Thursday, June 27, 2019

Book Publishing Secrets with Laura Simmons, Author of Tough Karma: A Race Against Time

Laura Simmons grew up in northern Virginia and spent most of her career working for various Department of Defense contractors in the Washington, DC area. She has a fascination with all things metaphysical. She enjoys writing, jigsaw puzzles, adult coloring books, vacationing at the beach with her husband, and studying tarot cards and other types of divination systems.

About the Book:

Astral travel and a deadly secret make for a gripping paranormal romance from start to finish.

Amber Macklin's world is cruelly shattered when she loses her baby girl three months after her husband's sudden death. Her cousin, Bryce, comes to her rescue, moving her into his home for fear  
she will kill herself from the grief. He provides solace and a shoulder to cry on, and he has loved her as more than a cousin for a long time. Amber and Bryce soon discover they are not blood relatives, which opens the door for romance as he pulls her through her darkest hours. When Mike, a college friend of Bryce's, stops by to visit, Amber senses a deadly secret behind his nice guy persona. She has a frightening dream that Mike is trying to kill her and recurring sleepwalking episodes where she draws detailed pictures of him torturing her. Deeply troubled, Bryce uses his ability to astral travel to investigate Mike and uncover his terrifying past. Mike has had his eye on Amber for some time, and when he learns that Bryce and Amber have become lovers, he is furious. Mike abducts Amber and takes her to his rural Georgia hideaway, and Bryce must rely on his astral abilities to track her down. But will he be too late?



Barnes & Noble

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?
Laura: I’ve wanted to write a book since I was a little girl. I love reading and always have books nearby, both fiction and non-fiction. I was inspired to write Tough Karma because of my interest and fascination with reincarnation, astral travel, alternate realities, psychic phenomena, ghosts, etc.
Is this your first book?
Laura: No. This is my second book.  I received the idea for Tough Karma as I was finishing my first book, Little Bits of Karma.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Laura: I’ve used a vanity press for all of my books, I’ve written three novels. I chose this method because I work a full-time job and don’t have the energy or time to do everything myself. The publisher I used was Outskirts Press and I had a good experience with them.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Laura:  The pros: I love seeing the end result of a story I created in my mind. The finished paperback with the professional cover, seeing it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble ready for sale, and the excitement of planning a marketing campaign for a new novel is thrilling to me.  The cons:  Waiting for that first review and cringing if it is less than four stars, and all of the time and continued effort that I must put into marketing it. If I stop promoting my books for a month or two, I have few to zero sales.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Laura: Patience is a must. Once you have the manuscript ready to send to an editor or proofreader, it can take a month or more to get it back. When you get it back, then you have to go through it line by line and make the corrections. If they have inserted notes as to the content, then you must decide if you need to change anything about the story. Hopefully, you’ve had beta readers give you feedback before you send it off for editing/proofing and your story is solid. Then there is the final proofing before it is published in paperback and e-book format.
As far as the publishing industry as a whole, I’m delighted that there are so many opportunities now for indie authors to publish their stories. It makes selling a book more competitive but at the same time, there are so many unique and different stories to enjoy reading.

Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Laura: Yes and no. While Outskirts Press is one of the more reputable and affordable vanity presses, it is still expensive to have them do most of the work. It all depends on how much help an author wants or needs and the size of their budget.  As I’ve learned more about publishing, I’ve used Outskirts mainly for designing my covers, formatting and publishing the paperbacks, and creating the MOBI and EPUB versions.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Laura:  Make sure you have your work professionally proofread or edited, and it is also a good idea to find some beta readers to give you honest feedback on your story before you publish it.