Tuesday, December 25, 2007
I started out believing that my accomplishments as a journalist would impress the large publishing houses. Man, was I wrong ... at least when it comes to fiction. As far as the editors at the major houses were concerned, I was just another debut novelist writing in an absurdly glutted genre.
I worked at the St. Petersburg Times from 1978-2003 and then was lucky enough to retire while still in my mid-40s and become a full-time novelist. In September 2004, I wrote the first word of Book One (entitled The Pit) of my six-book epic fantasy. Seven-hundred-thousand words later, I am in the final revision process of Book Six. I finished The Pit in January 2005 and immediately began a search for an agent. Through luck as much as anything else, I was accepted by an agent just a month after I sent out my first queries. (At the time, he was relatively new to the business and not yet snowed under. Now he's top of the line, and he rarely has the time to even consider debut novelists, much less sign them. So maybe this is my one big secret to getting published: Find an agent who is relatively new, do as much research as possible to make sure he or she is legit, and then take the plunge.) Needless to say, I was excited. After all, I had heard that only one in a hundred debut novelists manage to secure an agent, while 50 percent of those who do eventually are published.
Immediately, my agent began submitting The Pit to the mega-houses, but first-time fiction is an extremely difficult sell nowadays. In some regards, it would be easier to win the lottery, buy the publishing house, appoint yourself president, and then publish your book than it would be to gain an acceptance in the traditional manner. By the middle of 2005, kindly worded rejections began trickling in. And they kept trickling in. The next thing I knew, it was 2007 and I still didn't have a deal, despite the fact that I was convinced I had written the great fantasy epic of the past ten years. The problem was, me being convinced and them being convinced were two different animals.
Finally in early 2007, a publisher came along that agreed with me. When Rain Publishing Inc. (a mid-sized, traditional house based in Canada) accepted my series, I was thrilled to finally have achieved what to me was a lifelong dream. Yet even then my excitement was muted. I was higher on the ladder than those who had chosen self-publishing, but by no means was I guaranteed to become the next J.K. Rowling. The smaller the house, the smaller the distribution. And don't even get me started on the marketing end of things. I could go on forever.
So now, Books 1-3 already are in print and Books 4-6 will be out by the end of February 2008. It's been a whirlwind, to say the least. But fun at the same time. Will I become the next J.K. Rowling? Probably not. But at least I've got a puncher's chance.
And I throw a nasty overhand write ... er ... right.
Jim Melvin is the author of The Death Wizard Chronicles (Rain Publishing Inc. Sept. 2007), a six-book epic fantasy. Please visit his blog at http://www.deathwizardchronicles.blogspot.com/.
Friday, December 21, 2007
And what do editors want? They want a well written story, that requires minor editing AND which you deliver on time.
Authors have to face the fact, you get no more than five seconds (and that's stretching it) in that query letter to grab the editor. So no need to put the tasty morsels of your work in the third paragraph or on page two. It's got to be in-you-face or as the marketers call it, guerilla tactics, from the jump.
Once you pique their interest, your manuscript has got to be polished. Yes, editing costs, but not editing may cost you more. Use the latest technology (text-to-voice translation, speller checker) as well as a human editor and have your work spit-shined and honed to the best of your ability before you send it to your agent to shop.
A story an editor or their reader knows "flows" nicely and in which they actually "get" the message you are conveying the first time out of the gate has a better chance of being published than the I-like-it-but-it-needs-a-lot-of-work story. Time is money and the less time spent editing on their end, the quicker they can make money for both the writer and publishing house.
And always note your deadline. This needs to be every published authors mantra: Deliver what they asked for by the time asked for. A deadline is given for a reason and it's normally because: That's when they need your material in order to reach their next deadline in the production process. Let your reputation be for delivering on time.
Having done the self-published as well as traditional route, I would also have to say, putting your work out there gets you noticed. When I first queried agents, I stuck the self-published version of the work inside. They didn't have to guess what came after the first three chapters. It was there from beginning to ending.
Despite what many critics say, taking a chance on self-publishing has never been a downside for me. Heck, I've already got a product and track record so they can judge for themselves whether I've got the writing style they want.
In my opinion, the biggest secret is this bottom line is: Give the editors what they want.
Thanks for having me!
You can visit Sydney at www.sydneymolare.com.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
So when I'm presented with a seemingly insurmountable challenge and getting published surely fits that bill, I turn to my most finely-honed skill: research.
In 1998, I hatched the idea of writing a mystery about a woman caddie on the men's golf tour and her pal, a sports psychologist. With Tiger Woods mania incinerating the PGA Tour, I was sure the story idea would be a natural.
Besides, this was fun! Any time I spent on the golf course or attending tournaments or even reading golf magazines was, you guessed it, research.
After an agonizing two years of writing, rewriting, and rewriting some more, I felt I was ready to look for an agent. I knew there was no magic formula for this subject, and I had absolutely no contacts in the publishing business. So again I turned to the process I knew best--research.
I studied Elizabeth Lyon's The Sell Your Novel Toolkit and Jeff Herman's Writer's Guide to Book Editors, Publishers, and Literary Agents. And I read Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, and Sheree Bykofsky's Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Published, and Noah Lukeman's The First Five Pages.
I made huge charts of agents who had interests like mine (mystery, sports, psychology), or who had some feature in their personal background that made me think we might connect, or who had sold books with some similarity to mine. I attended mystery conventions (Bouchercon, Malice Domestic, and Left Coast Crime) and talked with people there about the publishing process.
directed me to several agents.
Around the same time, I dragged myself into New York City for a second round of the IWWG's Meet the Agents hysteria. One hundred and fifty wannabe writers crowded the hall to hear nine agents speak about their areas of interest. Then, as Hannelore Hahn, president of IWWG, put it, we rushed like wolves to the front of the room, and lined up to give our two minute pitches to the agent we felt most closely matched our interests. The agent I chose asked for a three-week exclusive look at my manuscript. I sent it off, working to keep my expectations low. Two weeks later she called with the news that a second agent had seen the manuscript on her desk, read it,
and wanted to represent me. Hurray!
and said "no way!" On the phone, I argued politely and persuasively. But the editorial board felt that a series featuring a prime time player would sell better than if the character was in a supporting role; it was their way or no way. So, like Kenny Rogers, I knew when to fold'em, and Cassie Burdette went to the LPGA qualifying school in my first mystery, Six Strokes Under.
That was almost six years ago and my seventh book has just hit the bookstores: PREACHING TO THE CORPSE, second in the advice column mystery series (Berkley.) These are the only "secrets" I know: hone your craft, polish your work, toughen your hide, network, network, network. And repeat.
PREACHING TO THE CORPSE, Berkley Prime Crime, in stores now!
Tags: book publishing, book publicity, virtual book tour, Roberta Isleib, Preaching to the Corpse
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
The move I'd most recommend is finding a charitable tie-in, mine is breast cancer, and then create your news angle and approach your local news outlets. Sounds cliché, but
if you live in a city of 100k to, say, 600k, they're dying for people like you. It's such a manageable size with only so many potential stars. Yet, those cities have to fill newspapers, radio shows, and TV news broadcasts just like their counterparts in larger cities. If you live somewhere more vast, a major metro area, find your section of the metro and begin there. Find a community newspaper or smaller radio show or a
local retail outlet or a charitable program that needs an expert in your market/industry/genre, and create the next big thing; make yourself into a hero, into a bona fide HOME-GROWN star. Then, you can take that press nugget and ease into other markets. "Hey, look at what kind of press he gets in Moline? He should be on the cover of the Arts section in Des Moines. Put him there!" Now, that's a little melodramatic, but you get the point. It's all image, you know? It's not like today's Hollywood is brimming with talent; the town simply sells "image" by the boat-load.
Also, we learned the whole SEO game recently. That, to this point, has been our only real online promotion. We're in the process of establishing an affiliate program, as well as a couple of other unique angles, but thus far the SEO has yielded roughly 10,000 unique visitors per month.
Most effective has been word of mouth. Now, that doesn't mean that we receive a majority of our books sales via word of mouth. It merely means that when someone recommends our books to a friend, family member, or colleague, the close rate--or "sell rate"--is almost 100%. That's gold to anyone marketing themselves.
Nelson Pahl is the author of BEE BALMS & BURGUNDY. You can visit his website at http://www.nelsonpahl.com/ or his blog at http://www.nelsonpahl.blogspot.com/.
Tags: online book promotion, virtual book tour, Nelson Pahl, BEE BALMS & BURGUNDY
Thursday, November 29, 2007
It’s like this. When I was in grade seven, I stood up in front of my long-suffering classmates, heart hammering in my skinny chest, and droned out my first public speaking assignment—a memorized essay I had compiled about dinosaurs. I covered the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous waterfronts. At least ten of my classmates dozed off and one appeared to fall into a full-fledged coma, alarming Mr. Hughes, my teacher. Indeed, my performance was so pitiful, he must have felt sorry for me, because he gave me another chance. “You have until Monday morning to redeem yourself, young lady,” he intoned. That gave me exactly three days to pull together a brilliant speech.
Being a staunch advocate of pain avoidance and a coward to boot, I turned the problem over to my mother, knowing full well she would jump to my rescue. She rose to the occasion and spent the weekend writing a delightfully funny story entitled, “On Housebreaking a Puppy.” On Monday at 10:00 a.m., I delivered a brilliant essay that knocked the socks off my delighted classmates and a relieved Mr. Hughes. Nobody fell asleep this time. My classmates thought I had developed a sense of humor over the weekend, and my mother and I received an ‘A’ for our efforts. After that, I figured, why mess with success? My mother wrote another couple of polished pieces brimming with adult humour to round out my primary school writing career in style, and I slunk into high school with high marks, low self esteem, and a conviction that I couldn’t write an essay if my life depended on it. Feeling like a total fraud, I made no attempt to write another creative word outside of essays and technical reports for several decades.
Fast forward many years. Over time, I grew tired of wearing little business suits, struggling with panty hose, and fighting rush hour traffic. I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I was certain of one thing—it wasn’t a consultant. One sunny day in June 2003, a good friend and primo energy healer (she refers to herself as a “soul healer”) called up our spiritual guides, guardians, and gatekeepers to channel an unforgettable session during which I made a life-changing decision. I walked out of her house knowing that I wanted to write books. Not dry, boring, technical treatises, but fresh, funny romantic suspense novels.
And so the seed of a thought took root. Always an over-achiever, I quit my day job to attend a five-day seminar entitled How to Write a Novel. After all, how hard could it be to write a novel? Thousands of authors did it every year, some of them more than once. I read a couple of how-to books, joined the Ottawa chapter of RWA, rolled up my sleeves, and plunked myself down in front of the computer. As I stared at the blank screen, I held onto my thought for dear life — I am writing a romantic, funny, sexy, scary, exciting, knock-their-socks-off novel.
One year and 104,167 words later, I finished my first draft, dusted off my hands, and announced to my critique group, “There! It’s finished.” After the shrieks of laughter subsided, they pointed me to a book entitled The Basics of Editing Your Novel, and I realized the fun had just begun. I re-worked that sucker several hundred times, cursing the thought that had spawned this monster.
Another year slipped by. Finally, I was ready to unveil my new baby and submit the cherished manuscript to a lucky editor. I formulated new affirmations: “An editor out there is waiting for THE JAGUAR LEGACY,” and, “THE JAGUAR LEGACY is a mega-best-seller.” After the first five, or maybe it was six, rejections, I admitted to myself, to God, and to my critique group that there might, just might, be a teeny, tiny problem with my writing. I hit on the brilliant idea of entering contests. At least, I thought, I would receive feedback on what I was doing wrong.
Boy, when I’m right, I’m right! Learning can be humbling. I soon discovered that the only way to survive the crushing blows of constructive criticism would be to treat the entire process as an academic exercise—an advanced degree in novel writing, so to speak. So each time the contest results arrived, my first priority was to consume my entire body weight in chocolate. Then, I shoved my ego out of the way, analyzed the judges’ comments, and absorbed the critique. After all, I had paid for this punishment and I wanted my money’s worth.
Turns out I had made every beginner’s mistake in the book. For the next twelve months, I removed all head-hopping; I chopped the dreaded back story from the first five chapters; I ridded my book of pesky adverbs by making each verb as punchy as possible; I switched from passive to active tense; I threw away my first three chapters and started the story at the beginning of the action; I forced my characters to confront their greatest fears; I trashed some of my favourite scenes because they didn’t move the plot ahead; I ramped up the suspense; I addressed all five senses; I anchored all conversations to specific actions so there were no ‘talking heads’; I made sure I described the location of each scene; I switched to deep third person point of view. I nipped, I tucked, I tightened, and I never stopped learning my craft.
Little by little, the comments grew more complimentary. On August 18, 2006, the moment I had been dreaming of for three years arrived. Twenty-one rejections, six tons of chocolate, six hundred and ninety-seven re-writes, and two first prizes later, I received ‘The Call’ from Lachesis Publishing for my first book, The Jaguar Legacy.
And it all began with a single thought.
Maureen Fisher is the author of the paranormal romantic suspense novel, THE JAGUAR LEGACY. You can visit her website at www.booksbymaureen.com.
Tags: Pump Up Your Book Promotion, virtual book tour, Maureen Fisher, The Jaguar Legacy, paranormal romantic suspense
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Writing is one of those professions where the supply is way, way greater than the demand. That means there's only room for a certain number of authors to have their books published other than vanity publishing, paying to have it done. All that means is that you have to work at your craft until you're the one out of a hundred who gets their novel published by a legitimate publishing house.
I began writing in 1990 and almost immediately fell prey to a scam artist masquerading as an "agent". That one mistake, not doing the research necessary to find a decent agent, cost me probably ten years of not seeing my work published. I almost gave up when the scam was revealed, but then persisted, knowing I did good work, but now I had to overcome the onus of having been mixed up with crooks and sham publishing houses.
In essence, I started all over, just about the time E-books, sometimes called electronic or digital publishing came along. I kept writing and posted a couple of my novels on the internet where they were seen by an E-book publisher and the rest, as they say, is history.
Within a few years I became an icon of the E-book industry and this year, after winning the Dream Realm Award for best science fiction novel of the year, found that I have won every major award offered by the e-book industry.
In the meantime, my novels were slowly finding their way into print as trade paperbacks, borne on my reputation as an e-book author. Now, with most of them in print and with Savage Survival being published in hard cover I feel as if I have finally arrived. And if that wasn't enough proof for me, I was asked to collaborate on a new novel with Travis S. Taylor, a noted scientist and best selling science fiction author for Baen Books. This book, Human By choice, will be published in July of 2008.
But I repeat: none of this came about through any secret. I worked and kept working. I tried and kept trying to make my work better. I didn't give up in the face of adversity. All this can be found in my autobiography which is a story in itself. Fans began asking about my life. I published some excerpts of it on my web site and a publisher found it interesting enough to ask me to turn it into a book. It has been published as an E-book under the title Darrell Bain's World Of Books and will come out in print in 2008 under the same title.
Secrets? There aren't any secrets. Get to work. Keep writing. Study your craft. Don't give up. And don't waste your time trying to find a secret to getting published. There isn't one.
Darrell Bain is the author of SAVAGE SURVIVAL (Twilight Times Books, Sept. '07). You can visit his website at www.darrellbain.com.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
And then one day--because I'm a hopeless romantic--I picked up a sweet Harlequin romance. My first reaction was, "These would be sooo easy to write," so I decided to become a romance author. This attitude, of course, was extremely arrogant of me, because they are not easy to write, but what did I know? So, I wielded my word processor, pumped out 50,000 of the most awful words ever strung together, and sent them to an editor (which she promptly rejected)...and then I strung together 60,000 words that were not quite as bad as the first 50K, but still not near enough to good to be considered a viable story. This is the road to publishing--putting together words that don't work until your craft is honed to the point where the letters you string together are not just words, but a journey, a getaway for your reader which takes them to another place for a time. I've found over the years, that unless I apply three distinct Ps to my writing, I do not find success, and so I try always to keep them in mind. Those three Ps are: Practice, Prioritization, and Perseverance.
Practice: never stop learning. I've been writing seriously now for almost twenty years, and I can still find ways to improve my skill. I listen to constructive criticism, tips from other successful authors, I read similar pieces to analyze how others construct stories, and then I utilize the information to write my own stories. To write is the only way I can improve my writing. I think of it in the same way I would a sport: I can't win the game if I don't show up for the practices. The adage is true: Practice makes Perfect.
Prioritization: Unless I make time to write, I don't get any writing done. It doesn't matter how much I want to write, if I let other things get in the way, then no words are formed, no story woven. And in turn, no story submitted for publication. So, I deliberately allot time to write.
Perseverance: My novel, The Resurrection of Lady Somerset (Sept. 2007), is a testament to perseverance. When I wrote this one, I submitted it to a contest in which it took second place. I was thrilled, and thought it would be picked up right away. It wasn't. But I wasn't discouraged. Rejection is a part of publishing. But, during this time, I experienced some things within the publishing world which made me decide to hang up my ink and quill, and I chose to forget this business of publishing novels. I turned my attention strictly to Christian non-fiction (which I still do write).
There's a funny coincidence to publishing: If you're not submitting, you're not selling. I wasn't selling any novels, but then, I wasn't submitting any, either.
And then, one day, after many years, a friend of mine asked me to help with a writers' conference--and I started thinking about this manuscript I had laying in a drawer (well, in a file on my computer). This story was my pinnacle to the point at which I wrote it, and it was a shame I had laid it aside. The bug was back. I opened up the manuscript read it. And you know what I found? The story wasn't half bad. Of course, because I'd continued to write (albeit, non-fiction) I could see flaws in the text, and so I edited the manuscript and submitted it to a publisher--who promptly rejected it! I began to feel as if the story would never be published. But I still did not give up. I submitted again. Eventually, it found a home--and then it received a 4-Star review from Romantic Times Magazine! Where would this story be had I not persevered through the rejections? And how long ago would it have been published if I had not taken a hiatus in submitting it? Perseverance is the key.
So, my advice to novices: Utilize the three Ps: Practice, Prioritization, and Perseverance. But more importantly, enjoy your writing; publication should be the icing, not the cake.
Nicola Beaumont is the author of THE RESURRECTION OF LADY SOMERSET (Wild Rose Press, Sept. '07). You can visit her website at http://www.inicola.net/.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
I wanted to get the book published before I turned fifty, just a life goal of mine I guess, so I was turned off by what I was reading about mainstream publishers and how stacked the odds were against me being a first time unknown author. I downloaded the Internet Book "The Fine Print" and read the comparisons of self publishing houses and came upon iUniverse. After submitting the book to them and receiving their input, I realized the book needed even more work to make it as good as it could be. After an additional full edit and a proofread, I finally had the quality of book I wanted. Unfortunately, I learned the harsh reality that no matter how good the book was, there were some mainstream publishing companies that wouldn't even touch a self-published book no matter whether they liked my pitch or not(or so they said) and embarked on self marketing. Happily, I learned later that even if I didn't self publish, I would very likely be marketing the book myself anyway.
My words of wisdom?
Read everything you can about traditional publishing and self publishing before making your decision( both online, at your local library and your local book store, there's a lot there). There are distinct advantages and disadvantages to both. If you decide to self publish, get a copy of the downloadable book “The Fine Print” which will enable you to compare all of the self publishers so that you can make an informed decision. Also check out Angela Hoy’s Whispers and Warnings section of writersweekly.com After I chose to self publish, I picked iUniverse because even though I was a demanding author, they persevered with me. Once you have chosen your path, then get ready as the old indian in The Outlaw Josie Wales said to "endeavor to persevere."
Steven M. Reilly is the author of the sports memoir, THE FAT LADY NEVER SINGS: HOW A HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL TEAM FOUND REDEMPTION ON THE BASEBALL DIAMOND. You can visit his website at http://www.thefatladyneversings.com/.
Tags: Publishing Secrets of Authors, book publishing, virtual book tour, public relations firm, blogging authors, book promotion, book publicist, Steven M. Reilly
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
The next week I signed a contract with Nightengale Press and went to work in earnest to get my book finished by January 1, 2007. It was a deadline we both thought was realistic. What I had not expected to encounter was having the field of stem cell research change so rapidly. I kept finding new material and meeting new people in the field. It was hard to find a stopping place! My deadline came and went, and I was still digging through the material I had gathered. Still more was coming in.
I was almost ready to send the manuscript to Valerie at the end of January. That’s when I met Don C. Reed. Don has a son named Roman who was paralyzed in a college football accident ten years ago. He established the Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act, “Roman’s law” and has gathered more than $40 million to research geared toward the cure of paralysis. He also worked on the passage of California’s Proposition 71 and knew everyone in the stem cell research field. I spent the next two months collecting more information that really needed to go into the book. In fact, the book wouldn’t have the punch it carries without the information I gathered from Don and his colleagues.
Finally, the book had to go to print if it was going to meet the printing date and go with Valerie to BEA in June. After the galley copy was printed full of errors but time was up! I continued to rewrite, edit and polish the book. I sent 24 pages of changes to the text for the final version. Since Lightning Source had to make so many changes after they have set up the print.
The final version will be printed at the end of this month.
Author of RIGHT TO RECOVER: WINNING THE POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS WARS OVER STEM CELL RESEARCH IN AMERICA
Tags: Publishing Secrets of Authors, book publishing, virtual book tour, public relations firm, blogging authors, book promotion, book publicist, Yvonne Perry
Thursday, September 13, 2007
With that dream firmly in my mind, I devoted more time to my writing and learning more about my craft. I ended up taking an adult education class taught by none other than Fern Michaels, a New York Times best-selling author. She also turned out to be a neighbor at time which was quite exciting. Fern was delightful as a teacher and very down to earth. She also surprised me by asking for my manuscript when the class was over – she wanted to send it to her editor because she thought I had potential.
I was floored and so happy. Fern did send it out, but it wasn’t quite right for her publisher who asked me to write something contemporary. I tackled that and a two years later, had a new book. I sent that one out repeatedly, but it didn’t sell. In the meantime, I had started work on yet another book when I attended a NJRW conference (a great conference by the way. This year it’s on Oct 5 and 6). I met Gwynne Forster there and we started talking about our projects. She told me to send my book back to Kensington and I did. A few weeks later I got a letter saying that while that book was too long, did I have another. Included in the letter were a set of guidelines. I knew my new novel would work and sent it out.
It sold and eventually I would sell another 7 to Kensington. A success story some might say, and yes, it was until the line I was writing for folded.
By then I was in the mood to write something darker and started a vampire story. I began to shop it around and all I heard was, “It’ll never sell. No one is buying vampires.”
That didn’t stop me. I had to write this book and I did over a Christmas break. I shopped it around some more and ran into a Harlequin editor who I knew. She asked me what I was working on and I explained, only I knew it wasn’t right for them. Imagine my surprise when she said, “Send it.” I did and after many months of negotiations and revisions, Harlequion acquired what would become the first book in the ongoing THE CALLING vampire novels (I am working on another 3 for 2008 and 2009 which will bring it 10 books in the series).
So, what was I to do next? I’d done contemporary romances and was starting to build a name in paranormals. I needed a change of pace and decided I wanted to do a story about female relationships. Four friends actually in sexy South Beach . I had an agent by then and was certain that editors would receive it well and so with the synopsis and three chapters done, we sent it off.
What happened? Editors knew I could write a romance and I could write vampires, but could I write something about relationships? I quickly found out I had to write the entire book. Not easy to do when you are already working a full-time job, but I went home and so as to not lose momentum, worked on that book every free hour I had.
A month later, the book was done and within a few weeks, I had accepted an offer from Simon & Schuster for that book – SEX AND THE SOUTH BEACH CHICAS – and three others. SOUTH BEACH CHICAS CATCH THEIR MAN is the follow-up to the first story. I knew when I had finished the first book that the stories of all the friends were not yet over. In particular, I wanted to explore the relationship between Sylvia and Carlos, but also, the relationship between Sylvia and her mother, Virginia, since it reminded me so much of the friendship and love that my mom and I had shared. Plus, I wanted to show that forty-something women could be sexy!
I guess the moral of this story is – never give up. The publishing road is one filled with detours, bumps and sometimes immense potholes, but if writing is your passion, you’ll find a way to navigate around those obstacles and keep to your journey.
Author of SOUTH BEACH CHICAS CATCH THEIR MAN
Tags: Publishing Secrets of Authors, book publishing, virtual book tour, public relations firm, blogging authors, book promotion, book publicist, Caridad Pineiro
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
When I had produced my fifth novel, a friend suggested that I contact an agent and gave me an address in Sarasota. I contacted the agent and was immediately accepted. However, I soon found that it was not a good agency to be with and withdrew my work. This discouraged me from sending out my work to anyone else.
Wanting to improve my writing, I joined a writers' group at our local college. The lecturer who headed the group was very complimentary about my work and strongly suggested I tried approaching a publisher but I was still not convinced. However, when my husband also started badgering me to submit, I started looking for a suitable publisher to approach. As all my work is done on the computer, it was to the interned I turned in my search. I wanted a publishing house that would accept electronic submissions but, sadly, there appeared to be none in the UK, so I turned my attentions to the USA. To my delight, there were several publishers who would accept submissions by e-mail and I contacted All Romance Books who appeared to be seeking the type of novels I wrote. To my utter delight they immediately offered me contracts on both the books I had submitted. 'Dominic' was published in July, 2005 but sadly, before 'My Dearest Friend' reached the shelves, due to the owner's demise, the company closed.
At this time, I was awaiting a heart bypass and, believing I had had my five minutes of fame, I just didn't have the energy to start approaching new publishers. However, shortly after my surgery, purely as a morale booster and heartened by my previous success, I decided to seek publication once more. This time, I sent out three manuscripts and was amazed to receive contracts for all three within six weeks. I was to be a published author once again! Wings ePress took 'Dominic' and 'My Dearest Friend', whilst Triskelion took 'The Portrait'. I then submitted yet another to Wings, 'His Shadowed Heart' and they took that too.Everything appeared to be going exceedingly well until, just before 'The Portrait's' September release date, Triskelion went into liquidation.
So far, the review sites have been very generous about my books and it has encouraged me to continue with my quest for publication. I currently have two more manuscripts out with publishing houses but, for the moment, my rights to 'The Portrait' are still tied up in the bankruptcy hearing. However, once they are released, I will be looking for another home for that too.
In the main, I write solely for myself with no thoughts to markets or trends, I just listen to my characters telling their stories. Publication is a very exciting and rewarding bonus and I am constantly amazed and delighted that others enjoy my work.
I would say to anyone who has the desire to write - just do it - you will be surprised at what you can achieve.
Author of DOMINIC
Tags: Publishing Secrets of Authors, book publishing, virtual book tour, public relations firm, blogging authors, book promotion, book publicist, Hazel Statham
Monday, September 10, 2007
The road, throughout the novel is representative of one’s life path and sense of curiosity and discovery. I spent years coming very close to the publication of this book through the Irene Rodgers Literary Association but as close as it was, it didn't get published. I eventually put it on hold for years until I was motivated to attempt it once more.
As time went by, I realized that I had to include the events of the World Trade Towers but needed to wait until it wouldn’t seem as if I was using those events just to capitalize on public sentiment. As it turns out, the waiting was for the better. The characters lived in New York City at this time and it gave me a chance to expand upon the themes echoed throughout the book as well as break a few rules and show a glimpse of the secondary character in her own words. I’m sure I will receive much criticism for the breach, but I don’t care, as rules are made to be broken occasionally. Considering those who do the criticizing most of the time, those critics usually have nothing to show and have taken no chances in the fields that they critique.
The first Saturday in October 2004, I woke up and couldn’t move my left leg at all. I had a fever over 102 and had my wife, Joan take me to the Emergency Room. It was there that I was diagnosed with a spinal infection, probably caused by cortisone injections. Dr. Derrick Duke -the man who saved Roy Horn’s life after Montecore, the tiger that had just about severed Mr. Horn’s head from his body accidentally at the Siegfried and Roy Show at the Mirage -was called in and he explained the severity of my situation. Far from routine, I would be fighting for my life. I underwent a 5-hour emergency operation that and afterwards had Vancomycin intravenously pumped into my arm directly to my heart for the next eight weeks to fight off the spinal infection.
On the second day after the operation, while in critical condition, about 2 AM in the morning, still hooked up to the heart monitors in ICU, my heart stopped for 12 seconds. I experienced an out-of-body phenomena that catapulted me into another world. This happened twice while I was there. My experience was very similar to the fiction I had written in this book many years ago. Much like the character Chris, I came back with a different understanding and as I fought to come back to the living, the transition left me with a totally changed perspective. It was my life imitating my own art. I spent the next five weeks wired-up in the hospital.
In January of 2005, Dr. Duke operated on my neck and screwed a titanium butterfly on my cervical spine and I got the use of my right arm back.
In short, I recovered, although my left leg is still disabled from nerve damage that is more than likely permanent, I moved on with a new determination to get this book published among other things. I went through incredible things with my near death experience. It showed me that the things I believed in, the core of my beliefs, were really right in line with what I went through. This reinforcement of my life’s search renewed the vigor of discovery within me and gave me the impetus to push forward and get this book published.
I chose a "print on demand" (not a vanity press) publishing house as the major publishers cannot be bothered with new authors. Almost all publishing houses are headed to POD as it is cost effective and it eliminates returns from bookstores. Remember, it's about money and unless you are a celebrity or a murderer or both, you have little chance of them signing you unless you are a proven commodity.
Once published, now comes the hard part, getting it read, getting it sold. There is no one way or miracle formula. It is persistence of effort, constantly keeping alert to opportunities to promote and market yourself. It will cost you money and time even if you are published with Random House or Doubleday. You have to promote yourself. If you can afford the cost get a public relations firm to assist you nationally with radio interviews and book reviews (fewer and fewer newspapers even do reviews of books now). Call your hometown newspaper, try sending copies to local periodicals for review.
The measure of your success depends on what level you want to achieve. Be careful that you do not set unrealistic goals and set yourself up for failure and despondence. Take a little chunk at a time. Start with a web presence, create a blog, get your family to buy the book (a major task believe me!), get your friends to buy the book even though they expect it for free because "you are their friend." Explain to them how they should support your cause as once your "make it" you will mention their name on Oprah's show. Tell them anything, just get sales going before your book goes into obscurity.
Stay positive. Many people will tear into your to make themselves look good.
Accept reality. Perhaps your book isn't up to snuff. Go back an rewrite and make it clear to your audience and target market.
Don't assume! Never assume that the world needs another book.
Why is yours so special?
What makes it stand out? Does it stand out? Remember this-your finished a novel. 99% of the people who start one don't and rarely does anyone even begin one. You are part of 3 billion people in this world. Do the percentages. One percent of 3 billion is 30 million, one tenth of that is 3 million and one tenth of that is 300,000 and that is roughly how many books get published each year. That means you have 1/100th of a chance to be a part of 300,000 books that are for sale. That's a sobering thought! So don't get your hopes up or your expectations too high. On the other hand, do it for you! That's who counts anyway. You did it, you accomplished an incredible thing. Don't downplay it because you aren't on Oprah, or the movie of the week isn't based on your book. Life is about the little things. Enjoy them and be proud! Smell the roses.
Author of ONLY MOMENTS
Friday, September 7, 2007
Getting my book Three Steps to Investment Success: Buying the Right Art, Antiques, and Collectibles into print has been a bigger struggle than I thought it would be. But in contrast to many authors who apparently spend years and their health trying to interest the publishing powers-that-be in trying to publish their works, I thought, after a a very short struggle--what the hell am I doing?
Let me explain.
I tried mainstream agents and one publisher, was told I had writing talent, but found that a combination of bias against the topic and a lack of interest in this specialized area--even sans any submittal on my part--seemed to doom the effort. Keep in mind that except for one feeble effort published in the early 1980's, I believe that my book is truly the only book on the topic of art, antiques, and collectibles investment in the whole corpus of published literature.
After a fairly short period of dealing with rejection, I thought--what the hey--all the tools for self publishing and promotion already exist in the computer. Not only that, but assuming as an unpublished author the IF I managed to land a contract through an agent for a book, my compensation for that initial contract would probably be in the low thousands of dollars (I make that in a few days as an appraiser), I would be in bed with several partners and have to jump through their hoops, and would receive fractional compensation on any copies sold!
So I had a website design team design my book and put it into adobe format. Then I featured my book for sale on my own website, downloadable (with a security key to prevent unauthorized internet distribution) and payable with a credit card. It certainly seems cheaper and easier than going the traditional route, and perhaps more lucrative if done correctly...
I feel that going through the internet has to open doors for authors, and that correctly done, it must prove some kind of threat eventually to traditional publishers. Anybody can publish now.
Author of THREE STEPS TO INVESTMENT SUCCESS: BUYING THE RIGHT ART, ANTIQUES, AND COLLECTIBLES
Tags: Publishing Secrets of Authors, book publishing, virtual book tour, public relations firm, blogging authors, book promotion, book publicist, Scott Zema, art appraiser
Monday, September 3, 2007
Ironically, as a child, I wasn't much of a creative person. When I was in an early grade, I was given an assignment by the teacher that no one else got. While the other students were to write a creative story of their own, I was already given a story to work with. My job was to fill in the missing details as to how the main character solved his problems. This was my first experience in creative writing. I later wrote and illustrated a storybook about a spider and a tortoise that was pretty silly, but I did enjoy the experience, and the teacher loved it.
In my teens, I wrote fiction for the Rugrats, All Grown Up, and later, Futurama. Last year before the Christmas season, I wrote a christmas-themed fiction story for the animated movie "Cats Don't Dance," which was posted on Christmas day.
My writing career as a novelist began in September 2001, not long after the events of 9/11. I even dedicated "Alien Conflict" to those who lost their lives in the tragedy as well as those who struggled for world peace which was a very serious issue in the book. This however was my weakest book in terms of story telling as I never bothered having it proofread. It didn't sell many copies as well, almost all of them were bought by my dad to sell in his store, and he still hasn't sold them all.
My second written book was "Hellfire Apocalypse", published in 2004, one and a half years after Alien Conflict was published. It too was a weak work, and hardly sold any copies at all before the publisher went out of business.
My third recently published book is also my most ambitious. "Partially Human", based on my own experiences of being different and living with Asperger Syndrome, is the story about a teenager who suddenly finds his life turned upside down when a shocking personal secret about him is revealed that he is carrying the genes of a dying alien species. Now, all he has left are his family, friends, girlfriend, and a select few others who come to sympathize with his plight.
Partially Human deals with many issues that are very real to teens and young adults in society. Each of the major characters faces at least one of these issues that happens to people in real life, such as being alienated, a teen unwed mother, drug usage, loss of family, domestic violence, abuse, and finding where you belong.
I spent three months on the rough draft of Partially Human, then spent the next three years in my spare time doing some serious editting, proof-reading, and reading it over. When I was finally satisfied, I searched for a publisher. Everyone I submitted it to rejected it. It was finally accepted by one publisher, but it went out of business before publication was completed. Finally, I found Infinity Publishing, and in late April, I held the proof-copy in my hand. The finalized product was published in May, and I am very proud of how it turned out.
I hope to get my message out to the readers that we can live in a world without prejudice and ignorance, and instead, live in a world where people are accepted for who they are and not rejected for being different.
Friday, August 31, 2007
I was thrilled--but dumb. With contract in hand, I should have found an agent before I signed. Because I knew no other published writers, I didn't have anyone to go to for advice. When I received my author copies, instead of using them to get reviews, I gave them away to friends and family. I told you I was dumb.
Of course I thought the way would be easy from there--was I ever wrong. The editor who bought my book at Dorchester left, and when I sent in my next book, her replacement wasn't interested.
I found a publisher for it--Two Ways West. The books looked wonderful, but the publisher turned out to be a crook--eventually I got all the books that were printed and sold them myself. Since that time, I published it myself and sold out several times.
This all took a lot of time, and I was writing and writing. Mysteries mostly. I've had two publishers who died and was electronically published, long before anyone knew much about that including the publisher.
And yes, I've had agents, several over the years, but basically found publishers on my own.
Now I'm happily published by Mundania Press and a couple of other e-publishers. The second in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series coming from Mundania, Judgment Fire, will be out this month and can be purchased from http://www.mundaniapress/, or through my website, http://fictionforyou.com/ or ordered through your local bookstore.
My advice to all new authors who are having trouble finding a publisher, is look for new avenues of publishing, but do some investigating and find out what other authors of that publisher have to say. Though writing is a complicated business that keeps changing, it is a business. Learn as much as you can. It's all out there on the Internet, easy to find out. Never let rejections get you down. Keep writing and submitting.
Author of JUDGMENT FIRE
NEW BLOG at http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com/
Tags: Publishing Secrets of Authors, book publishing, virtual book tour, public relations firm, blogging authors, book promotion, book publicist, Marilyn Meredith
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
The idea of writing a fantasy with Latin mythology woven throughout had been with me since my days as a bilingual teacher in a LA county school. I loved fantasies but was sick of the usual British-orphan-is-the-chosen-one. Plus I was taking post graduate classes, one of which was Chicano Studies, that opened my eyes to the rich history of my own ancestors.
I learned so much those two years. Plus I couldn’t deny the yearning I had to go back to writing. I’ve always been a writer but put it aside when a college professor told me that I wouldn’t be a great novelist until I experienced more of life. I was only nineteen at the time but his words crushed me. But after nearly twenty years, I decided to try again.
I started by taking a novel writing class at UCI extension program. While there I met my now writing mentor Lou Nelson. She helped me learn how to do plot work and actually write my story using a story paradigm. I learned about character arcs, faulty thinking, and denouements. I also found my passion of writing had never left me.
But I found having a newborn, teaching full time, and writing was a hard balancing act. I decided to take some time off from teaching. It then took me another two years to write and finish the first draft of Earrings. I went to a number of writing conferences to help me network with other writers. I also got to pitch my story to some agents and editors. The biggest highlight for me was meeting one of my favorite fantasy writers, Terry Brooks, at the Maui Writers Conference. He asked me which of his books was my favorite and when I told him, he admitted that was his too.
Writing the story is the easy part. Then came the querying. At first came the form letter ‘no’ but then some personal comments came back. But the one that really helped was from an editor of a YA imprint who took the time out of his very busy schedule to offer to help me with suggestions on how to strengthen my story. I called. He went over what my strengths were and then gave me very valuable feedback on how to tighten my story. No, he didn’t offer me a contract but I’ll never forget his kindness. Yes, I sent him a thank you card. And, yes, I used the suggestions he gave which ended up making my story stronger.
I ended up going with an epublisher who’s idea of making e-serials out of stories intrigued me. I thought Earrings would be perfect fit. Plus I love unique ways of doing things. A month later my book came out in e-book format and now it’s out in print.
The one thing I’ve learned through the whole process of writing and publishing Earrings is this; don’t give up. Try, try, and try again. Also if an agent or editor offers suggestions, take him/her up on it. I know this sounds cliché but each ‘no’ is a footstep toward receiving that elusive ‘yes’.
Author of EARRINGS OF IXTUMEA
Tags: Publishing Secrets of Authors, book publishing, virtual book tour, public relations firm, blogging authors, book promotion, book publicist, Kim Baccellia
Monday, August 20, 2007
After more than 3,000 client lunches and seeing my sales increase by more than 2000%, I knew I was onto something. I wanted to share my success secrets with other sales people. And I wanted to become an author. After 18 years of selling advertising, I was ready for a change and I chose writing. Yes, that part is simple enough. As a huge advocate of the Law of Attraction, I knew that I would be able to create whatever I wanted.
I began writing on Sundays, while working a 60+ hour week selling advertising for a magazine. Even my days off were packed with chores and my evenings were spent with clients. No one ever becomes a huge success working a 40-hour work week. Study the people you admire and you will learn that most of them work most of the time.
I began writing my book, “The Art of the Business Lunch ~ Building Relationships Between 12 and 2” in March of 2001. (http://www.robinjay.com/). I had received a dreadful diagnosis and didn’t think I would live to see that summer. After being healed, I knew I needed to change directions, so I threw myself into my writing. Then came 9/11. I thought my topic seemed frivolous and that professionals would never “do lunch” again. Well, even though nothing will ever be the same, life goes on…and people still needed to eat and conduct their business, so back to writing I went.
In September, 2003, I attended the Maui Writer’s Conference. It was a divine experience and I loved it so much. I really started to feel like a writer. I worked with renewed passion. It was hard not being able to recharge my batteries between working so hard at the magazine and then working non-stop at home on weekends.
Then, in November, something happened at work that compelled me to review my situation. I decided that I had enough money saved up to resign from my job, work through my 6-month non-compete, get my book published and reevaluate my situation.
Well, after 6 months of working for myself, I knew I would not be returning to advertising sales any time soon. I am a wonderful boss! I self-published my book and hosted a tremendously successful launch. I sold out the banquet room for a book launch luncheon at the Las Vegas Palm Restaurant to more than 80 guests and the following week, we did it again for about 40 more guests. Everyone bought lunch and a copy of my book. It was a tremendous experience.
The reason I self-published was because I could not entice an agent in Maui and I did not know any other way to get one, other than to attend writer’s conferences and pitch and pitch and pitch. All of the agents seemed to believe that my book was nothing more than a magazine article. I knew otherwise. There is a lot to know about building relationships in business. There is so much going on that a business lunch is never just about lunch. And what about the job interview luncheon, the networking luncheons, etiquette and appropriate behavior? What can you hope to accomplish from a business lunch done right? Is it ever okay to order alcohol? When should you bring up the subject of business? And how can you avoid awkward silence, since sometimes a business lunch can be as uncomfortable as a blind date?!
In June, I attended the Book Expo America in Chicago and found a distributor. By September, I was looking for a publicist. I met Bambe Levine, who is in New York City, through a mutual friend. We hooked up and got along wonderfully well. She read my book and wondered why I was not with an agent. I told her that the agents I had met in Maui didn’t believe in my project. She quickly rattled off the names of three of the top literary agents in New York City. I called them all and they each said they would love to work with me. Ahhh – connections. I guess the literary world is no different from every other world.
I signed with Al Zuckerman, founder of Writers House and before long, he came to me with an offer from Career Press, a trade, non-fiction publishing house. My book was right up their alley. He advised I take the deal and I did. And the rest, as they say, is history. I had to pull my self-published edition off of Amazon and was only allowed to sell it directly, in the back of the room, when I was speaking professionally. This sale, as rewarding as it was, set me back a year. That was hard financially, since my monthly expenses did not change from my ad sales days.
Today, my book has been sold in TEN languages worldwide and my speaking career is solid. I have contributed to two anthology books in “The POWER of Mentorship” series, including “The Millionaire Within” and “For the Woman Entrepreneur.” Filming is underway on “The POWER of Mentorship: The Movie” and I am a featured mentor in the film. And I recently learned that I just had a chapter accepted into “Chicken Soup for the Wine Lover’s Soul,” due out in November.
I haven’t stopped! The leap of faith I took paid off. I didn’t believe that the agents I met with in Maui knew more than I did about the appeal of “The Art of the Business Lunch.” Having been in sales for so many years, I knew that I was sitting on a great book with a great topic that people would want to read. I literally did whatever it took to get published…and, believe me, it took a LOT! I work at least 12 hours every day, promoting my book and myself. Being a professional speaker has also proven to be tremendously rewarding. I enjoy sharing with others and I know I am doing what I was meant to do. I speak on many topics aside from the business lunch, including Business Protocol & Etiquette, the Special Secret of Sales Success and Understanding Different Personality Profiles. It’s been an incredible journey and one that is definitely not for everyone. But for me? It’s been like coming home.
Author of THE ART OF THE BUSINESS LUNCH
Tags: Publishing Secrets of Authors, book publishing, virtual book tour, public relations firm, blogging authors, book promotion, book publicist, Robin Jay
Thursday, August 16, 2007
It helped that I had several other books which had been published previously and I am a motivational speaker. Publishers today want to work with someone who will promote the book as much if not more than they do. I do three things every day to promote the book.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
All of my books, web teaching, articles, workshops, etc. since that time have been inspired by The Enchanted Self. That even includes my newest book, THE TRUTH, I'm Ten, I'm Smart and I Know Everything!
But back to my story. An acquisition's editor from an academic press, Gordon and Breach, came up to me at that conference and we began to talk. She felt that my Enchanted Self material had the makings of an academic book. I was delighted but a little shocked. Long story short, she worked with me over several months to develop the outline, begin the first chapters, etc. Kathleen O'Malley was wondeful and I am forever grateful. That book came out about two years later after many adventures, including being printed but waiting in the belly of a ship for months off the coast of Singapore. When I finally had THE ENCHANTED SELF, A Positive Therapy in my hands I was practically ecstatic You can find that book which is a wonderful easy read, even though geared to people with some understanding of the therapeutic process on my website or Amazon, etc.
I'm going to skip now to THE TRUTH, I'm Ten, I'm Smart and I Know Everything. I was so shocked when this book came to me, as it is such a different format than all my other writings. It is fiction, and an easy read. But I knew instantly I was in touch with positive universal truths that had to be shared. I also knew this was the best format-a girl's diary. I tried a couple of agents with no success. Then I couldn't hold any longer. I know this book will have wonderful adventures and I'm ready to roll. I already have the framework for a movie version and/or a play.
I just had to jump in and get started. I couldn't go through agent after agent.and loose my momentum. Thankfully, I found a wonderful women's press ready to publish it: LadyBug Press. Georgia Jones, the publisher is a great, talented woman and helped me all the way. Check out her books and internet radio shows at www.ladybuglive.com And that is most of the story. But not all-there is the wonderful professor in China who has already translated THE TRUTH into Chinese and then there is the second book in what I realize is a series-already more than half written. In the first book the girl is 10-11 and in the second book she is 12-14 and still teaching us wisdom and reminding us of all we can be.
My words of wisdom are to stick to your dreams but always be ready to think and create your book into a reality, our of the box!
Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
Author, THE TRUTH, I'M TEN, I'M SMART AND I KNOW EVERYTHING
Tags: Publishing Secrets of Authors, book publishing, virtual book tour, public relations firm, blogging authors, book promotion, book publicist, Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
Thursday, July 26, 2007
lovely cps thankfully stopped me before I started writing my serial killer idea!!).
However, after a particularly brutal rejection, I did consider packing the whole thing in. Of course this didn't last very long, but after a dark night of the souls, I decided that there was a good chance that I might never get published and that therefore I should just start writing the sort of books I really wanted to write.
The next book I wrote still didn't get me an agent, but the rejections were getting a lot more detailed and I felt like I was getting closer. Then my dad died, and on the day of his funeral I kept imagining that he was somewhere upstairs supplying an alternative commentary to his funeral. This was the trigger for a book idea and I wrote it, got an agent and a book sale all within six months of his death - which after six years of trying, all suddenly felt a little bit surreal (in the best possible way of course!!)
The book, You Had Me at Halo, is actually coming out on August 7th and I've since sold two young adult books to Puffin.
Author of You Had Me at Halo (August 2007 NAL)
Zombie Queen of Newbury High (Spring 2009 Puffin)
Tags: Publishing Secrets of Authors, book publishing, virtual book tour, public relations firm, blogging authors, book promotion, book publicist, Amanda Ashby, You Had Me At Halo