Name: Jonisha Rios
Book Title: Curse of the Blue Vagina
Genre: Women's Fiction/ Humor
Publisher: Leticia Gomez Publisher/Cafe con Leche Books
Find out more at: Café con Leche - an imprint Koehler Books
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published. Is this your first book?
Yes it is my first book. I always knew I wanted to write a book but I never knew how I would do that. So to be frank it was discouraging at first and took a long time to finish. I always loved producing plays and commercials. For me that process was quick and easy and also unlike a film or a novel the thrill of seeing your work alive within just a few short weeks was gratifying. It takes time and for some its takes many years to find the right subject and write then re-write. Like a good movie you can write a screenplay often based on a novel and yet by the time we see the project on a movie screen, many find out that it took years to get it made.
For me to produce these pieces as plays just made sense because it was an instant process. I love directing and performing is second nature. Initially I wanted to create theatrical pieces that would allow me to be involved in all of the aspects of turning nothing into something from the word to the production. Man, is that magical. Those creations and artists that brought it all to life was always a joyful experience for me to be a part of. In the end some of those pieces are what became the material for this book.
I was a creative arts teacher for many years and putting pen to paper and then watching performers bring that work to life was truly magical. It wasn't until my son was born that I started to think about the possibility of creating my book and finishing it once and for all.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
I originally published through createspace and it was a good first try but the book wasn’t really ready until my agent, manager, and editor came along. It is nice to do things by yourself especially if you are the type of person who likes to make things happen and not wait around. The thing is, when a team joins in to support you it makes your work that much better.
Don’t get me wrong I love the idea of self- publishing, I tried it and recommend it the same way I recommend for actors to put up a solo-show. I believe if you are itching to do something, why wait, get it done, and put it out there. So many people are waiting for their “big break” and sometimes the biggest break that comes is the one you create for yourself. Once you do something, people come out to support. Lucky for me I was introduced to a great team of people immediately. I am super grateful to my fabulous team of sassy smart chicks- A big thank you to Marilyn Atlas Management, Elizabeth Lopez, and fantastic Leticia Gomez.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey? The pros and cons?
It was a process for sure and it wasn’t cheap. I spent thousands of dollars to get the book to where it needed to be just to attract my agent and publishing team. I will start with the cons. 1) You will go through a lot of re-writes. 2) You will have to cut things you love and just let it go. 3) You will work with different copy editors that contradict each other often leaving you to redo the exact same thing you were told to fix by three different people. In other words its not an overnight thing. The book like a movie, or getting back in shape after a long hiatus takes time. You can’t rush it. There there times I wanted to chuck my book in the trash and there are a few versions where complete stories are missing.
The pros- Once its done, its done and its done right. You get to see that you created something from nothing and that it makes a difference. If that difference is simply that the book puts a smile on someone’s face or has them forget their life drama for one day- then you did your job.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
I learned that times have changed. In order to attract a publisher you shouldn’t just rely on an idea or a synopsis, write the book. And if no one is interested keep working on it, and if not a single person cares, keep going all the way up until you get it formatted and hire an artist for the cover. Eventually you will finish it and someone will come along that will only make it better. And if that person is you, then that’s great. Its an accomplishment. Many people start out with an idea and that is as far as they get. Don’t be that person.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Well yes, while it is harder, it is also more gratifying because you have a team behind you. I’m not gonna lie it helped that I wrote for television, wrote and directed commercials, and have a movie that I not only wrote but had produced by Lionsgate based on some of these characters. The thing is --I would have done it solo regardless, and that is my point. When you are finished with your work, people seek you out because you fearlessly took a chance and had the courage to complete what you set out to do. That is an accomplishment. Things have changed out there. There are really no excuses. The industry is looking to self publishing to find authors that are doin g their thing. So if traditional publishing doesn’t work for you don’t get discouraged.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Finish your manuscript and all the pieces will fall into place.