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

Our March author interviews: Karen Pullen (3/1), Lowcountry Crime authors: Tina Whittle, Polly Iyer, Jonathan M. Bryant, and James M. Jackson (3/8), Annette Dashofy (3/15), Edith Maxwell (3/22) and Barb Ross (3/29).

Saturday Guest Bloggers in March: Maris Soule (3/4), and Virginia Mackey (3/11). WWK Saturday bloggers write on 3/18--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 3/25--Kait Carson.

Julie Tollefson won the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter's Holton Award for best unpublished manuscript (member category) for her work in progress, In The Shadows. Big news for a new year. Congratulations, Julie.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

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.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on June, 13, 2017. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Linda here in June!

Cross Genre Publications anthology, Hidden Youth, will contain Warren Bull's "The Girl, The Devil, and The Coal Mine." The anthology will be released in late November 2016. The We've Been Trumped anthology released by Dark House Press on September 28th contains Warren Bull's "The Wall" short story and KM Rockwood's "A Phone Call to the White House." KM writes under the name Pat Anne Sirs for this volume.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for pre-order.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

THE ROAD TO SELF-PUBLISHING


                                                                               

On December 19, 2012, I received an early Christmas present – a box delivered by UPS holding 20 copies of my first book; The Blue Rose, A Catherine Jewell mystery published through CreateSpace. The cover looked more beautiful than the picture of it on my computer. I skimmed through it and could find no problems. Even though I read, reread and edited it over and over for the last ten years, and I should be able to recite the whole book from memory, there’s something special about reading it as a real book.

I first decided to self-publish a year ago. I’d been considering it even longer than that after reading articles in The Writer, Writer’s Digest and Time. I started reading some blogs about the benefits of self-publishing, like Dean Wesley Smith’s blog, and I ordered mysteries by self-published Guppies. I’d long heard negative comments about those who self-published, but I found almost all those I ordered very well done. Not all were to my taste, but that’s a personal thing and not related to the quality of the book. Over the years, I’d certainly bought lots of traditionally published books that have disappointed me, and I’d found just as many minor glitches in those books as in the self-published ones.

I think a lot of the negativity of self-publishing goes back to vanity presses which authors paid to have books published, and from what I’d heard, many self-published books are not well written or well edited  so I can understand why some hesitate to buy them or to go that route themselves for publication.

Why did I choose to do this? It certainly would be easier to have someone else handle all the work required to self-publish. Partly it was the age factor. I was tired of waiting to get it published. I wanted to see my first book and others published before I said my last good-bye.  I started The Blue Rose under a different title over ten years ago. I sent numerous queries out over the years, although not nearly as many as other dedicated authors do. After each rejection, I’d quit querying for a while to tend my garden and do other things before I’d start to query again.

Meanwhile I kept writing because I could not let go of Portage Falls and my characters. Plots kept jiggling around in my head before I went to sleep, while walking in the woods, gardening or driving someplace. I finished two more books in the series as well as a middle-grade mystery. I also continued writing poetry and started writing short stories. And still except for some of my poetry and short stories, my books gathered dust waiting for someone other than my critique partners and beta readers to read them. It’s getting harder and harder to get the attention of the big publishers or agents. I tried a few small publishers. Most wanted a shorter mystery than mine, and I was not willing to make such drastic cuts to hit the required word limit. Then I stopped querying even the small publishers, when I considered the time frame and the pressure to sell so many books before they’d consider the second book. Even if I reached that quota, it would be another year or two before the second book was published and the same time frame for the third book.

I love writing, but I enjoy so many other things, too. I don’t want to neglect family and friends, my social activities, gardening, walks, concerts, plays, reading and the list goes on and on. I know promotion is a big part of being published, and I intend to do that, but with self-publishing I don’t have the pressure of having to sell several hundred books or more before my publisher will publish my next book. When I think my book is as polished as it can be, I can publish it. I can slowly build a reader base and not worry about how many books are sold. Beyond my blog commitment, I have only self-imposed deadlines to meet for my books. I’m not a wealthy person by any means, but financially my only goal is to break even with a small profit to report to the IRS.

Why did it take me almost a year to do this? It was partly the fear factor and partly learning how to format for both a print and e-book. I’d asked one of my grand-daughters, a graphic artist, if she’d create my cover. She enthusiastically agreed, but since she’d never done a book cover before it engendered much procrastination since she was unsure of the process and worked full time. She had to learn to draw roses. Then she needed a picture of a dead body. She got that when I asked my son to pose as a dead person. This past year a  lot of things happened that took up my time, but it was worth the wait to unpack that box of 20 books and hold one in my hands.

The Blue Rose as a print book can be ordered through Amazon and my e-books through Smashwords or Amazon Kindle.


26 comments:

E. B. Davis said...

I finished reading The Blue Rose over the weekend. Bravo, Gloria. Your characters are charming, your villain no one would suspect, and the descriptions of the setting make the place real. I must remember to get over to Amazon and write a review. Thanks for the good read!

Gloria Alden said...

Thank you, E.B. I'm so glad you liked it. It's always good to hear favorable reviews, especially from someone I respect.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Gloria,

Congratulations on publishing a book. many people say they want to write, but are unwilling to do the hard work of actually writing and rewriting.

I've put your book on my wish list, which I need to maintain so on birthdays and Christmas I get things I want rather than other "treasures!"

~ Jim

Yolanda Renee said...

Congrat's, holding that book in your hands -- there is nothing like that satisfaction to see your creation come to life.

Beautiful cover, really awesome!

Good luck on your journey!

Ricky Bush said...

Thanks for sharing you self-pubbed journey. Looks like it was certainly right decision for you. Great cover!

Gloria Alden said...

Thank you, Jim, Yolanda and Ricky. It was a long road and hard work, but enjoyable work. One has to love writing to stick with it. But it wasn't spent all on this one book. I have two more in the series ready to be polished, as well as a middle-grade book, plus more than a dozen short stories.

Ricky, I've saved the latest email from your publisher so I can finally order your book. It's been something I've wanted to do ever since it came out.

Sue said...

I'm VERY proud of you mom!!!!

Ann G said...

I was so excited to hold a copy in my hands, Gloria. The cover is really beautiful, as befits the contents.

I am looking forwards to the publication of the next Catherine Jewell mystery, but understand you have some book launch events to get through first. I wish you all the best with those, and only wish I could be there.

Good luck with it all, and thank you for letting me share the journey.

Ann

Patg said...

Congradulations Gloria, you did it. Good luck with your sales.
Patg

Warren Bull said...

Congratulations. The cover looks great and you have accomplished what many people do not by your hard work and persistence.

Ricky Bush said...

Thank you Gloria. The second book in my series, following River Bottom Blues, is due out Feb 5th (hopefully). It's entitled The Devil's Bliues.

kristi ansbach said...

Congratulations! Beautiful cover! Did you hire a professional editor?

Kristi

Nancy Adams said...

Congratulations, Gloria. What a gorgeous cover! Your daughter did a superlative job. Great title, too.

Looking forward to reading it.

Norma Huss said...

Gloria, you think exactly like I do. My first book was published by a small publisher (a month before my 80th birthday), but after the two year contract, I republished it through CreateSpace, Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords. I went straight to that system with my second book, hiring the same editor who had edited the first for the publisher.

Your cover is beautiful, and probably a better one than any publisher would have made. And a small publisher would not have given you any more publicity than you get from CreateSpace. So, win-win all the way, I'd say. Congratulations on your book.

Now, I have to figure out whether I want your e-book or the hard copy.

Kara Cerise said...

Congratulations, Gloria! That's a huge achievement. I ordered The Blue Rose and it's on the way :)

Best of luck with the book launch!

Michele Drier said...

What a great story, Gloria! I know you went through a lot to get to this point and I'm so glad you went Indie.
I wish you bushels of sales.

Anonymous said...

Downloaded on my kindle today. Cant wait to read it. I know it will be great!
Ron Calland

Gloria Alden said...

WOW! I left to deliver Mobile Meals and then shopping for more things for my launching so I wouldn't have to leave again until then, and I came back to all these wonderful comments.

You all make me feel so good. Most of you are Guppies, and it's through your support that this is happening.

My granddaughter is a graphic artist, and I think she did a wonderful job, too. She's going to go with the general format for my next books in the series.

Kristi, I didn't hire a professional editor. I had some beta readers as well as my Guppy critique partners, Ann Godridge and Mary Willhite, and I have gone over and over and over the book many times.

Nancy, the title was suggested to me by Hallie Ephron at Seascape two years ago, and everyone there thought it was a much better one than my original title. Another example of how others can help to make us better writers.

Thank you for ordering my book, Kara. I hope you enjoy it.

As far as promotion goes, I'm finding it's important to carry bookmarks with me. I'm running into people here and there and when I mention the book launch, they want a bookmark so they can remember it. Now, if they all show up - or even part of them, I should have a successful event. Also, having a few books in the car is good, too.

Gloria Alden said...

Thank you, Ron. I hope you enjoy it, too. Let me know when you've finished it and tell me if you figured out who done it before the murderer is figured out for you.

Gloria Alden said...

Norma, the e-book is cheaper, but the print one is much prettier. Your book was the first self-published book I ordered and the one that made me say, "Yes, I can do this, too."

Polly Iyer said...

Gloria, I totally agree with your decision to self-publish. Those are many of the same reasons that spurred me on to do the same, even after two years with an agent. Your cover is beautiful. I just ordered The Blue Rose. Now to find the time to read it. Best of luck on a wise decision.

Gloria Alden said...

Thank you, Polly. You were one of those Guppies who helped me make the decision. I understand about finding the time to read it. My TBR pile keeps getting bigger and bigger.

Valerie said...

The cover of your book is beautifully done, Gloria; your granddaughter is talented. I'm looking forward to reading the story.

Kaye George said...

What a beautiful cover! If I ever get time to read again (maybe in July :) ), this will be on my list!

Gloria Alden said...

Thank you, Valerie and Kaye. I hope you both enjoy it when you have time to read it.

Elise M Stone said...

I'm a little late getting to this, but I did want to leave a comment.

I agree with all your reasons for self-publishing, particularly the one about the amount of time it takes traditional publishing to make a decision to accept a book and bring it to market. They're going to have to move into the 21st century and live on Internet time.

Love the title and the cover! I hope you have much success with this book.