What would compel a best-selling author, whose first book was published by a traditional publisher, to self-publish her second book?

Marlen Bodden’s book, The Wedding Gift, was published in 2013 (and reprinted in 2015). Still selling well on Amazon, her book was called “a stunning debut” and “an inspiring read for historical-fiction fans.” When Marlen submitted her second book, Arrows of Fire, to her publisher, she was told it was too academic for a commercial audience. Believing in her book, she joined the many authors who skate around the gatekeepers of publishing and decided to self-publish it. Says Marlen, “I believe the compelling story in Arrows of Fire will propel it to also become a bestseller.”

Marlen’s inspiration for Arrows of Fire came during a visit to the Maya ruins at Copan with her late brother, Edsel, who was a minister. While at the ruins, he pointed out artifacts used in human sacrifice. Edsel told her about Moctezoma II, the ninth ruler of the capital city of the Aztec empire, Tenochtitlan. More popularly known today as Montezuma, he had one main weakness: his propensity for human sacrifice. “His widespread reliance on human sacrifice made native people turn against him, and some joined Cortes,” explains Marlen. Cortes, of course, is the Spanish conquistador who led the successful invasion of the Aztec empire.

Arrows of Fire takes the reader deep inside the bloody European conquest of Mexico, a colossal clash between powerful forces. The book reveals the crack in Moctezoma’s armor—his use of human sacrifice—and tells the story through the eyes of Flower, a girl kidnapped by Moctezoma’s henchmen and trained to impersonate a warrior goddess. As Cortes nears Tenochtitlan, Moctezoma plans to sacrifice Flower to the God of War. Will she escape before he does so?

As a publishing services company, 1106 Design supported Marlen in self-publishing Arrows of Fire by providing her with cover design, page layout and typesetting, editing and proofreading. “If you are not willing to invest in professional editing, proofreading and book design, you should not self-publish,” Marlen advises. “A book that is not well-edited and proofread is doomed to fail.”

A busy human rights lawyer with the Legal Aid Society in New York City—the nation’s oldest law firm for the poor—Marlen is also an anti-war, anti-slavery and anti-death penalty activist. She is already planning her next novel, which will also be a work of historical fiction. When asked if she will self-publish again, Marlen replied that she is prepared to do so if her next book is not deemed commercial enough.

Marlen’s main challenge with being an independent publisher? “Publicity!” she says without hesitation. To promote her book, Marlen has hired a publicist and has done paid ads on social media. With over 26,000 followers on her Facebook page, Marlen has done a fabulous job of building her author platform on social media and is off to a great start promoting her new book.

Arrows of Fire is available in hardcover, eBook and audiobook formats. Using IngramSpark print-on-demand and distribution, the book is available internationally.


Book: Arrows of Fire

Author: Marlen Suyapa Bodden

Genre: Historical Fiction

Amazon: www.amazon.com/Arrows-Fire-Marlen-Suyapa-Bodden/dp/1732974705/

Author website: www.marlenbodden.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/marlensuyapabodden/

Twitter: twitter.com/BoddenMarlen