Self-publishing – Help!

I have decided to self-publish some of my short stories. I’ve never self-published before, so am somewhat apprehensive about doing it. I made the decision after being published by a small independent company. I realised that I am doing the bulk of all the marketing and publicity, so I thought I’d try to publish on my own.  My book is selling very slowly, but I’m a debut author so it’s to be expected.

Any advice from self-published authors out there, would be very welcome. I plan to release an ebook first, and see how it goes before stepping into the paperback minefield!!

Any way, I have posted an excerpt from a new short story that I might include in the anthology. If anyone would be kind enough to give feedback, I would be very grateful. If you would like to read the entire story, go to Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/29186761-the-grooves-that-her-feet-made

The Grooves That Her Feet made

They were her mother’s shoes. Black stilettos with a tapering toe that ended in a sharp point. To Maggie, they looked more like a weapon than footwear. She recalled the day her father brought them home. He smelled of lager and cigarettes and she’d moved her head away from his damp kiss. Mr Harris laughed, ruffled his daughter’s hair, turned to his wife and grabbed her by the arm. ‘Put on your best dress Suzie. You’re going to go out to dinner with the new, “Overseas Manager of Distribution”. And don’t worry about what shoes to wear, I got you these,’ he said and handed over the shoes. ‘I’ve asked Carol Pickton from next door to look after Maggie.’

Maggie was nine years old and couldn’t understand why she had to stay at home. She clenched her fists and howled. Her mother wiped away her daughter’s tantrum tears and promised a family trip to the zoo.

It didn’t happen.

Mr Harris went to work in America for a six-month trial period, and never came back. The shoes were wrapped in tissue paper, put in a box and pushed to the back of the storage closet under the stairs. ‘Don’t touch them, do you hear me? They stay in there forever.’ Maggie gulped at her mother’s words, nodded her head and thought of nothing else. Every time she walked past the cupboard, she felt the urge to put them on.

When she was thirteen, Maggie crept downstairs, opened the closet, took out the shoes and pushed her feet into them. A hand gripped her shoulder and a voice full of hate raged into her ear. ‘Take them off. Right now. As long as I’m alive, those things are out of bounds.’

And so they were. Maggie grew up, got married, left home, got divorced, moved back, tended her dying mother, and never once touched ‘Those things.’ She didn’t even wear them to the funeral, out of respect to her dead mother’s wishes. But as soon as the service was over, and the stragglers gone, Maggie went to the cupboard and took out the forbidden footwear.

She opened the box, peeled away the tissue paper and dusted off the stilettos. She held them up against the hallway window and watched as the light caught the polished leather. The shoes gleamed like a black panther basking in the African sun and Maggie let out a sigh. She placed the stilettos before her twitching feet and raised her right foot, ready to slip them on. But she couldn’t. Her mother’s words repeated inside her head and Maggie jumped back as though the things were about to strike.

Maggie stared at the shoes for a moment, waiting for them to move. When they didn’t, she wrapped them up again, put them in the box and shoved them to the back of the hall cupboard.

Time went slowly for Maggie and each day alone left her tired and irritable. A hole inside her chest grew and she yearned for male companionship.

Months were dedicated to on-line dating agencies all promising to find the right man and all failing to do so. At one of her lowest moments she even went out with Mathew Pickton. It lasted a couple of months before fizzling out. They’d grown up together and she considered him, ‘More of a brother than a potential mate. You understand, don’t you Mathew?’

Mathew didn’t answer. He glugged back the glass of wine, threw forty pounds onto the table and walked out of the restaurant. The next day, Maggie posted a note through his door that said, ‘No hard feelings? Still friends?’ She received a bunch of white roses in way of a response.

Maggie came across Daniel, quite by chance, on a chat room for fans of all things leather. They exchanged emails for three months before she plucked up the courage to suggest they meet. The day arrived and Maggie knew that it was time for the stilettos to be brought out of hibernation.

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