My publishing journey writing historical fiction

Richard FitchenRichard Fitchen, BA MA MLIS PhD, was a firefighter and National Guardsman before teaching at the University of Washington and the University of California (Berkeley and Santa Barbara). He served as the social sciences bibliographer in Yale University’s Libraries and retired as bibliographer and reference department head at the Stanford University Libraries. He now writes full time and enjoys traveling with family.


Publishing electronically rather than in traditional print seemed a smart choice to me, like online retail versus newspaper ads.  Then Linda at eFrog Press explained the print-on-demand option.  Voilà, the best of both worlds!  When I met Linda, I mentioned projects in which I had participated to convert paper bound information to electronic files ranging from cutting-edge scientific journals to archives of the World Trade Organization.  She made the connection:  give readers of my fiction the same advantages!   I had tried putting up an electronic file but with no more success than I found earlier sending material to print publishers.  Now with editorial and technical guidance by Linda and her expert staff, my new book is properly launched.

United by Covenant, Ben’s America is the first of five books to be published in a series called An American Saga.  Three of the remaining four volumes are already in draft form, and we anticipate publishing at least two in 2014.  It helps to have design and layout decisions already set for the series by volume one!

United by Covenant: Ben's StoryI began writing United by Covenant because I could not bear to change a very long but personally cherished prequel.  The prequel rivals books like Hawaii and Shogun in length and complexity, and many letters to editors/agents plus meetings at a writers’ conference convinced me no publisher would undertake such a leviathan tome from an unknown author.  No doubt, I’m not the first to be consumed by unsalable abundance of creativity!  The prequel was polished occasionally and given ever better titles, but in the end a fresh start was needed.

Fortunately, the prequel experience helped enormously in writing United by Covenant, in many ways allowing me to learn from experience.  Writing it was very satisfying (ditto its sequel), perhaps partly because the project was planned from the very outset to comprise five volumes.

My previous career in American universities required highly developed research skills and a depth of subject knowledge, and I’ve drawn deeply on both to produce this title.  Its central character rises above the story’s dramatic fray to articulate the political faith that unifies partisan and cultural antagonists in America.  The covenant of American life reaches a peak of success in preserving the union through civil war, massive immigration, and sweeping industrial transformation.

United by Covenant is FREE today and tomorrow

After years of researching and writing, it is exciting to see my book come to life both as a print and ebook version. In my first attempt to connect with readers of historical, especially American, fiction, I am making my book free today and tomorrow, January 29 and 30. Please spread the word, download the Kindle ebook, and post a review. I wrote the book to make U.S. history as interesting to readers as I have always found it, and the best way I know is through story. So if you enjoy United by Covenant, standby as more volumes are coming soon in this American Saga.

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One Response to “My publishing journey writing historical fiction”

  1. Liza Olmert Says:

    What a thrill to read! These are great characters to get to know! Love this book (Covenant), and love following the story lines through the series.

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