If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Check out our February author interviews: 2/7-debut author Keenan Powell (Alaskan lawyer), 2/14-Leslie Wheeler (Rattlesnake Hill), 2/21-bestselling author Krista Davis, who unveils a new series, 2/28-Diane Vallere answers my questions about Pajama Frame. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our February Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 2/3-Saralyn Richard, 2/10-Kathryn Lane. WWK's Margaret H. Hamilton will blog on 2/17, and Kait Carson on 2/24.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


Monday, August 30, 2010

A Leap of Faith

In last week’s blog, I wrote about my difficulty in classifying my novel because it crosses genres. I have concluded that while there is safety creating a novel that fits neatly on the shelf, the slush pile awaits for too generic manuscripts. As a new writer without a track-record, I must have a unique voice to obtain an agent and sell a manuscript to a publisher, and yet stay within conventional parameters, which will assure a certain amount of sales given a specific target audience. Hopefully, the unique voice will draw the target audience and attract new readership. Will TOASTING FEAR, (my new working title this week) accomplish this balance?

The dilemma reminds me of one that I had as a young adult: obtaining credit without a credit rating, but without a credit rating no one will give you credit.

Getting shorts published is one way to build a track-record within the industry, I am told. Judges for Mozark Press recently picked my short story “Implicated by a Phrase” for inclusion in a print anthology called A Shaker of Margaritas: Hot Flash Mommas, which will be published in time for holiday sales. This cozy mystery short story fits neatly on the shelf and represents some of my work, but not my current work in progress, the next manuscript that I will query to agents.

Having the short published may help show agents that people like my work, especially if the anthology sells, but since it doesn’t represent my current manuscript, will the published short ultimately help? It won’t sell a manuscript, but will get my name before the public even if it doesn’t represent my WIP nor provide the foundation of a brand. Along with my other published short, "Daddy's Little Girl", which provides the history for TOASTING FEAR, I’m building a track-record. “Daddy’s Little Girl” is not traditional or cozy. Its content is uncomfortable and doesn’t fit nicely on the shelf, but it was also my first published piece. Was that fact a coincidence?

I doubt it, and that doubt gives me hope that TOASTING FEAR may have a chance. How did “paranormal” become a reference to vampires and shape-sifters? Charlaine Harris, who currently has two books on the mass-market best-seller list, created that niche’s association. Anne Rice created what she calls “metaphysical thrillers” and has done well on the best-seller lists. Perhaps I should give readers the storyline and run a contest to coin a new niche for my novel.

In the end, there is still the dilemma of how to bring a unique book into the marketplace yet stay within the parameters of proven winners. After reading the biography of Lisa Lutz, best-selling author of The Spellman Files, I have concluded that someone, most probably her agent, took a leap of faith. The Spellman Files is unique not only for its storyline but also in form, having caveats and amusing footnotes within the text of mystery fiction. Providing motivation to an agent, and then an acquiring editor, to take that leap must come from the strength of my work, and that strength most assuredly will not lie in following the pack, but in taking a risk.

Agents and publishers want to hear a unique voice captivating readers. That uniqueness helps build a brand, which assures readers that their future read will meet their expectations and assures sales—everyone in the industry’s dream. Of course, by its very nature, a brand demands a lack of uniqueness in an author’s future work, but that’s a worry for another day.


Ramona said...

EB, so much about writing and publishing is a leap of faith. I think what holds back a lot of good writers is their failure to do what you noted--believe in the strength of your own work and be brave enough to put it out for public consumption. No one ever said being a writer was for chickens.

E. B. Davis said...

That's why the Guppies are such a good group. The critique groups provide professional, quality evaluation and the members are diverse enough to give so many view points. Also, it helps to be published. Until writers attain that step, it's hard to believe in yourself. I know...

Jess said...

Good post. Love your title, Toasting Fear. Ramona is right: being a writer isn't for chickens. I'm the world's biggest chicken. I bolster my courage and it's full speed ahead for awhile, but then I crash and have to recoup and regroup. :)

Best of luck with Toasting Fear.

E. B. Davis said...

I guess everyone has to ask themselves what they have to lose. For me, it's time. Time is precious. I have two manuscripts without a home, about two years of my life without anything showing for it. What I'd like to think is that they were part of my education, my dues, and that I will someday graduate. It's a theory that keeps me working anyway. :) Thanks Jess!