genealogists. Ellen shares her love for history and brings the story of her Irish ancestors to life through her presentation as a keynote speaker at high schools and colleges as well as Irish organizations, libraries and bookstores. Her historical fiction entitled Yours Faithfully, Florence Burke is available on Amazon. For speaking engagements contact Ellen at or through her website at