Thursday, April 7, 2016

Book Publishing Secrets with Sylvia Dickey Smith

Book Title: Original Cyn
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Publisher: White Bird Publishing
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?
Sylvia: Well, you know, you can talk about writing a book only so long. I realized I had said it one time too many when a dear friend told me to stop talking about writing a book and put my rear in the chair and write it. Guess you could call that a “Put up our shut up.”
I penned this book out of a passion for questions. The first half of my life I’d been given answers that at mid-life no longer fit my questions. This story is about a woman much like me, who allowed her parents and then her husband to spoon-feed her pabulum. (Do parents still feed their children that stuff?) When events outside her control shatter her world and the answers no longer fit, how does she find her way out of the chaos?
Is this your first book?
Sylvia: No it isn’t. This is my seventh book. Four novels and a cookbook in the Sidra Smart Mystery Series and the WWII homefront historical fiction, A War Of Her Own.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Sylvia: I chose Indie press, White Bird Publishing. I chose White Bird because I was impressed by their commitment to not only publish, but to also market the book by personally attending book festivals all over the country. I was also impressed with their quality and responsiveness.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Sylvia: Wow. Big question. I suppose my journey has taken me down as many paths as exist in the business. After close to ninety rejections, I landed an agent for my first book,
Dance On His Grave, only to learn the adage, a bad agent is worse that no agent. We parted ways and I began the process of sending out another large number of query letters. My next agent seemed like she was ‘heaven sent.’ A few months later I discovered that no news is not always good news. The agent had closed her business three months earlier and not let me know.
After that, I approached a small Indie press who offered me a contract and published the first three of the Sidra Smart series. Later I moved to another Indie press.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Sylvia: I learned the publishing industry is not for the faint of heart. Plus, I learned the only way to go is to let each rejection you receive serve as fuel to the fire. Let the “No thank you” letters make you more determined to keep at it. When Neg Letters come, send out ten more query letters. Determination, persistence and bull-headedness works.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Sylvia: Indie publishing? Most definitely, for without them, many exceptional books would never get published. Authors write because they can’t not write.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Sylvia:

  • Write without blinking.
  • Continue to hone your craft.
  • Become part of a good critique group.
  • Associate with other writers.
  • Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.
  • Read your final copy out loud—every single solitary word—before you send it out.

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