Friday, August 29, 2014

Book Publishing Secrets with Bestselling Author Donna Galanti

Donna Galanti writes murder and mystery with a dash of steam as well as middle grade adventure fiction. She is the author of books 1 and 2 in the paranormal suspense Element Trilogy, A Human Element and A Hidden Element, the short story collection The Dark Inside, and Joshua and The Lightning Road (Books 1 and 2, 2015). She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. She now lives in Pennsylvania with her family in an old farmhouse. It has lots of writing nooks, fireplaces, and stink bugs, but she’s still wishing for a castle again—preferably with ghosts. 


Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
I started writing books from grief after my mom died. It healed me. It comforted me. And eventually my grief turned to peace and then joy at discovering what I love to do. Write stories and create characters to love (and hate).

I knew the biggest tribute to my mom would be to write the book idea I came up with seventeen years ago. It came to me in a vision one day driving to work. I wrote the first two chapters and shelved it for over a decade. My mom was the first person I shared it with, and I started writing it again after her death and that became my debut novel, A Human Element, book one in the Element Trilogy. One day soon after I woke up with a vision for book two, A Hidden Element, and wrote the first chapter.

Is this your first book?
No, this is the second book in the Element Trilogy to be published.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
A Hidden Element is being released through a wonderful Canadian small press, Imajin Books, run by bestselling author, Cheryl Kae Tardif, an acclaimed author and marketing force. I knew I wanted to go through a small press and one with marketing chops, and I was so lucky that Imajin Books not only picked up book two in the Element Trilogy, A Hidden Element, but also picked up book 1, A Human Element, and just re-released that this summer!
I acquired a literary agent for my children’s books (the first two books in my fantasy series Joshua and the Lightning Road debuts in 2015), but wanted to stay small press for my adult books. I like the personal interaction and attention with a small press, and also the speed of the editorial, design, and publishing process. Traditional publishing can take up to two years to get to print, this is something I wanted to do for my children’s books to have them release in hard cover with more exposure to librarians and brick-and-mortar bookstores.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
I like to consider myself a hybrid author. I have self-published (my short story collection, The Dark Inside, is about characters in the Element Trilogy), been published with a small press, and am now being represented by an agent in the traditional publishing vein. My author journey has been a journey of exploration. Being an author isn’t a one-stop journey with a final destination. It’s many journeys with different destinations. And we should never stop journeying as a writer, for in doing that we learn what we most desire – and the best path to take to becoming an author.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Every road I’ve taken the last five years has led to the next and the next and the next…many times those roads

weren’t paved, they were forged instantly from taking a risk. When I finished writing my debut novel, I knew I needed to meet other writers. Within a month I joined a writers organization, went to my first writing workshop, and my first writing conference where I pitched my debut novel there, A Human Element, and it got accepted by a small press.

While my debut novel was published with another small press, I was lucky to get my rights back this year and breathe new life into it by having it re-branded with the sequel by my new publisher, Imajin Books. Yes, there are second chances even in the publishing world!

And I don’t regret any of the lessons learned along the way as they all add to my toolkit on the writing craft and business world. My first publisher for my debut novel may not have been the ideal experience, but it opened many doors for me as it enabled me to become an International Thriller Writers Debut Author. In that role, I presented my novel at ThrillerFest and made many wonderful connections with legendary, bestselling, and other debut authors that have enriched my path as a writer. They’ve mentored me and shared advice and even blurbed my books. There is a great sense of camaraderie and pay-it-forward among writers. We want all writers to succeed. This isn’t a competition. J

Most importantly along the way what I learned is that while we may write alone, we can’t get published alone. We have to get out of our comfort zone and take risks to keep moving forward to make our author dream come true, in the face of great adversity.

Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
It’s an exciting time to be an author, that’s for sure, with so many roads to take. The best recommendation I can give is to explore, learn, become part of a writing community, and along the way you will discover the best publishing path for yourself. There is no one best path for everyone as we are all unique in our desires, needs, and dreams. Many authors find success by doing both traditional and independent publishing.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Just. Let. Go. Let go – of your ego that is. Accept constructive criticism and be open to improving your writing. I truly believe this is the biggest reason why I now have a wonderful agent as my champion and I have four books coming out in the next year with two wonderful publishers. And this is the biggest reason I see writer’s fail because they do not accept criticism and are not willing to do the hard work to make their writing better.

To succeed you cannot think your writing is perfect or that first draft is perfect or that your story can’t change. You cannot take it personal when a developmental editor tears apart your manuscript for you to re-work. This writing business is hard. If it were easy everyone would be doing it. This writing business is not going to be easy – it’s going to be worth it. For advice, inspiration, and tips on the writing craft and industry visit my Writer’s Corner.


Evil lurks within…

When Caleb Madroc is used against his will as part of his father’s plan to breed a secret community and infiltrate society with their unique powers, he vows to save his oppressed people and the two children kept from him. Seven years later, Laura and Ben Fieldstone’s son is abducted, and they are forced to trust a madman’s son who puts his life on the line to save them all. The enemy’s desire to own them—or destroy them—leads to a survival showdown. Laura and Ben must risk everything to defeat a new nemesis that wants to rule the world with their son, and Caleb may be their only hope—if he survives. But must he sacrifice what he most desires to do so?

"Chilling and dark…a twisty journey into another world." —J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of When Shadows Fall

"Fascinating…a haunting story…"—Rebecca Cantrell, New York Times bestselling author of The World Beneath

"Will keep you up long past your bedtime...a pulse-pounding read."—Allan Leverone, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Final Vector

Purchase Book 2 in the Element Trilogy, A Hidden Element:

Purchase Book 1 in the Element Trilogy, A Human Element:

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