Running Wide Open Now Available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Running Wide Open is now available at and Barnes and Noble, my Lightning Source account has been set up, and I’ve finally uploaded the POD files. Within a week I should have the proof, and once that’s approved I’ll be able to order copies of the book for myself. A few weeks after that, it will appears at online retailers.

I’m finished with the first part of my indie journey—making my debut book available for sale electronically and in print. Looking back on what I’ve done so far, in some ways, it’s been easier than I expected. The actual work isn’t that hard. My brain seems to intuitively understand formatting and other aspects of working with computers. From what I’ve heard from others, that’s not a universal skill. I feel fortunate to have lucked out in that department. But one skill that doesn’t come readily is asking for help. That’s made all of this more difficult for me. I’ve forced myself to approach others with questions I haven’t been able to answer on my own, but it hasn’t been easy. The fact is, I’m the sort of person who will walk out of a store and go somewhere else if I have to ask the clerk how much something costs. I hate to bug people, hate to risk being told “no.” I guess I’m worried people will think doing me a favor is a huge inconvenience, or that they’ll see me as stupid for not being able to figure things out for myself.

Deciding to take the indie author route has pushed me out of my comfort zone in other ways as well. Not because I have to take responsibility and tackle all aspects of publishing on my own, but because I have to talk to people I don’t know and do scary, decisive things I might screw up. What if I upload the wrong file when applying for my copyright? What if I mess up the formatting of the Kindle version of my ebook? What if I download the wrong template for my cover? What if I set my POD price too low in the UK and wind up losing money on printing? What if I ask a stupid question and piss off my Lightning Source client services rep? And maybe the worst one: what if I botch the formatting on my print version and the proof comes out wrong?

The cover for the print version

But I haven’t messed up in any big way so far, and I owe this mainly to the excellent instructions I found in Zoe Winter’s book, Smart Self-Publishing: Becoming an Indie Author. Not only does she give sound publishing and business advice, she also directs the reader to other books that help with setting up the various formats. I’ve avoided a lot of major blunders by carefully following Zoe’s advice. I’m totally in awe of her because she figured all this out on her own before ebooks even became popular. This journey was intimidating enough with plenty of direction from people like Zoe and my friend Amy Rose Davis. I can’t imagine figuring it out from scratch.

I know many of you have already read Running Wide Open, but for those of you who haven’t, I’d like to provide a preview. Here’s the opening chapter of the book. You can download a longer free sample at any online retailer.


April 1989

The hiss of a paint can sounded like a roar, even over the rumble of traffic on Sunset Boulevard. Tim’s drunk-assed laugh snagged my attention. His fingers shook as he used a can of Krylon royal blue to put the finishing touches on an anatomically correct and obviously proud elephant.

“Dude,” I said, “his shlong is longer than his trunk.”

“Why do you think he’s smiling?” Tim busted into another giggle fit, doubling over and clutching his gut.

“C’mon, Cody, you’re supposed to be drawing,” prodded Mike. “That’s not a picture.” He was kind of an ass, but it’s hard to blow off a guy you’ve hung out with since third grade.

“Pardon me for being able to communicate with words.”

“Is that a giraffe?” Tim said. He was sprawled on the concrete now, staring up at Mike’s neon pink animal as it brayed a string of four-letter words across the zoo wall.

“No, moron,” Mike said, “it’s a zebra. Can’t you see the stripes?”

“Looks like a giraffe.”

“It’s a frickin’ zebra!”

Mike planted the toe of his Adidas in Tim’s ribs, and Tim tried to nail him in the balls with his rattle can. Then they were both rolling on the sidewalk, thrashing each other.

Why couldn’t they shut the hell up? Beer buzzed through my skull, making everything go sideways. The words spilling out of my spray can had a crazy tilt to them.

Whooooop! A siren shrieked. I jerked back and dropped my paint.

“Cops!” Mike was up in a second, bolting down the sidewalk for the woods. Tim wasn’t so fast. He’d messed up his knee last fall when he totaled his stepdad’s Jeep in the Terwilliger Curves.

“C’mon,” I said, grabbing his arm. Red and blue lights flashed around us as I dragged him down the sidewalk—no easy feat, considering he had five inches and fifty pounds on me.

The siren got louder. I risked a peek over my shoulder. They were close, but if I ditched Tim I could make it.

He stumbled, wrenching my arm.

“Move it!” I said, yanking him up.

Behind us, the car screeched to a stop. Doors slammed, and footsteps pounded the asphalt.

We reached the end of the zoo wall, but I knew we couldn’t make it through the trees in the dark and stay ahead of the cops.

“Shit, Cody. I can’t get busted again!” Tim panted.

I remembered the last time—how his face had looked when his stepdad got done with him.

“Then get the hell out of here,” I said, shoving him into the bushes.

As he disappeared I turned to face the cops.

“Good evening, officers!” I called. “I don’t suppose you’d be willing to discuss this like gentlemen over a dozen donuts?”

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29 Responses to Running Wide Open Now Available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

  1. Love it, Lisa! You rock! And thanks for the nice shout-out–I’m glad I lured you to the dark side! 🙂


  2. Alice Lynn says:

    Lisa, the long journey from putting that first sentence in your notebook to the day when you saw the finished product listed on a bookseller’s site has been made. Still to come is the thrill of holding that actual honest-to-god first book copy in your hands. There will be other books to publish, days of recognition from writers, critics, and readers, but nothing else will quite match this moment. Congratulations for today and yesterday, and for all your tomorrows.


    • Lisa Nowak says:

      Alice, you’re such a good friend. Thanks for being there through all the ups and downs. Congrats on getting your copies of Volunteer for Glory. I can’t wait to see the finished product.


  3. ““Dude,” I said, “his shlong is longer than his trunk.””
    Now THAT is a guy line, nice work Lisa.

    Your voice reminds me a lot of My Side of the Story by Will Davis. Good book, if you have not read it.


    • Lisa Nowak says:

      Thanks, McKenzie, I’m glad my boy humor amuses you. I’m not sure where it comes from. Guess I hung out with too many guys in my racing days.


      • I’ve read quite a bit more. I just got through the fiasco with Cody and his mom being a possessive lunatic (chapter 16? maybe?). I love love love your side characters. I’m amazed how much color and life they have, arguably even more than Cody. I had to smile at the part when Cody complains about his age, because as you know, I do that a lot.

        So far, really really lovely, although I have seen a few little typos, sorry to say.


        • Lisa Nowak says:

          McKenzie, I’m so glad you’re enjoying it, and I can’t believe after all the edits and proofreading that typos have still slipped through. Ugh. That’s so frustrating! I hope anybody noticing typos will tell me the chapter and sentence so I can correct them.


  4. terripatrick says:

    Congrats! I’m so glad you got out of your comfort zone and asked advice. This will make you so much better at being open to giving advice in the future. 😀
    My wish for you is avid readers who will repeat over-and-over, “Dude, you gotta read this book.”


    • Lisa Nowak says:

      Actually, Terri, I love being in the position of being able to help others out with stuff like that. And because I’ve gotten so much good advice from people, I feel particularly compelled to be able to pay it forward. I just wish I could pay back some of the folks who’ve helped me, but since they’re light years ahead of me, I’m not sure how to do that. I love your wish. It’s like an awesomely guy-centric Irish blessing. 🙂


  5. Roxie says:

    You may be afraid to ask for help, but you are never afraid of hard work, and oh my it pays off! Bravo! Woohoo! Yeeeha! Yay Lisa!


  6. Angela says:

    It’s better then the first two times I have read it. I love all the changes I have noticed. Reading it the third time,on my Nook, is wonderful. 🙂 Love ya Sis.


  7. K Champ says:

    Great job, Lisa! You’re a rockstar, for sure. I’m impressed with how much you’ve been able to get done in such a short timeframe. Hugs!


    • Lisa Nowak says:

      Karen, you always give the most awesome compliments. 🙂 Makes me feel like I’m actually cool. I guess it has only been six months since I started this thing, hasn’t it? Unless you count all the time it took to write the book.


  8. What a great start! You’ve polished this til it shines!


  9. Alice Lynn says:

    I’ve finally seen, held, and leafed through the printed version of Running Wide Open. It’s totally cool and like Terripatrick wrote: will repeat that line many times: “Dude, you gotta read this book!” Congratulations one more time!


  10. A lot of writers are considering going indie, but I wonder if many of them realize just how complicated it is. I didn’t until I read this post, Lisa. Not sure what I was expecting. That maybe some indie publishing faery waves her wand and magic happens. 😉 (that would be nice though)

    Great post!


    • Lisa Nowak says:

      Stina, it’s an incredible amount of work, and I wouldn’t recommend it for just anyone. There are varying levels of help provided through small publishers and author services companies, but all those people want their cut. I went into if figuring there would be a lot of things I’d just have to grit my teeth through, like formatting, but what I’ve discovered is that I love pretty much all of it. I could use a little less of it in my lap all at once, but I’m having a blast. There’s just something about being at the controls and steering the ship, this sense of freedom and control. To take your book from concept to finished product on your own is pretty incredible. And it’s not about taking shortcuts or ignoring the experts. In fact you really need to be able to accept advice if you want to put out a good product. But to know you can make it all happen and make it happen well–now that’s a truly awesome feeling.


  11. Todd McCann says:

    Loved the excerpt. Still haven’t bought the Smashwords version yet, but it’s still on my list of to-do’s. Congrats on the release at Amazon and Barnes and Noble! I’m tweeting this now.


  12. I know what you mean about not wanting to inconvenience others. I’m like you in that respect. Don’t want to ask favour and probably will never ask for another if I’m told no.

    Congrats on hurdling the publication fence. Wishing you success with your novel.


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