Monday, December 17, 2018

Book Publishing Secrets with Mystery Author T.C. Wescott

T.C. Wescott was born in Missouri but has lived in Oklahoma most of his life. Like pretty much every author who has ever breathed, he is an avid reader. His favorites are classic mysteries from the Golden Age, as well as just before or just after that period (which is widely considered the period between the two World Wars). His first mystery novel, Running from Scissors, was published in July 2018 and will be the first of at least three books in the Running Store Mystery series.

The Christmas Village Mystery series launched in November of the same year with the debut title Slay Bells. The formula for his books is simple - mixing the classic, traditional detective fiction standards with all the trappings of the modern cozy mystery.
Wescott is also (under another name) the author of two award-winning non-fiction books as well as many essays and articles.

His latest book is the cozy mystery, Slay Bells (A Christmas Village Mystery).

Website Address:

About the Book:

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the village, the night settled in over swirling-smoke chimneys; the air was alive with pine and holly, with sugar and cinnamon and cider, by golly!

Along snowy lanes and through shadows it crept, past windows behind which each villager slept, where sleeping dogs lie and cats rest a’purring-

Tonight, in Christmas Village, a killer is stirring.

Welcome to Christmas Village, a magical hamlet where even in December the roses hold their luster and bees buzz among the bluebells. Nestled betwixt an opulent garden with meandering footpaths and an ancient grove of plum trees, Rose Willoughby’s boarding house is plum-full with lodgers. There are no vacancies, but just wait. Soon there will be one…and another…and another.

When the Inn's guests begin dying in inexplicable ways, some villagers believe a beast from old village lore is the culprit. The sheriff knows better, but he’s just as helpless to catch the invisible killer as are the town folk with their eyes to the sky in search of a flying creature. But our mysterious murderer hasn’t counted on yet another lodger coming to the cottage: Maribel Claus.

Short as a stump, round as a wheel, sweet as a candy cane, and a sharp as a whip, Maribel loves a good puzzle. But can she unmask the phantom killer in time and save Christmas?



Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Is this your first book?
T.C.: Slay Bells is my fifth published book and my second cozy mystery. I’ve published two true crime non-fiction books, a horror novel, and in July of this year I published Running from Scissors, the first book in the Running Store Mystery series. The second book in that series, Running from Arrows, will arrive in January in time for Valentine’s Day.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
T.C.: I published Slay Bells as well as Running from Scissors under my own imprint, which is Better Mousetrap Books. I had great success self-publishing my own true crime books. I enjoy the higher royalties and complete control self-publishing offers. Having said that, my plan is to work towards becoming a Hybrid author, who has one foot in the indie world and one in the traditional publishing world.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
T.C.: The pros are endless and mostly obvious. The cons are that the great Kindle Gold Rush ended before I came along, so marketing a cozy mystery is difficult and expensive. There are SO MANY out there. So, my approach is to make mine unique and write them as well as I know how.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
T.C.: You must have a well-written book, and that means hiring a proofreader/copy editor. Readers deserve that. And to attract readers you need a good cover. That means hiring someone else to do your cover. Cancel your Canva account and hire someone to make a professional cover. I’ve learned with fiction it’s hard to get people to know you’re there. BookBub ads are one good way of getting the word out. What’s the best way? Blog tours. Bless the stars for book bloggers! I’ve loved browsing them for years, so to be featured on so many blogs I’ve enjoyed is a real gas.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
T.C.: Absolutely. Just be smart about it. If you’re just writing or publishing to feed your ego, spare us the trouble. If you take your work seriously, then prove it by getting a decent cover and good proofreading.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
T.C.: Pretty much what I said above. Invest in yourself. You don’t buy a nice dress and then throw it in your trunk, do you? If you’ve written a great book, save up to hire a cover artist, or at least buy a professionally made premade cover (they’re not very expensive). Hire someone to proofread your book, or beg an English professor friend to do it. Whatever you have to do to make sure the manuscript is as good as it can be. Remember that you’re competing with the big authors and they have all the advantages. You have only the advantages you give yourself, but if you’re patient and passionate, they’re there, waiting for you.

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