“I don’t know if it is possible to have made more crucial mistakes in self-publishing my book than I did back then.” Sheppard says. “From the timing of the release, to getting reviews, to marketing strategies, I couldn’t seem to get anything right. It was extremely disappointing.”
Interestingly, coping with disappointment was a major theme of the novel, as was the importance of timing. This time around it is the latter that inspired Sheppard to take another shot at literary success.
“Those that read the book, loved it,” Sheppard says. “My greatest problem was that so few had even heard of it. But now the industry has changed, and independent authors are on a more level playing field with the big publishing houses. Between the internet, social media, and a trend toward electronic reading devices, getting the word out—and to the consumer—has become a lot easier.”
Yet it isn’t just timing that spurred Sheppard to revisit his earlier work. It was his belief in the story that cried out for redemption. “Even the worst reviews I received always commended the strength of the story. It has always seemed such a shame to me that such a compelling and relatable story should be forgotten due to the naiveté of its well-intentioned but overmatched 23 year old author/publisher.”
In short, The Gardens of Sir Verity follows the story of a young man who is introduced to life’s inevitable lessons by means of the writings of an unlikely mentor. Alternating between a suburban Long Island setting and the fictional Gardens of Sir Verity, readers are introduced to lessons needed to cope with and overcome disillusionment, heartbreak, and the need to let some things go. This newly revised edition features a more streamlined plot to appeal to a wider market, a refinement of the writing and dialogue, as well as an update to the technology referenced in the story in a time before smart phones and text messaging.
“I realized that I had to listen to my own words,” Sheppard says. “So I’m hoping that with the lessons I’ve learned in the past 14 years I’ll be able to get this ‘wrong’ turn right.”
Whether he is successful remains to be seen, yet it is his hope that another one of the lessons related in the story will prove true in his endeavors.
“Sometimes the answer isn’t no,” he says with a smile. “Only just not now.”
The revised edition of The Gardens of Sir Verity is only available in eBook format for Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, the Apple iBookstore and at www.lulu.com
For more information about Benjamin Sheppard, visit www.bastionpublishing.com, or follow him on facebook at www.facebook.com/