Hannibal author’s new novel could reach publication through Kindle Scout online voting system

A Hannibal author’s novel sat on the shelf for seven years, before a unique opportunity brought the longtime dream closer to reality.

When she was 18, Dana Lockhart penned a manuscript for her novel, “The Un-Life of William Moore.” She sent her manuscript to 12 agents, who sent her automatic rejection letters. She remembered how those replies and a lack of funding at the time frustrated her and stymied her dream. Now Amazon’s Kindle Scout program is giving online voters a new chance to help bring her book to publication. The program allows readers to “nominate” a book. Popular books within a 30-day window become eligible for publication through Kindle Scout.

Voting for Lockhart’s novel began Wednesday, Jan. 3, and Lockhart was busy that day handing out flyers throughout Hannibal to share her website’s voting link and her daily blog posts. She said if her book receives enough votes to be published, each voter would receive a free copy, and audiobook and eBook variants would follow. The voting process will run through Saturday, Feb. 3, and Lockhart said she is excited about being part of a fresh approach to reaching readers and reaching for her dream of publishing her novel.

“Really, an author is nothing without the readers and the support from the readers,” she said. “So I’m trying to get some readers. The first chapter is on the website where you vote at, and I’m planning on posting my second chapter on my website within the next few days.”

Lockhart said her initial manuscript grew from 35,000 words to 50,000 words to meet Kindle Scout’s minimum word requirement. She worked with graphics company Fivver to create a book cover, and a friend who works as a book editor assisted with multiple sessions of edits to make sure each passage and detail was just right.

From the start, she wanted to create a tale that diverged from books like the “Twilight” series — she said those works “were romanticizing monsters too much, which is not what they’re about.” For “The Un-Life of William Moore,” Lockhart said she worked hard to humanize the vampire character, while hearkening back to elements of classic vampire literature. She said her novel evoked a similar theme as “Frankenstein” in that respect.

“But I really like the viewpoint of it — a monster’s considered a monster, but yet, really it’s not,” Lockhart said. “It’s Frankenstein’s who is the monster.”

Lockhart’s daily blog on her website chronicles the journey that led to where her novel is today. She also explained the origins of her pen name, which she created using a family surname and a first name that could suggest either a man or a woman authored the novel. Lockhart noted male authors sell more authors than female authors. She said the last name also “applies to what I like to write, to the personality that I want to present.”

Lockhart writes journals every day, and she’s working on three new novels. She encouraged authors to give Kindle Scout a try, emphasizing how it has sparked renewed enthusiasm and hope that her creation will come to life.

“It feels like I’m pursuing my dream, that I’m doing what I wanted to do,” she said. “I was getting too content with the 8 to 5 life. I decided, you know what, I’m going to go for it, I’m not going to let anything hold me back any more. I’m going to publish a book, just like I said I always would.”

Lockhart said the hard work paid off, noting all of the writing, editing and final revisions were complete by her goal date of Dec. 31.

“The feeling has been one of a lot of satisfaction that I’ve created something,” she said. “I’m done and I did it.”

To view the beginning of “The Un-Life of William Moore” or to vote for the novel on Kindle Scout, visit Lockhart’s website at http://www.danalockhart.com or her Facebook page at Facebook.com/authordanalockhart .

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com