By: Jonathan Kermah
Attleboro High School (AHS) science teacher Mr. Pete Tarsi recently published the novel Flipping the Scales. The novel is targeted at young adults and is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble online.
Flipping the Scales follows the story of teenage girl, Meredith, and young mermaid, Marina, who switch lives. Meredith lives the life of a mermaid, while Marina learns what it is like to be a teenage girl, becoming more independent. As the novel goes on, things become a bit more complicated when the girls must change back before the next full moon.
“I wanted to write something my daughters would enjoy,” said Tarsi, when talking about the motivation for his novel.
The original draft of the novel was written last summer, but Tarsi recently had it published. He spent about a year looking for an agent and publishing company but it never seemed to work out.
He sent in pieces of his story to agents and was constantly told the story was good but they couldn’t take it right now. “They weren’t really letting me into the party,” said Tarsi.
Tarsi didn’t let the rejections get to him. “I understand it’s a business,” he said.
Tarsi moved on to self publishing. When self publishing, the writer is responsible for marketing, the book art, and most importantly, having the book edited.
Editing of the novel came from several different places. Tarsi turned to trusted college friends, fellow writers online, and other teachers. One of Tarsi’s most helpful editors was his friend’s teenage daughter, who is Tarsi’s target audience.
The editors weren’t just looking for spelling errors, they were looking for continuity in the plot and whether or not the plot actually works.
After finishing the editing process, Tarsi had to move onto the logistics of marketing the novel. He looked to the website Smashwords to distribute his novel online.
The most notable companies distributed were Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Tarsi then had to self-advertise his novel. He used social media to really spread the word about his novel.
Tarsi tried to find the right balance for a price for the novel. He wanted to be reasonable to readers but he also wanted to be taken seriously. He finally settled on an E-book price of $3.99. Overall, Tarsi believes the novel sales are better than expected.
“I didn’t really have expectations going into it. So I’m happy with the sales so far,” said Tarsi.
The physics teacher is currently working on the rest of his Flipping the Scales trilogy. He is in the process of editing the second novel, Skipping the Scales, and has the plot of the third novel in his head.